Linville Gorge Trail (Linville River Trail) is a 20.6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Linville Falls, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

20.6 miles
4,350 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash





nature trips

rock climbing

trail running






wild flowers


U.S. Forest Service District Ranger, Route 1, Box 110A, Nebo, NC 28761. Phone (704) 652-2144

26 days ago

We started at Pine Gap and hiked as far as we could south. The first night we camped right before Spence’s Ridge would meet up with the Linville Gorge Trail. Hiked about 10 miles including some spurts to Babel Tower and the end of Pine Gap. The second day we hiked as far south as we could but there were two major landslides and we couldn’t find the trail after the 2nd one. We were probably a mile from where it ends. We turned around and hiked past where we spent the night before, probably 1.5 miles south of Babel. Hiked out from there the next day. There are plenty of campsites on the south end, especially around the Conley Cove access. Plenty of water stations! It is a beautiful hike and wasn’t as bad as we were expecting. It is very rocky and there are lots of down trees! Probably could cross the river at the south end but would not rely on crossing near Devils Hole or Spence’s Ridge unless you are prepared to swim against a raging river and get entirely wet!!

4 months ago

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.

5 months ago

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.

6 months ago

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

6 months ago

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

7 months ago

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.

10 months ago

Linville Gorge is amazing. It is also unforgiving. Be prepared for some of the most beautiful scenery on the east coast but be prepared to earn those views. My favorite hangout in NC.

11 months ago

Awesome trail, challenging for sure but some really nice spots to relax and camp out. Stopped by the ranger office in Nebo and scooped a map which is a necessity out there. You need a compass and a map and you'll be good. Parked the car and began the trail at Conley Cove until we got to the Linville Gorge Trail. Took that for a while and found a good campsite. Continued the following day and camped around the Brushy Ridge area. Took the trail from Babel Tower out to the 105 dirt road and hiked that back down to the car at Conley Cove. Would definitely recommend this trail.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Holy smokes was this a tough but amazingly beautiful trip. There is no "true loop" as you have to make your own by piecing together different trails. We started at Pine Gap and made our way down to reach the Linville Gorge Trail. If you aren't careful it's easy to get lost and turned around as there are no blazes... ever. We created our own map by piecing together multiple different ones we found online. We camped along the river after hiking about 8 miles the first day, it was grueling and we are pretty avid backpackers! Planned on crossing the river to meet up on the other side of the gorge making a loop but what no one tells you is the river is a RAPID. The trails marked with river crossings were so bad we ended up just hiking down the river to Conley Cove trail and walking back to our car at Pine Gap. It was the hardest hike I've ever done. If you plan on coming here, which you should because it is INCREDIBLE, please be prepared.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Tough trail going down and up but the reward when you get to the bottom of the gorge at the waterfall is well worth it

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Go in the spring when the mountain laurels were blooming. It's stunning. Go to the bottom of the falls and swim.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Man I hope you're in good shape... #cabintrail

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Ticked bout eight miles in and out. Camped out by the falls toward the bottom near Devils Hole. Great hiking and climbing fer days.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Very difficult. Many waterfalls. Few people. Not a beginner hike.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Completed the southern section of this trail when we did the southern loop. I give it a 3.5 only because I liked the Shortoff Mountain section WAY better. This trail didn't follow the river as much as I thought it would, and it is a slow go, as there are several obstacles to navigate. There are several nice places to stop near the river and grab a bite, and 5-10 campsites 3 to 7 miles south of Spence Ridge. Very peaceful though, as we only saw one other group the entire section.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Loved it!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Loved it. Very rocky

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Thought the hike was boring. It was very crowded and you couldn't swim. The waterfall was tiny! The highlight of the hike was the over look which was beautiful. If you're in this area check out crab tree falls. That was an amazing waterfall and awesome hike!!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Spectacular wilderness. The trails are sometimes poorly marked, so it pays to keep your map handy. The area is suitable for day hikes or longer treks. Check with the forest service office in Nebo for a wilderness camping permit if you're planning to camp in the gorge. This is truly one of the most beautiful places on this planet.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

great trail, check out babel tower and climb to the top for a rewarding view!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fairly strenuous hiking but beautiful views. Solid place for backpacking and day hikes.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Fantastic challenge!! Beautiful!!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

This is an amazing trail with great views, dog friendly for the most part nice long peaceful trail @Megelkraut

Friday, August 21, 2015

Treacherous between the falls and babel towers. I would suggest going in at Conley cove unless you are comfortable with thin trails on a steep mountain side. Beautiful raw country and a true experience. Hard to get to the water to fish.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Strenuous, but well-worth the effort. There are spots where the trail narrows, and the overgrowth obscures where the trail continues. There are no blazes, so bring a compass for the assurance.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Beautiful scenery

Monday, July 27, 2015

Gorgeous gorge. We hiked down through about five miles to the gorge the first night and found the best campsite right by the river. And the second night we hiked all the way up to the top of a mountain to found another great campsite. Breathtaking area.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Great trail. Strenuous at times with steep elevation changes. Offered many camp sites, but make sure you get a permit before camping overnight in the gorge!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Anyone know about fishing along the trail?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Great trail. Excellent places to throw your tent up.

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