Spence Ridge Trail

MODERATE 32 reviews
#8 of 27 trails in

Spence Ridge Trail is a 2.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Morganton, North Carolina that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

2.5 miles
882 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly




nature trips





wild flowers

bridge out

1 month ago

45 minutes in, 1-1/2 hours out. Beautiful old logging trail gives relatively “easy” access to Linville Gorge. Huge rock at bottom is nice picnic spot.

2 months ago

Amazing view of the rushing water. Not too hard climbing back out. Long but not too steep

3 months ago

If you are just looking to hike down into the Gorge there are better routes with better views. If you want to camp this is a great trail there are several spots next to cascades. This reminds me a bit of Harper Creek Falls trail but without the payoff of a 3 tier fall. Also bridge is out at bottom.

3 months ago

I was expecting the trail to be much steeper than it was. A moderate trail is very accurate.

4 months ago

Nice hike. Beautiful section of Linville river at bottom. Lots of complaints on here about how steep the trail is. With respect to other Linville Gorge trails I’d call this moderate to easy. There are a few fairly steep sections but you are hiking into a gorge. A little grade should be expected! As far as LG hiking goes this ranks as an easy trail.

5 months ago

Walked an extra mile because I got off trail. Thanks to All Trails map, I got back on track. A little ways after you start on the trail, you have to take a sharp right. That’s where I flubbed up! Beautiful hike. Rocky, root-y, and steep, and the river and boulders at the river are beautiful! Little streams along the way so dogs have water. Not sure how dried up they get in the summer . Nature’s stair master on the way up....! If you are young and/or in shape, it will be a nice hike. If you aren’t, like myself, it is a work out!!!

6 months ago

Nice little day hike. Down to a really nice section of the Linville River. The bridge crossing over river at the end of the trail is out, so prepare to get wet if you want to explore the river more or cross over to the Wiseman’s side.

7 months ago

Camped a number of times in the gorge, specifically at the “Mouse House” which is just across the river you reach while on Spence Ridge. Bit tougher to get across since the bridge washed out but a great place to do some backpacking.

8 months ago

As we wrapped this morning hike up (~1.7 each way by our calcs), a car pulled up and the group paused to consider whether to hike this trail...We overheard, "Yeah, but once you go down, you gotta come back up!" before they pulled off in search of another option. That about sums it up, but the payoff is only at the bottom/river...My husband said, "I didn't even know this kind of terrain existed in NC!" Swimming hole (for our northern dog), rocks, cave, cascades, campsites...Beautiful! Easy hike down with a few watery/muddy hops & spots and plenty of rocks, so trail/hiking shoes recommended. Pole(s) help for the climb back up...People left a stack of walking sticks by the sign, hint hint. PS...This was *lightly travelled* the day we were there, but we imagine this was only because most folks were hiking trails in search of panoramic fall foliage views.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Hike is simple and beautiful. Lots of places to go camping and picnic

Sunday, March 19, 2017

We completed this trail with our 4 year old. It was tough coming up, but worth it.

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Sunday, November 13, 2016

We did spence ridge to little table rock to table rock and then did a little bit of chimney rock!! Coming up on spence ridge trail was straight up climb. It was difficult but worth it!!!! Also did hawksbill at night!!!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Can someone advise how it is crossing with the bridge out? We are backing up there this weekend and trying to assess how difficult it might be to cross with packs...any help much appreciated, thanks!

Monday, November 07, 2016

Easy hike going in, pretty much all down to the river. We liked the scenery and peacefulness. Pretty much all up on the way back. Little tough on us coming back out only because we out of shape. But for early 50's we did fine. Will do it again.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Grabbed the kids, two dogs, wife, and Nana for an overnight backpacking trip in the Linville Gorge. We started at Spence Ridge Trailhead, west to Little Table Rock Trail, up to Table Rock for lunch. This portion I would rate as strenuous, as the elevation gain is steep. Lunch at Table Rock was worth it. Then we back tracked down to Spence Ridge Trail and headed west down into the gorge. The gorge itself is beautiful. The bridge is washed out, so you have to bolder hop across. At least three camping options along Spence Ridge Trail. The next morning, we hiked back out to the car. Easy two days. Could also easily be done in one day. I rated this particular trail as a 3 because there are limited (really no) views until you reach the gorge itself.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

This trail is very deceiving. The trail head starts out real level and solid. It then takes a sharp turn down. Loose rocks and roots. The descent is easy. However, what goes down must come up. The hike back up sucks. I couldn't find good hammock camping by the river. Ended up hiking back to the car and camping by table rock.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Beautiful views of the Linville River!

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

For a short family friendly hike, this one is great. The trail is maintained by the BSA and there are several nice well-stocked campsites along the tributary stream.

14 days ago

2 months ago

3 months ago

11 months ago

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Monday, April 03, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Friday, November 25, 2016

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