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Profile Trail

Difficult

Trail

3.5 mile 5.7 kilometer point to point
73% Runnable
Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,832' 558 m
Descent: -230' -70 m
High: 5,641' 1,719 m
Low: 3,833' 1,168 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 85% (40°)

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A beautiful Grandfather Mountain trail that leads into the park from Hwy 105.

J.D. McNoldy

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Closes during inclement winter weather.

Description

The Profile Trail (marked with Orange blazes) begins at 4198 NC Highway 105 N, Banner Elk NC (GPS: 36.119767, -81.835001) and leads to Calloway Gap on The Grandfather Trail (Blue blazes).

You'll begin by working your way along the Watauga River under a thick forest. The first 1 mile is fairly easy on hardpacked dirt and wood steps and is frequented by less adventurous hikers. After about 1 mile the path gets more narrow and you transition to rock steps. Beginning around Foscoe View (approximately 2.2 miles) the climb becomes much more difficult (steep). At 3.2 miles you arrive at Shanty Spring, with your hike transitioning into a trail of tumble-down rock that joins the Grandfather Trail after a strenuous climb of 0.4 miles. You transition out of hardwoods and into Canadian firs. This upper section is very steep and rocky, and when wet it can be quite dangerous.

Around the 2.5 mile mark there are two established backcountry camping spots - at least one with food bag rigging.

Once you have reached the end of Profile Trail you are at a crossroads you can take Grandfather Trail two ways: left to Calloway Peak (0.4 miles), or right to MacRae Peak (approx. 1 mile), and ultimately the Swinging Bridge (2 miles).

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Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 26 votes

#83

Overall
  4.7 from 26 votes
5 Star
73%
4 Star
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Trail Rankings

#83

Overall
95 Views Last Month
2,748 Since Jul 23, 2016
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Photos

View from Foscoe View. Signage (not pictured) identifies the peaks in the distance.
Aug 13, 2018 near Foscoe, NC
Grandfather Mountain in the midst of the early spring foliage (or lack thereof) .
Mar 19, 2019 near Foscoe, NC

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