Grand Highlands at Bearwallow Mountain – A Photo Essay

Grand Highlands is a real estate development in Henderson County, NC. What sets it apart is location. A location that is described as “an open meadow placed on a mountaintop.” Land that affords you some of the most spectacular views in Western North Carolina. I think of it as a picturesque spot for taking photographs of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains and valleys. Within a stone’s throw of two delightful hiking trails that were built and maintained by the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Grand Highlands is also a launch point for local adventure.

The Bearwallow Mountain Trail takes off from here, as does the Trombatore Trail. Bearwallow and the small community of Gerton are to the east. Asheville is north, Hendersonville is west, and Lake Lure is farther south in the Hickory Nut Gorge. Grand Highlands is a great location for sunrise or sunset photos, and with an elevation near 4,000 feet, it offers long-range mountain views including iconic Mt. Pisgah. My most recent visit occurred on Sunday, August 9, 2015.

I arrived approximately 6:30 AM, a half hour before the sunrise. The lodge style clubhouse at Grand Highlands is a popular choice for a mountaintop wedding, and there were still decorations left from the ceremony that undoubtedly occurred the day before. As I wandered the summit while waiting for daybreak, I began to plan the locations I would photograph. Grand Highlands is also high vista horse country. A handful of equines loped from their stable to the nearby meadow to greet the morning glory. They were shy though, as they stayed hidden under an evergreen throughout my failed attempts at a closeup picture.

I hope you enjoy this break I took from hiking. Photography is likely my second favorite hobby, so I enjoy the occasional quiet time with just my camera and me. On this gratifying day I had Grand Highlands all to myself.



Update January 25, 2016: Winter storm Jonas blew through the Carolinas on its way up the east coast depositing several inches of snow along its path. It made getting around quite a mess for a few days, but finally I got brave enough to take the Subaru up Bearwallow Mountain to Grand Highlands. It was a stunning sunny day. Let me know what you think in the comments below.



This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.


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