Trail Team 11: The Bridge Trail on Grandfather Mountain

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LINVILLE, NC. (WJHL)- When looking to beat the heat, many people will head to the lake or the pool, but in our region, the mountain tops also offer a cool down from the summer sun. From some of the most difficult and unique hikes, to a hike beginners and the whole family can take on, Grandfather Mountain has something for everyone.

For this week’s Trail Team 11, Sydney Kessler took a hike up the Bridge Trail, which is only .4 miles, .8 roundtrip, and is something everyone of all ages can do. Before you make the trek though, remember, it is much colder and windier at the top of the mountain, so layering up is necessary. H Patton, the Natural Resource Management Specialist with the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation says, “It can be pretty dramatic it can be, depending on where you’re coming from it could be 10 to 15° difference.”

Also, it’s important to note that, because this trailhead is in the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, it does cost money to get onto the property. However, there is so much more to do than just hike. You can see all the foundation has to offer right now in News Channel 11’s Destination Vacation.

But if you’re looking for something a little more difficult, there are other options available.

“We have the Grandfather Trail and the Extension Trail. Also, The Black Rock Trail that gives you a different experience than this by far. On the Grandfather Trail, we have a series of ladders and cables that scale cliffs. It can be pretty intimidating, but they definitely offer one of the most unique experiences in this area,” said Patton.

On the Bridge Trail, first-time hikers can give the sport a shot. H says that “because of that short distance and short time frame we tell people about, it’s really attractive for families and pets and older people, and it just makes for a great place for people to experience hiking a trail for the first time and really getting that first touch of Grandfather Mountain trails.”

While hiking the Bridge Trail, you may notice some rock steps, and it’s important to remember that these didn’t form naturally, but instead with a lot of hard work.

“People tend to see places like this and think, ‘wow it’s funny how these rocks got here just perfectly for me to walk.’ In actuality, this took a lot of manpower and time to place these rocks right where they are,” said H. “So they create a good stepping stone for people to continue on the trail. We keep our trails pretty narrow because there are some things off the side of the trail that are really important to Grandfather Mountain, some things that only grow here on the mountain.”

Also, it’s very important for hikers to remember that they must be back at their vehicle by 6 p.m.

“We make sure that our guests are back to their vehicles by six,” said H. “It’s more of a safety concern because once the park closes, we actually close our gate, so there’s no way for somebody, if they come off late, to exit the park at that point. So we have to make sure that everybody is out of the trails in the vehicles and at least in the park before we can go home at night.”

While hiking the Bridge Trail, there is even a small cave for you to explore. “We’ve actually made the trail where people can access this and explore it freely. There’s nothing in this specific cave that’s really sensitive,” says H. “So it gives people a good opportunity to just do some of their own explanations and find some understanding with nature.”

While Grandfather Mountain has so many beautiful things for you to see and explore, the most important thing that H says hikers need to remember is that, “Before coming to Grandfather Mountain to hike, definitely do your research and know what you’re getting into. It’s a beautiful place to be but it’s also prime mother nature and you never know what she’s got in store for us.”

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