Caldwell County Highpoint Trip Report

Calloway Pk on Grandfather Mtn (5,920+ ft)

Date: August 6, 2006
Author: Don Desrosiers

Met Roy Wallen and Jerry Cobleigh at the entrance gate to Grandfather Mountain on US 221 where we paid our fees ($14 per person discounted $2 each with Roy's AAA card) and headed up to the parking lot at the Visitors Center. There was thick fog and we believe we were the only car there at that point but we could have been mistaken. From there it is signed as 2.3 miles to Calloway Peak.

Headed up the steep and fairly rocky trail. Several successive signs indicated the distance to Calloway Peak remained at 2.3 miles. We felt relieved, knowing the peak had not moved during our journey. Stayed on the main Grandfather Trail, remarking several times that the sundress and sandals crowd might have some difficulty with this hill, what with the rock scrambling and the wooden ladders.

As noted, it was foggy and we felt that if we could have seen the views, they would have been wonderful. Instead, we were royally treated to multiple shades of NC gray, a rare treat for Roy who is used to the more subdued and uniform southern California greys. Further, as this is a privately owned mountain, the signage was somewhat unusual. In several places we noted pictorial prohibitions against what we presumed were backpackers with long noses (backpackus proboscis promenentae?). The signs were clearly effective as we spotted none of this species, although we looked resolutely.

We finally ran out of mountain and while the sun broke out briefly, it did not burn off enough of the fog to get any views. Headed back down, taking the yellow blazed Underwood Trail which, while no more difficult than the main Grandfather Trail, is not that much less difficult. Got back to the car about 4-1/2 hours after leaving. We were met by hordes of tourists, many in sundresses and sandals.

A sign near the Visitors Center indicating Grandfather Mountain to be the most rugged peak in the east prompted some lively discussion.

Strongly recommend you do this one early in the day to avoid the crowds.