Sydney on the Trails: Grandfather Trail and The Swinging Bridge

Trail Team 11

LINVILLE, N.C. (WJHL) — The Stewardship Foundation is known for many things, but why most people go there, is to stand on the swinging bridge.

This bridge is exactly one mile above sea level and offers spectacular views of the region.

However, while standing on the bridge doesn’t cost anything, getting into the foundation does. It costs $22 for adults and $9 for kids, and while the price is steep it supports the non-profit’s efforts with their wildlife, keeps their museum up and running, and helps make sure the bridge is constantly up to safety standards, among other things.

As well as paying the admission fees, there are some other things that employees at the park say you need to know before you head out the door.

When picking where to hike, there are multiple options to chose from, however, one of the most popular has to be the ‘Grandfather Trail’. This 13+ mile hike offers various trails, with various end destinations and difficulty levels. Forwarning though, this is not a hike for those who have a hard time climbing or walking on rocky surfaces. Right from the beginning, hikers are forced up a steep and completely rocky incline. This, according to rangers, begins the hike on a difficulty level of 6, but the throughout the 13+ mile trail, you could hit difficulties at a level of 10. During the simple .25 mile hike to the Patio, a spot along the Grandfather Trail, the beginning is as difficult as it will get.

While the hike to the patio might not offer the most spectacular end destination view, it gives hikers an ‘intro’ into what they can expect on the rest of the Grandfather Trail. From rock hangs, to climbing over boulders, and even some steep inclines, this gives those visiting a taste of what the rest of the trail will offer, and if hikers like the experience, they can always continue their hike from the Patio onto the next destination.

From hiking to the swinging bridge, visitors have so much to do at the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. What makes the swinging bring so special though, is that it is available for everyone. ADA Accessible, anyone and everyone can see the views this incredible spot has to offer. From the Swinging Bridge, hikers can also access other trails across the park.

Before you head out the door though, there is one thing that rangers say everyone needs to bring so they have a successful hike — hiking BOOTS. They say that, while tennis shoes are good, they don’t offer the ankle support that boots do, and when you’re hiking over such rocky surfaces, you will need that extra help.

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