Grandfather Mountain open despite U.S. 221 closure

Grandfather Mountain open despite U.S. 221 closure
Park accessible via N.C. 105, Blue Ridge Parkway

Grandfather Mountain remains open, despite flood damage to U.S. 221.
Last week’s heavy rains and flash-flooding washed out a portion of U.S. 221 between Linville and Blowing Rock, approximately 2 miles north of the Grandfather Mountain Entrance Gate. According to officials, the damaged section of the highway will be closed indefinitely. Fortunately, the most frequently traveled routes remain open. Visitors from the Boone and Blowing Rock areas may take N.C. 105 South to U.S. 221 North, while those traveling from Asheville can follow U.S. 221 North directly to Grandfather Mountain’s Entrance Gate. Furthermore, people traveling northbound on the Blue Ridge Parkway may visit the mountain by taking the exit at milepost 305 to U.S. 221 South.
Once maintenance concludes on the parkway’s Linn Cove Viaduct, visitors from Blowing Rock and beyond will be able to travel the parkway southbound to Grandfather Mountain. According to the National Park Service, due to continued and heavy rainfall, the closure will extend past its projected May 24 completion date, as the final steps require a minimum of 48 hours of dry weather. “We’re thankful for the N.C. Department of Transportation’s efforts in keeping our guests and motorists safe,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that oversees and operates the Linville, N.C, nature park. “Fortunately, Grandfather Mountain itself did not sustain significant damage.” However, many of the backcountry hiking trails running through Grandfather Mountain State Park, accessible through the nature park and attraction, were affected by the heavy rain. As such, the Nuwati and Cragway trails are closed for repair. The remainder of the trails are open, weather permitting, although hikers are urged to exercise extreme caution on account of erosion and slick surfaces. Starting Friday, May 25, Grandfather Mountain will be operating under its summer hours, open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with ticket sales ending at 6 p.m.
The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325, or visit www.grandfather.com to plan a trip.

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