Calloway Gap via Profile Trail

based on 113 tracks & routes #2 hike out of 19 in
3.2 mi
1 hrs 21 min
1,812 ft
Elev Gain


This is a strenuous one way trail to Calloway Gap in North Carolina. The trail is steep in sections, and the numerous high rock steps add to the challenge. It is a beautiful hike, and from Calloway Gap you can easily explore the many incredible sights on Grandfather Mountain.

At the top, go left (NE) a short distance and climb to reach Calloway Peak and Watauga View for some amazing views.

For even more adventure, head to the right (SW) toward MacRae Peak and the Mile High Swinging Bridge, about 2.5 miles away. This is the section with the iconic rocky cliffs, steep ladders, and cable-assisted climbs. Be warned that this section is very slow going, and it is not for those afraid of heights.

This trail goes by Foscoe View, Profile, Profile View, Shanty Springs, and Cliffside.

Getting Started

The Grandfather Mtn Profile Trailhead offers ample parking with clean restrooms.

Taking Children

While this section would be very strenuous for young children, there are few steep cliffs that would be hazardous.

Note that other trails at the summit do have steep cliffs that could be very dangerous for children or pets.

    Rate this Hike

    2 years ago
    A beautiful and challenging hike but we made it. We still can’t believe that the last section is made up of giant granite stairs, placed with care. Who could do such construction? Much of the time we were in the rain on a an early June day, and that made for slow, slippery going. But the sun came out as we came back to the trail head to reward all our effort.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    2 years, 3 months ago
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    2 years, 10 months ago
    ★ ★

Public Tracks

CheapCigarMan 6 years, 4 months ago
trail_hike_comments: Probably the best way to "summit" Grandfather Mountain is via this fantastic trail, and I believe it's one of the finest trails in the state. The trail first winds through lush mid-altitude cove hardwood forests, with a few stream crossings and scenic cascades. It climbs moderately at first and more steeply higher up, with many switchbacks. Sections created by master trailbuilders are laid from massive, flat stones arranged in stair-step fashion. The trail passes several views (both up and down), including one of the old man's "profile" which gave rise to the mountain's name. There are lots of big trees, rock features, and good water at Shanty Spring. Beyond that point it shoots straight up the mountain, gets very steep and rocky and transitions into the spruce-fir forest zone closer to the summit. The trail is generally well signed and blazed., trail_bike_comments: None
morosno 3 years, 1 month ago
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Clowman 3 years, 2 months ago
cjken78 3 years, 9 months ago
herb.dorn 3 years, 10 months ago
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carlson210 5 years, 8 months ago
wahhky 5 years, 11 months ago
Christopher 7 years, 2 months ago
drwarren2000 7 years, 5 months ago