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This is such a unique hike! You get good views of Lake James early on and they don’t stop as you reach the top and beyond. Lots of ledges to look out on and plenty of great camping spots along the way and at the top. Not a big time commitment either - Really loved this hike.

backpacking
8 days ago

The access road *is* accessible in a sedan. I managed to get a Charger up it, in the rain, with minimal fuss. Just be mindful of the blind corners, as most of the road is only wide enough for one vehicle.

PLENTY of water available from top to bottom this week. Just listen for water (and/or use your topo!) and you’ll find’em.

This is definitely a difficult hike when fully kitted out. I noticed the majority of people were carrying small day packs. Once you hit the switchbacks, you’re committed. The trail is well marked and clear, but definitely sketchy in a few areas and rather strenuous on the way up (and down!). Summer heat/humidity plus thunderstorms made for an interesting (and tedious) ascent.

Definitely doing this one again. I set up camp in a clearing just past the Gully Pipe, my hammock just a few feet from a cliff overlooking the Gorge. Absolutely stunning views at sunset, the sounds of the river almost 1,000 feet below and a gentle breeze made for an incredible site.

All said, an amazing trail and definitely worth doing. Just remember to do your part and LNT while visiting.

The first 1.4 miles is mostly an uphill, rocky climb to the summit. After that, the trail flattens out, but it becomes more overgrown and quite narrow. There are several rock outcroppings after about the 1-mile mark with amazing views of the Gorge and Lake James. There's almost no shading on the trail, so hike early and bring a lot of water, especially in the summer. I hiked after a lot of rain, and there was also quite a bit of water on the trail. Overall, this is a great trail with fantastic views as you climb higher.

hiking
20 days ago

On July 13, 2018 ( a humid day) my family undertook to hike this trail while we visited the area from Missouri. Despite hesitations from my wife and the relative young age of our boys (9 and 7) I remained strong in my conviction to see this place on earth as I have heard it is beautiful. It was as stated by the reviews rugged and steep. To reach the top was work. This was offset by wild blue berry eating along the way. It was all worth it. The view from the top is spectacular. There is a nice view up the gorge and of a few of the distinct area peaks not to mention the scenery is generally great. By the time we were descending the last half mile we were out of water and the troops were decidedly weary. Still this was one of our best family hikes.

Beautiful hike through trees and grass. Views on top were amazing.

Killer hike. Hiked a 10 miler (round trip) along the east side of the Gorge. Went an extra 2 miles after I reached the Shortoff Summit. Probably got close to 1,400 feet in elevation gain, so I was at about 3,100 feet. A lot of views south of Lake James on the way up. The views to the north and to the west were the gifts that kept on giving once the trail flattened out. Sick views of Table Rock Mtn and below into the Gorge. Grandfather Mtn was in the back behind Table Rock, and Mt Mitchell was in the distance behind the west ridgeline.

Attempt number one to summit.... I’ll be back tomorrow.

Did this hike with a couple buddies a few weeks back. We backpacked into the primitive camping area (about 2 miles) in the morning and set up camp. It’s not too “primitive” in my opinion, there are I think 6 sites with metal fire rings with attached grates for grilling, metal hooks to hang lanterns from and even food storage (bear) boxes for each site. We day hiked the rest of the trail up to the cabin and back after lunch and dipped our feet in at the waterfall. Pretty much the whole trail is shaded which was nice in the heat. Too many creek crossings to count, but we had no issues getting across with dry feet. It was really fantastic, the ruins are cool and I will definitely be returning. I might even try to do one of the loops that I saw on the map out there for a longer hike.

