Grandfather Mountain will tentatively open in a limited capacity May 15

Following a two-month closure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Grandfather Mountain will tentatively open in a limited capacity May 15, with all ticket sales moving online.

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In accordance with N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper’s three-phased “reopening” of North Carolina, the park will strictly limit visitor numbers to follow social gathering guidelines, while implementing enhanced health and safety measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and federal, state and local authorities.

While guests will still be able to enjoy Grandfather Mountain’s many wonders, including the Mile High Swinging Bridge, environmental wildlife habitats and hiking, the park will be operating in a more limited capacity to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.

  • Now, rather than purchasing tickets at the park’s entrance gate, visitors must do so online at by placing a reservation for a set date and time of entry. This measure aims to help limit the number of guests in the park at one time, in accordance with the state’s social gathering guidelines. As such, tickets will not be sold or available at the gate, meaning visitors must book online in advance.
  • Park officials have enacted operational measures to discourage crowds and encourage social distancing. Buildings, such as the Nature Museum and Fudge Shop, will remain temporarily closed, with public restrooms available at the Woods Walk Picnic Area.
  • The Top Shop will welcome a limited number of guests at a time, while the park’s on-site restaurant, Mildred’s Grill, will offer curbside pick-up, allowing guests to dine in their vehicles or at one of the park’s 100-plus picnic sites.
  • High-traffic pedestrian areas, such as the Mile High Swinging Bridge and wildlife habitats, will implement a one-way directional system to ensure that guests do not come within six feet of each other — the minimum safe distance recommended by the CDC and other health officials.
  • The number of guests allowed to visit such areas at one time will be limited, based on state social gathering recommendations, while a time limit will ensure that others can participate in turn. However, guests are welcome revisit such areas during the same trip. Time limits will be not be enforced for the park’s less crowded, lower-traffic areas.
  • The park has enhanced its already stringent cleaning procedures and placed additional sanitization stations in key areas, while boosting staff presence to direct traffic flow and encourage safe social distancing.  
  • The park’s policies and opening dates are subject to change and reflect measures implemented in Phase 1 of the state’s reopening plan. Once Phase 2 is reached, Grandfather will follow suit, opening additional facilities and allowing more visitors to the park. Once Phase 3 is achieved, the park can accommodate a more significant number of guests.

The park’s new reservation-based ticketing system is now open at tickets.grandfather.comTickets are only available online to encourage contact-free admission to the park. Tickets are also fully refundable and may be exchanged for a later reservation.

Opening dates and operational procedures are subject to change, based on current conditions and federal, state and local regulations. As such, those planning a trip are encouraged to visit for updates.