Standing more than a mile above sea level, Grandfather Mountain has been celebrating and sharing the wonders of the natural world since 1952.

The nonprofit nature park is, perhaps, best known for the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, which spans an 80-foot chasm at more than a mile in elevation, offering panoramic views of the entire Western North Carolina High Country. On a clear day, one can even see the Charlotte skyline, some 80 miles away.

A visit to the park’s environmental wildlife habitats lets guests come face to face with rescued black bears, cougars, river otters, bald eagles and elk. Plus, the mountain’s education staff hosts a variety of interactive programs, such as animal encounters, interpretive talks and hikes, a Junior Ranger program for kids and more — all included with admission.

Grandfather also features access to 12 miles of hiking trails, a nature museum, restaurant, 100-plus picnic sites, a sustainably operated fudge shop, special events and much more.

Grandfather Mountain is located in Linville, N.C., 70 miles from Asheville and one mile from milepost 305 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The park is open year-round, weather permitting, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas.