Towering Mountains and Church Steeples along the Hillbilly Highway

The Grandfather of mountains affords mile-high stunning views

 Note: This is the second installment from “The Hillbilly Highway, Volume 2: Seeds, Songs and Streams.”  Learn more here. 

By Michael M. Barrick

Grandfather Mtn bridge and steeple BW

FOSCOE, N.C. – Towering mountains and church steeples are common sites in Appalachia. Not so common are swinging bridges that are a mile high. But there it is on the far left – The Mile-High Swinging Bridge on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. Seen here from N.C. Rt. 105 in Watauga County, the bridge was built in 1952 and renovated in 1999.

Winds of more than 100 miles an hour and temperatures below zero have been recorded there. Not far further up the road, one can see the famous “profile view” that gives the mountain its name – the appearance of a Grandpa – beard and all, reclining. Its peak is the intersection of Avery, Caldwell and Watauga counties. Indeed, Caldwell County, where we live, has the greatest rise in elevation among the state’s 100 counties, from roughly 1,000 feet to just under 6,000 feet. Its peak is the banner on The Lenoir Voice. 

© Michael M. Barrick, 2018. Feature (home page) photo from Blue Ridge Parkway.