It's tough to rate these trails because it's so subjective according to what each person likes, but I just finished the entire LGT with an extension from Wolf Pit Parking area, all the way out Babel Tower as my endpoint. Starting from Wolf Pit Parking area, down Faulker Flats, cross the river to the MST, then link up to Leadmine trail, then to LGT and finally Babel Tower trail. It was a brutal link up in this June heat (83 today and 2000% humidity). The gnats and ticks were ridiculously thick in the lower section of the gorge all the way to Conley Cove. Plenty of campsites, lots of good water to filer but very slick rocks, tons of downed trees to cross. So, somehow it seems much, much harder than it looks on paper. It's often referred to as 'gorge miles' because its very deceptive until you experience it for yourself. When you're looking at this thing on the map your mind says, 'it just runs flat by the river', but with all the log crossings, high steps and ridiculously slick wet rock it just makes you really work for every mile. Legs feel like someone has taken a baseball bat to them after exiting Babel Tower on my third day. I chose this link up to fish up the river. Very challenging but it will reward you, guaranteed.

Great trail! The first part is rocky and a bit steep but rewarding views at the top! Looks like it has some great camping spots but we just did out & back.

Beautiful views of the gorge. Hiked during late winter, so it was quite nippy and icy throughout the hike. During the summer, be sure to stay safe, but if hiking the winter, watch for the ice on the rocks! Fantastic views!

Solid hike - We hiked in 5 miles to the base of the chimneys and hiked out the next day. There are only a few water sources other than at the top so plan ahead.

We loved this trail! Do not be deterred by the 11.5 mile in and out. There are tons of loops and various “bailout” points that make your hike as long or as short as you’d like. It was a beautiful day and we love the fact that beech mountain is about 7-10 degrees cooler than even Boone!

This trail is by far my very favorite trail that I have hiked in NC. Great views I mean fantastic views of the gorge. Wild blueberries growing along side the trail. Great views of Lake James. Steep incline at first and then it flattens out at the top of the trail. There is a pond and shade at that point. This trail is spectacular in so many ways! My 14 yr old Dixie trekked it with me on her birthday. Happy Trails!

backpacking
2 months ago

The views of St James Lake get better as you go further up the trail. Linville gouge is one of the first protected natural areas in the USA, and you will see why when you reach the top. Happy Hiking and don t forget you water

This is a fantastic out-and-back trail that climbs to the top of the south end of Linville Gorge with incredible views of the river below and the Gorge beyond.

One of my favorite hikes ever. Beautiful views of Linville Gorge. One you reach the top it’s an easy hike. Haven’t went all the way to table rock yet but half way

It earns it hard rating but the views are worth it! Not blazed and many fallen trees so stay on path. There are no easy crossings with the spence ridge bridge out and all the rapids, other crossings are not well marked. There are some non-rocky areas for tent camping around Babel Tower and about 4mi in from Pine Gap.

literally almost lost my life And my dogs life's. tails is not marked!!!!!;
stay away!!!! please

This trail was incredible! The views were amazing throughout the entire hike. Definitely a strenuous workout but well worth it.

started hiking a bit after sunrise, didnt finish because i needed to be back by sunset. Trail had a lot of fallen trees across it and was kinda overgrown. got lost for a few miles and had to bushwhack back to trail because it isnt marked, probably almost died once or twice. 10/10 would recommend

Had such a great day out on this hike! Beautiful from start to finish. Wore the wrong shoes however, water proof hiking Sandals would probably have been best over my, now soaked, hiking boots. But a great day regardless.

love this loop! nice elevation change, multiple water crossings, 2 documented on trail waterfalls and a few more if you like to bushwack. get your hike on

amazing must see hike. initial ascent is a bit rough with rocky steps but then is an easy flat wandering along the edge of the gorge and through burnt rocky wilderness. went 3.8 miles out, tons of primitive campsites, before the trail began descending to the chimneys (and then back up to table rock)

Great hike!! One of my favorites in the area!! Definitely challenging but worth it!

Pretty hard hike but the payoff is worth the effort.

love this trail! perfect mix of climbing and level areas. look forward to doing this one again for sure.

Would like to come back in the Spring or fall and do again. Great views from the ridge lines. Walking poles would be useful.

Beautiful and strenuous hike. Worth every minute. Wear waterproof hiking boots and make sure you have strong traction. About .5 miles into the hike it gets strenuous. Lots of mountain climbing.

My boys and I had an awesome time on this hike. Beautiful from start to finish. Pretty strenuous but not terrible (and I’m not an avid hiker). Will definitely do this again.

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