Explore the most popular camping trails in Linville Gorge Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Amazing views

steep going down and coming up but it's pretty short. Beautiful!!! camping spots everywhere along the river. Great hike. stayed 3 days.

The hike gives you lots of amazing views! Will definitely do this hike again when the fall colors are at peak

Rated hard, but very easy and a great view!

great hike for me and a 12 and 10 year old. hit the chimneys and down to the river.

Went early on a Sunday morning, enjoyed the peace and quiet of the fairly short hike to the upper falls where I watched the sunrise. Hell of a way to start the day!

Pretty tough trail, but definitely worth it! Lots of gorgeous overlooks on the way up if you need to stop and catch your breath.

One of the better views in the Carolinas!! Pretty steep incline for the first part of the hike. Very rewarding hike!

If you do the full loop you must cross the river twice and you will get wet. Lots of tree roots but a nice hike with great views of falls. I have dogs that enjoy the water and there were a couple of places for them to get in.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike! Worth the trip back up. I loved the stream trickling beside us during most of our hike. The view at the bottom was amazing! We went swimming and our dog had a blast in the river. Bridge was out. Moderate hike!

Nice hike and view.

My favorite loop in NC so far. A humbling experience, lost the trail a couple of times but it made for quite the adventure. River crossings were a challenge but a lot of fun. A lot of great options for campsites and great views.

Must have hiking boots! Very rocky but amazing views.. super worth it!!

Great hike.. the first 1.4 is hard and rocky. But worth the wonderful views. At the top it is a great walk for about 2 Miles through blueberry bushes and some great places for lunch.

Great hike. we took the upper falls trail side to start (which is much easier section than the lower falls trail that starts on the other side of the parking lot) Once you get to the upper falls section you need to cross the water and go up to the next pool up for the rope swing and rock slide. we had a blast sliding down the rocks and using the rope swing. Then we took the trail the rest of the way down to the lower falls where there is a much longer rock slide. the second half of the loop back to the parking lot from the lower falls are switch backs the whole way (or you can take the many short cuts that go straight up if you want) Definitely a must see.

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.

hiking
2 months ago

Tough hike coming up from the bottom.. Trail is fairly easy to follow going down.(as usual some A'hole stole the trail sign) Once at the bottom there is no obvious or relatively simple access to the river. Been there, done that. Enjoyed Spence Ridge trail much more since there is easy access to the river. Also this would have been a better hike in the fall after the leaves are down.

hiking
2 months ago

Was a great hike! And was rewarded with a great swimming spot at the bottom of the hike.

backpacking
2 months 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
2 months 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.

First real trail we’ve hiked since moving to North Carolina. It’s definitely our new favorite hobby. We went down the lower trail first and somehow found out way back to the upper for a complete loop. It took us right about an hour. Beautiful views

A beautiful trail and destination! the view of the mountains from the upper falls and the water slide at the lower falls makes for an amazing hike.

Steep and lots of roots. Beautiful scenery.

backpacking
3 months ago

This is a very tough trail with multiple steep inclines, two river crossings, and lots of rocks and tree roots along the trail. To complete the trail I highly recommend downloading a map on your phone to use as a GPS because of the trails extremely limited trail signs and I also recommend three full days and two nights to get the most enjoyment from the trail. I completed the loop on 7-14-18 and experienced rain and very wet conditions, also the majority of the trail was very overgrown with lots of fallen trees, briers, and tree limbs across the trail even at some points where you couldn’t see your feet while walking along the trail. Overall this loop features cool views and many neat places to set up camp but I definitely recommend it to experienced hikers as every mile on the Linville Gorge feels like two miles.

My wife and I are experienced hikers and do several hikes a year. That said I would rate this as a moderate to almost difficult trail. It is very poorly marked. We walked to the upper falls route going in and didn't see a blaze until we were almost down to the river. On the way out blazes were sporadic at best and many that were there were very faded. That said it was a great waterfall hike with a lot of off shoot trails that take you to several swimming holes. This is a good hike for everyone including families that are looking for some cool water swimming. We'll certainly return with our swimwear.

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. 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...couldn't see the top of it.

Water was high when we were there. Great hike . Really enjoyed the views and falls .

hiking
3 months ago

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

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