ElevationAscent: 287' 88 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 5,663' 1,726 m
Low: 5,375' 1,638 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 50% (26°)
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“This alternate route on McRae Peak skips some of the strenuous aspects of the Grandfather Trail.”— David McCormick
The trail starts as a relatively flat hike through a mature hardwood forest with some scrambling over roots and rocks. If it has recently rained, the trail will be muddy and the granite can be quite slick.
After approximately 0.2 miles, you'll reach a ladder (40 feet tall) to help you scramble up over a large rock ledge. After climbing the ladder, the trail becomes noticeably steeper with few switchbacks until reaching the saddle between the peaks. There is one section with a cable-assisted scramble up a granite ledge; this is very slippery after rain and covered with moss, so use caution.
This trail is often less crowded than Grandfather Trail, and if you have a fear of heights there are fewer ladders, cable climbs, and less alpine exposure on ridgelines. It makes for a good alternative route back from McRae Peak or the Attic Window as you can avoid the sometimes long waits on ladders on the Grandfather Trail.
Hiked this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed
Land Manager: North Carolina State Parks: Grandfather Mountain