Linville Gorge Loop

HARD 14 reviews
#11 of 27 trails in

Linville Gorge Loop is a 21.8 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Linville Falls, North Carolina that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and backpacking and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
21.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
5,790 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

backpacking

camping

hiking

trail running

forest

river

views

wildlife

bridge out

Rough terrain, primitive camping, beautiful vistas, strenuous climbs, cool features. You must be prepared and locate water sources ahead of time on topo maps. Trails are not clearly marked, but you can traverse them with a map.

backpacking
1 month 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.

backpacking
1 month ago

Very difficult trail. Tried it as a beginner and it humbled my friends and I very quickly. We encountered terrible weather and we had a very difficult time dealing with the terrain. There are very few flat areas on the trail, it is constant elevation change. I do not recommend if you aren’t a veteran hiker.

nature trips
1 month ago

Just finished the trail in 3.5 days, 3 nights. The views are amazing, from tops of peaks to the rocky river. Pretty easy to find all the water sources, although a few are a bit of trail in primitive locations. Traveled in mid-Summer (July 4th) so it was very hot, but great to cool down in the Linville River. Highly recommend to those in physical shape, as a few miles were straight up in elevation without any switchbacks. Out of seven of us, only three didn’t feel total exhaustion after the “Shortcut”. Also, almost stepped on a five foot rattle snake that was 6” from the trail, but it definitely let us know it was there with its rattle as we walked up on it. Had to hike around it by bushwhacking for a bit, then got back on trail. That was a healthy dose of reality. Saw a few other backpackers, but overall didn’t see other people all that much.

1 month ago

What an expedition! My son and I did it in two days and it was an amazing experience. Definitely need good map and compass though. Better work out this legs beforehand, the climbs are hellish!

hiking
1 month ago

This was honestly just "meh" for me. The east side is pretty nice -- you're up high, with cool rock formations and, at times, good views of the gorge. The west side is pretty boring for the most part -- most of the west side follows the river and is incredibly flat. I was also pretty disappointed by the number of campsites (way too many), and the amount of trash at those campsites -- especially on the west side. It hardly feels like a wilderness area -- it's much more "frontcountry" than backcountry.. Water was plentiful when I went: when you're up on the east side, on the ridge, there are parts where there's not water but it's not too bad. Besides that water is abundant. I'm a young male with average athleticism and the hike was pretty easy for me -- there were definitely hard parts, don't get me wrong, but I finished it in a day and a half (one full day, one night, plus a half day). Use the free map available (for app and for printing) on the linville gorge website. The northern river crossing required a quick swim which I didn't bother to strip down for; there was a rope system that allowed you to pull your pack across over the water. The southern river crossing was an easy walk across a broad section of the river. Very few mosquitoes.

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing hike, did it in two days, with 15 miles the first day and rest the second. Started at 0900 camped around 1700 at a campsite by Cambric Branch on the west side of river. Beautiful views and challenging uphill sections. The route to the Chimneys is brutal if it's sunny and hot out.

camping
3 months ago

Great hike ... if you can get across the river. When they say swim they mean it. There are times of the year it is impossible to cross because of the flow. Very few water resupply options from the top of Shortoff at the Wolf Pit entrance (the pipe) through to well past Table Rock. Saw more than a few people begging water up top. There is a source if you are desperate past the parking lot a couple hundred yards down the gully to the left of the access up to Table Rock where the trail breaks into two. Not a huge flow, but if you are desperate it works. Wide variety of camp sites. Permits needed on weekends in the summer.

backpacking
4 months ago

Best loop in NC!

backpacking
5 months ago

Loved this trail, did it with my girlfriend and dog. We did the trail counterclockwise starting from Wolf Pit Trail Head. The first night we camped right before the Table Rock split off. There are plenty of great campsites and there is a side trail that leads to creek for water. The second night we camped on the east side of the river

You do have to do two river crossings, this first one requires a quick swim, the second one more simple since the water is only ankle high.

The trail west of the river is not the best marked, chances are you will lose it. We climbed out of the gorge at pitch-in, the hiked out was very strenuous, we then walked along the road for about a mile and re-entered the trail at Mountain to Sea.

It's a tough trail, but there are great views and an awesome experience.

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago