Highland Games On Grandfather Mountain In North Carolina 2023 Guide

If you click on the links in this post, we may earn money from the companies mentioned in this post, at no extra cost to you. You can read the full disclaimer here.

Sharing is caring!

The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games & Gathering of the Scottish Clans is held at MacRae Meadows at the base of the mountain on the second weekend in July from Thursday to Sunday.

The Highland Games begin on Thursday afternoon with a border collie doing a sheep herding demonstration and Celtic entertainment. This is followed by hundreds of people running a 3 mile toot race called “The Bear.” that goes up to the summit of Grandfather Mountain.

The setting at the base of Grandfather Mountain is very reminiscent of Scotland with the peak of the mountain towering above MacRae Meadow. Perhaps that’s why these Highland Games are the most popular in the U.S., drawing crowds of 30,000+.

Over the next days, you’ll see thousands of tartan plaids, competitions in heavyweight Scottish athletic events, parades, bagpipe bands, highland dancing, piping, drumming and harp competitions and concerts.

There’s an open air market with merchants selling Gaelic and tartan gift items. Concession stands sell Scottish food for a taste of the highlands.


Are you thinking about going to the Highland Games and wondering where to stay. You should consider the following hotels named as the best hotels near the Highland Games by the users of TripAdvisor. These hotels have had good reviews and you can use TripAdvisor to get the best price for your stay.

  1. Best Western Mountain Lodge at Banner Elk
  2. Mountainaire Inn & Log Cabins
  3. Meadowbrook Inn
  4. Hidden Valley Motel
  5. Little Main Street Inn
  6. Holiday Inn Express Blowing Rock South, an IHG Hotel
  7. Blowing Rock Inn & Villas
  8. Westglow Resort & Spa
  9. Esseola Lodge at Linville Golf Club
  10. Huskins Court & Cottages
  11. Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages
  12. The Village Inns Of Blowing Rock: The Ridgeway Inn
  13. Chetola Resort
  14. Sugar Ski & Country Club
  15. The Village Inns Of Blowing Rock: Village Inn
  16. Roxwood Lodge
  17. Sugartop Resort
  18. Green Park Inn
  19. Yonahlossee Resort Accommodations
  20. Cedar Village
  21. The Village Inns of Blowing Rock: Hillwinds Inn
  22. Smoketree Lodge
  23. Gideon Ridge Inn
  24. Hound Ears Clubhouse Inn
  25. Cliff Dwellers Inn


And, while you’re in western North Carolina, you need to try some of that delicious North Carolina barbecue. Try one of the following restaurants that were named the best barbecue restaurants near the Highland Games.

  1. Old Hampton Store & Grist Mill
  2. The Pedalin Pig – Banner Elk
  3. Carolina Barbeque