Maybe you enjoyed the game “Chutes & Ladders” as a kid. Perhaps it’s simply time to get in touch with your inner child…or inner monkey.
If any of the above applies to you, the trip to the summit of Attic Window Peak on Grandfather Mountain, by way of MacRae Peak, is sure to delight. With names like “The Chute” and “The Subway”, sections of this exciting stretch of the Grandfather Trail, punctuated by rock scrambles, ladder climbs, cable tugs and startling Blue Ridge views, make the journey to the summit of Attic Window Peak as enjoyable – or even more so – than standing on its rocky, open summit.
Regardless of the route chosen to the top (and there are several options), Attic Window Peak, a ruggedly handsome outcrop along the spine of noble Grandfather Mountain, is a fantastic destination. The views from the top are immense, the conditions rocky and rugged and the convenience of this peak to the Asheville metro area is hard to beat.
Attic Window Peak resides in Avery County, in Western North Carolina. The peak rises less than one mile northwest of the legendary Blue Ridge Parkway. Attic Window Peak is a highpoint along Grandfather Mountain in the Grandfather Mountain private nature reserve.
The entrance to Grandfather Mountain is located on US 221, two miles north of Linville, North Carolina, and one mile south of the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305.
The street address is: 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville, NC 28646.
Blossoms in Abundance 10 May 2009
Part of the Grandfather Mountain reserve is privately owned, including the standard entrance (directions below). There is a fee to enter the reserve (currently $15 for adults, $13 for seniors, $7 for children 4-12 and free of charge for children under 4). Many use regulations apply including:
Camp in designated sites only
Dogs should be leashed or under solid voice command and picked up after
Pack out what you pack in and burry human waste
Drugs and alcohol are prohibited
Leave firearms and many other weapons (including tasers, nunchaku & throwing stars) at home
No rock climbing
Also prohibited are mountain bikes, horses or other pack animals and geocaching
In 2008, North Carolina State Parks purchased almost 2,500 acres of land along the crest of Grandfather Mountain, creating Grandfather Mountain State Park. The visitors center and surrounding area will continue under private ownership and management.
Many thanks to SP member StarMan for bringing these land ownership/management issues to my attention.
Grandfather Trail Ladders 10 May 2009
MacRae summit block from Attic Window 10 May 2009
Backcountry camping is available by permit within the Grandfather Mountain preserve.
Hotels, lodges and cabins can be found in the nearby communities of Linville, Newland, Banner Elk, Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain, Linville Falls. Additional lodging information can be obtained by contacting local chambers of commerce:
The climate of western North Carolina is generally mild and pleasant.
Expect winters to be cool to cold and damp but a little gray. Remember that high country is high country; winter conditions in the western North Carolina mountains can be challenging, bringing cold temperatures (below 0 F.) and heavy snow, plus ice. As the traditional entry and road are sometimes closed in winter conditions, winter access to Attic Window Peak can gained via the Profile Trail. This trailhead is on the west side of Highway 105.
Summers can get hot and sticky with brutally high humidity, but the Grandfather Mountain reserve boasts that temperatures along the spine of the mountain are approximately 10 degrees (F) cooler than the surrounding foothills.
Spring is a fabulous time to visit, with wild flowers and flowering wild shrubs including laurel and azaleas bringing enchanting blasts of color to the mountainside.
The brilliant colors of autumn, combined with cooler, brisk air, would be a delightful season to visit as well.
Left to right: Along the spine of Grandfather Mountain; Views from a ladder along the Grandfather Trail; Summit Signpost, Attic Window Peak. Click on images to enlarge.