Jun 14, 2022

Grandfather Mountain Camping Trip


           Grandfather Mountain in profile.

So we crossed the Tyger River once again and headed upstate, crossed the NC border and flew through Linville Falls to arrive in the shadow of Grandfather Mountain just before bedtime. We had three tent sites and one cabin reserved at our beloved Grandfather Campground. My son brought his golf cart and upon arrival, I was greeted with the grandkids piled on the golf cart, riding precariously through the campground yelling "POOKIE!"  I arrived.

How ironic my cabin was on Granny Branch Drive. Charlie commenced to calling me Granny instead of Pookie. I've always been a tent camper.  Until my fifties. My hips... back... and shoulders all require extra padding from the ground now, so it's either an air mattress or a cabin for me.  Don't judge.

Grandfather Campground is well-kept and clean.  They have a small playground, a wonderful creek, a trout pond and a gem mining facility for the kids. They are close to many area attractions - Boone, Blowing Rock, Mystery Hill, Grandfather Mountain, Linville Falls, and Linville Caverns to name a few.

You can always find a big rock next to a creek on which to picnic.

On Day One, we headed to Grandfather Mountain. The entry price is steep, I'm not sure it's worth it. They enjoyed the mile high bridge.  Used to be the "swinging bridge," but it's been rebuilt and doesn't swing anymore. 

Across the bridge, you can hike a little and enjoy the rock croppings. There are several hikes within the park. There's a lame zoo type thing the kids might like and plenty of picnic areas. 

Back at the campground, the kids enjoyed trout fishing and gem mining. Also, cornhole and horseshoes. I enjoyed the campfire.

On day two, we headed to Linville.  The kids went to Linville Caverns while I went to one of my favorite places in the southeast:  Wiseman's View.  The kids were highly disappointed with the caverns. First, you had to wear a mask - in June of 2022.  A covid mask. The three year old wouldn't keep hers on and they were kicked out of the caverns tour because of it. The others who finished the tour said the tour guide was horrible and rushed them through it.

As for Wiseman's View..... it did not disappoint. The drive up is not for regular vehicles. It's literally a 20 minute drive up a dirt road with huge potholes and divets. A car or van or SUV CAN make the drive, but you will probably need an adjustment afterwards. My Jeep did amazingly well.  I was bounced around a LOT.

Upon arrival at Wiseman's View, I had a five minute jaunt down a paved trail to the lookout. The view is spectacular.  You HAVE to go at sunrise though to really see the beauty.  I've gone at sunrise plenty of times and it is creepy to walk that five minute jaunt in the woods alone.  But so worth it.

Linville Gorge

The view across the gorge at Table Rock.

After my view, I headed to the caverns parking lot to meet up with the kids for a picnic lunch. Then Patti, the kids and I hiked up to the Upper Falls of Linville Falls.  I tried to remember how to get to the swimming hole we found years previously, but I couldn't find it.

We cooled our feet in the pond under the falls. Such a relaxing break.

The Upper Falls are just a short hike from the parking lot. It is hilly and a little more strenuous than a "moderate" hike. If you feel like hiking more, you can proceed up the trail to the chimney, a much more strenuous hike, where you get a view of both the Upper and Lower Falls.

We then went back to the campground for more gem mining.

I slept in the tent that night with NO air mattress. Just like the old days when I was young and spry. I was awakened at 7 am (late for me) by Benji's pounding on rocks to break them open and find gems.

I strongly recommend this campground and activities. If you can afford Grandfather Mountain, then go for it.  If it's a strain, then skip it.  Blowing Rock is a good alternative and the town has an excellent playground for the kids. Also, somewhere along the Watauga River, there is a great jumping-off point we enjoyed one year.  Not sure how to locate it now or if it's still there. You can see it near the end of the video in this blogpost.

Enjoy!  Keep an eye out for Hillbilly Sam, NC's oldest Hillbilly.


Anonymous said...

Love hearing about your adventures, what a great weekend with all the kids!

Anonymous said...

It’s Rene’ by the way being Anonymous! 🤣

Anonymous said...