Shortoff Mountain Trail

HARD 107 reviews
#4 of 26 trails in

Shortoff Mountain Trail is a 14.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Morganton, North Carolina that features a lake 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.

14.5 miles
3526 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash





nature trips

rock climbing

trail running





wild flowers



old growth

over grown



washed out

This is an unmarked section of wilderness hiking in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. From the base of Shortoff Mountain at the Wolfpit parking area, north to the base of the Chimney's is approximately five miles. Trekking in and out would be 10 miles total. Stunning views of the Gorge; plenty of spaces for camping (primitive / backcountry) and several water sources if you locate them ahead of time on a topo. Absolutely no blazes, but the trail is clear. If you can read a map, you are golden.

19 days ago

The whole gorge is amazing to hike. Make sure to take plenty of water while on the outer ridges a

22 days ago

Mono non minimal

27 days ago

My home trail, if you will, as we enjoy a cabin at the base of the gorge with my wife’s family. We hike here often, and think the views are some of the best in the area. Love it!

2 months ago

Tons of bugs in late afternoon during the 1st 2 miles of trail when visited in July. They don't bite though :). Plenty of spots to stop and marvel at the gorge. Switchbacks were only moderately difficult with plenty of rocks. At no point were climbing or even scurrying skills needed. Camping areas along the ridge were beautiful. Trailhead road was 3 miles of dirt/ gravel road but easily accessible by any car - 4x4 not necessary. Can't wait to hike it again.

3 months ago

Breathtaking and by that I don't just mean the views that saddle in the Mountain between shortoff mountain in the Chimney's / Table rock picnic Area is breathtaking it like walking up the steepest ski slope you've ever seen and then Doubling that

4 months ago

the rock terrain and views are really amazing. this is a challenging hike and your pretty exposed to the weather do plan accordingly. also fairly overgrown in places so pay attention. really good spot to get out and away.

4 months ago

One of my favorite hikes in the gorge. Start off from Wolf Pit Road up and around on Short Off Mountain trail. Great views of Lake James on the way up and stunning views of the gorge once you reach the top of the east rim. There are a couple amazing camp spots on top and also plenty embedded in the wooded areas.

5 months ago

Views are gorgeous!

5 months ago

Incredible views of Lake James pretty much the entire hike

5 months ago

My favorite trail in North Carolina. The views are outstanding.

5 months ago

All time best view of Lake James.

6 months ago

Fantastic! First leg from Wolf Pit Rd trailhead is no joke. All uphill, but with great views from multiple points, easy to stop and take it in(catch your breath). Water can be seasonaly scarce on Shortoff, so plan ahead. Shortoff offers phenomenal views with a variety of campsite options. Can't wait to go back!

6 months ago

I love this trail but your directions (if you are coming from the west or live in McDowell) take you way out of the way! Just head out 70 from town and catch 126. Go out 126 past the state park and Paddy's Creek and turn left onto Wolfe Pit Road.

6 months ago

Amazing scenery! Having hiked in the Rockies a lot I much prefer these mountains. If you're sensitive to the sun then you better put on some sunscreen, but if you like to tan then this is perfect!
I parked at Table rock and hiked to Shortoff, going back was a beast, but amazing.
Bring a lot of water because there's no water until you get close to Shortoff.
Loved the hike, loved the difficulty and loved my time being free in the wilderness. Only saw two people the whole time.
Have fun,

6 months ago

Awesome hike! I started at Table Rock Parking Lot and hiked along until I was about 1000' feet from the Shortoff Summit. Be aware, the hike back up to the ridge towards Table Rock from Chimney Gap is a beast! Virtually no shade trees, you will literally bake in the afternoon. Bring as much water as possible. I should have filled my water bottles (using a filter of course) from the spring down the side trail in Chimney Gap, but figured I had enough water to get back...Got back up to the ridge toward Table Rock with last sip of water...Overall, one of the most scenic hikes in the area!

7 months ago

Very scenic hike. Steady elevation climb...but the switchback views help for breaks if needed. Trail is very rocky so I wore my boots. The view from the top is amazing. Stayed up there for over a half hour and barely got to cover it all.

7 months ago

Awesome hike. Views were amazing!!

8 months ago

Awesome views!! Definitely not an easy hike.

9 months ago

it's not 14.5 miles. absolutely gorgeous views. I hiked with 2 dogs on a Monday and only passed 3 other people. It was chilly but worth it. It's rocky tread so coming down be careful of skidding.

9 months ago

Awesome trail with breathtaking views. First mile or so is a steady incline with views the whole way.

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