With its prominent profile recognizable for miles around and featuring vistas among the most beloved in the Appalachians, North Carolina's Grandfather Mountain is many things to many people: an easily recognized landmark along the Blue Ridge Parkway, a popular tourist destination, a site of annual Highland Games, and an internationally recognized nature preserve. In this definitive book on Grandfather, Randy Johnson guides readers on a journey through the mountain's history, from its geological beginnings millennia ago and the early days of exploration to its role in regional development and eventual establishment as a North Carolina state park. Along the way, he shows how Grandfather has changed, and has been changed by, the people of western North Carolina and beyond.To tell the full natural and human story, Johnson draws not only on historical sources but on his rich personal experience working closely on the mountain alongside Hugh Morton and others. The result is a unique and personal telling of Grandfather's lasting significance. The book includes more than 200 historical and contemporary photographs, maps, and a practical guide to hiking the extensive trails, appreciating key plant and animal species and photographing the natural wonder that is Grandfather.