July 6-9, 2023
Be a Scot for a weekend at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games & Gathering of Scottish Clans near Sugar Mountain (just 7 miles away). Watch or compete in a variety of traditional Scottish games. Browse hundreds of booths with crafts, art, Scottish clothing including tartan kilts and family clan information to research your heritage. Enjoy multiple stages of entertainment, with live music ranging from traditional bagpipe music to Celtic rock. Don’t forget the food, including meat pies! Looking for a place to stay? Find many vacation rentals on Sugar Mountain.
America’s grandest and highest Scottish Games fill the MacRae Meadows at the foot of Grandfather Mountain. The 4-day festival begins Thursday afternoon with opening day ceremonies and the torchlight ceremony.
Watch brawny professionals, both male and female, compete in ancient tests of strength – including highland wrestling, putting the stone, hammer throw, turning the caber and tossing the sheaf. Other competitions and demonstrations include highland dancing, bagpipes, drumming, piping and sheep herding by border collies.
Tips for Your Visit
Bring cash since some craft and merchandise vendors cannot process credit cards. No dogs or other pets allowed. You are welcome to bring chairs, picnic baskets, blankets, coolers etc. No tents. Saturday is the busiest day, so get there early and bring patience. Friday and Sunday are much better options for less crowds!
Each day has a long list of unique events, including live music on multiple stages. Friday and Saturday evenings have big concerts. See the current schedule on their website.
There are a wide variety of ticket options. Adult day tickets (ages 13+) are $15/Thursday, $25/Friday, $35/Saturday, $20/Sunday. Adult 4-day passes are $75. Buy tickets at the field or online at gmhg.org. If you buy tickets at field, CASH ONLY. For credit card day-of tickets, stop at the Highland Games Office at 4210 Mitchell Avenue, Linville, NC 28646.
Directions from Sugar Mountain
From the main entrance of Sugar Mountain, it’s an easy 7-mile drive to the Highland Games. From the mountain, turn right onto NC 184. At the stoplight, turn right on NC 105. Near the intersection with US 221, look for the parking lot and shuttle. There is no parking adjacent to games.
Expect heavy traffic and no on-site parking. The best bet for parking when driving from Sugar Mountain is a remote lot and shuttle service from Linville located behind post office (4235 Mitchell Avenue, Linville) with entrance from NC Highway 105. Shuttles benefit the local fire department. Arrive early for parking! Another remote lot is in nearby Newland at Heritage Park, 661 Vale Rd. Arrive early – remote lots will fill up on Saturday. Get the latest parking and shuttles info.
Kids have fun learning to toss the caber!
Places to Stay
Sugar Mountain has a variety of vacation rental condos and homes near the Grandfather Highland Games. See our lodging options.
For more information, ticket sales and full schedule, go to the Highland Games website.
Looking for more things to do during your festival visit: See our Sugar Mtn Summer Guide.