Tanawha, the Cherokee word for fabulous hawk or eagle is an appropriate name for this trail that offers hikers spectacular views of distant mountains.
Most of the Tanawha Trail is also incorporated as a part of North Carolina's Mountains-to-Sea Trail(MST), which transverses the state from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks.
Sections above the Linn Cove Viaduct and along Rough Ridge are strenuous, but overall the trail is an easy to moderate walk.
The Tanawha Trail is a 13.5-mile hiking trail that parallels the Blue Ridge Parkway on the south slope of Grandfather Mountain, between Beacon Heights and Price Park. From Beacon Heights (Milepost 305.2) north to Cold Prong Pond (Milepost 299.0), the Trail weaves through cove hardwood/rhododendron and spruce-fir forest.
Look for Northern Saw-whet Owl, Common Raven, Blue-headed Vireo, Canada Warbler, Blackburnian Warblers and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.
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Banner photo of Saw-whet Owl courtesy of Jesse Pope.