Shortoff Mountain Trail is a 5.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Morganton, North Carolina that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,289 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

over grown

rocky

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. 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.

hiking
6 hours ago

Do this trek! The juice is definitely worth the squeeze. Fantastic views of Lake James and ultimately the Linville Gorge. First two miles pretty steep, but no scrambling needed. This is one of the best hikes in WNC.

hiking
bridge out
bugs
no shade
rocky
10 hours ago

Firstly, there are no signs to get there.. the head to this trail is very misleading. Secondly , At the start of the trail, Few miles are strenuous but when you reach the top, it is pretty simple. Thirdly, there are no markings so please carry a virtual map with you. Lastly, we found some unethical things happening on our way which resulted in termination of our hike. The hike is beautiful but please go at your own risk.

hiking
12 hours ago

Get trail to hike would recommend to start early in the summer months. Uphill at the beginning but is well worth it at the top. Views are worth every bit of it !!!

hiking
13 hours ago

The first one.five is entirely up hill, rocky with some water running down onto the stones, making some of them slippery. The half point up gives some gorgeous views of the lake, with some very pretty wildflowers. The main attraction is the view directly into the gorge at the peak, where you can see the river below. Great views, an enjoyable hike with lots of photo ops. Enjoy the hike on a somewhat cloudy day, it gets hot!

hiking
12 days ago

Caution! A relative of mine hiked this trail last Tuesday. He passed two white male hitchhikers on Wolf Pit Road who appeared to be residents returning to their homes. He did not stop to pick them up. After another terrific hike to the top of Shortoff, he returned to the parking lot to find two slashed tires. The incident and suspicions have been reported to law enforcement officials.

hiking
13 days ago

Amazing Views. Quite steep on the way up but more than worth it. The wildflowers were stunning. Great for an afternoon hike. You can keep going on the mountain to sea trail to table rock and the chimneys for an all day adventure. 10 out of 10. My gps recording on all trails didn’t start until about two miles in (my fault).

hiking
19 days ago

Lots of exposure to the sun at the beginning of the trail while going uphill. After the first bit uphill, the trail levels out and is a fairly easy stroll. Lots of incredible views and rocks to climb on along the flat portion. The trail seems like it continues, but I think that might just be Shortoff overlaps the gorge trail. If you aren’t looking at the map feature, it would be very easy to continue walking and not know you’ve finished the Shortoff trail

backpacking
rocky
25 days ago

This was my first ever backpacking trip. I was severely unprepared physically. I had to take lots of breaks, but when you get to the top it's all worth it! It's tough to find wood to burn, so bring a jet boil. Plus it's safer. It gets very windy at the top.

27 days ago

Easy trail to follow. it's hard at first. About several feet from the parking is the sign pointing to the right for Shortoff. Don't miss it. Great hike. BEAUTIFUL view. It's about 2.5 miles one way incline up. 5.0 miles round-trip. It's rocky. Start this trail no later than 10am. This trail is partly shade. Upon entering the WolfPit road there will be a sign of closed and many signs that say private property. IGNORE IT. Just go all the way to the end and park.

hiking
closed
1 month ago

We drove over 100 miles to hike this trail today and it was officially closed - many signs have been put up by the National Forest Service indicating it is closed due to COVID-19 safety measures.

hiking
1 month ago

Love this trail! Views are spectacular and trail is well marked. Lots of water features in the spring.

closed
1 month ago

A sign at beginning of Wolf Pit Road on tree says Wolf Pit Trail closed. Guys on dirtbikes tells me at what I'm guessing is the last residential place on road the trail is closed. I travel over 100 miles to hike trail and find this out. USFS does not have this posted on website. Was I just given a bunch of BS by local residents?

hiking
1 month ago

This review is actually for part of the MST we did because like another poster, we thought we were trespassing trying to get to the trailhead if Shortoff. The homeowners have put up signs on Wolf Pit Rd that says private drive. After talking to the owner of CBS Sports in Morganton (if you haven’t been there, go by - they are great) told us that it is a state road and the signs are for their private drives off of Wolf Pit. We not knowing this actually picked up a trail about a half mile down the road and took that up. The section we hiked was great- moderate to slightly strenuous. I think we got to parts of the Shortoff but turned around about 3.6 miles in. It had a section that paralleled the river which was beautiful. Also, on your way up don’t forget to turn around to see the gorgeous view of Lake James below.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Wonderful trail. Shortly into the hike you get a fantastic view if the lake. The beginning portion is a bit steep and challenging, but turns pretty smooth soon after. I got some great views of the gorge and was able to see some beautiful scenery. Definitely look forward to coming back and completing the whole 8 mile one-way Shortoff Trail next time!

hiking
2 months ago

Incredible views! Went early morning to watch the sunrise. Only a few people at the trailhead then but it was packed later in the day. There is a water source 1.75 miles in if you are backcountry camping. Trail is well marked. Also, if you are backcountry camping, please have enough brains to NOT build a campfire. Came across a still smoldering fire left at the top that wasn’t put out properly. The place is a tinder box and the entire trail is a visual reminder of the last forest fire to rip through here.

hiking
private property
2 months ago

We drove about half way up wolf pit road and saw two signs on either side of the road saying, “Private Property NO TRESPASSING”. Is this trail no longer public access?

rocky
2 months ago

Foggy, drizzle of rain on and off. Still got views of Lake James, found only a couple of wildflowers, still too early. Did get a peek of the river. Amazing rock ledges. Great hike, most definitely will do it again. Took the side trail down to the Gorge and climbed back out. Very steep and rocky in spots.

hiking
rocky
2 months ago

The main view of lake James is fairly early in the hike but there are several great secondary views of cliffs and valleys. Also, the trail extends far beyond where AllTrails has it marked.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike! Dynamic views.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Had another phenomenal hike on shortoff. It’s a must do if you’re in the area.

hiking
3 months ago

Great hike! Would like to see hikers obey the leash law though.

hiking
4 months ago

Phenomenal hike with incredible views and multiple different climates. Highly recommend for families, and dog owners. Only recommendation would be to drive with a larger car, as the road in extremely rugged.

hiking
4 months ago

Great little afternoon hike. Sunny and a bit windy, but no complaints considering it’s the first week of February.

hiking
4 months ago

Great hike!

4 months ago

beautiful views. so worth the hike

hiking
4 months ago

Beautiful hike. Well maintained trail with several worthwhile viewpoints.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail. Keep down the path past where AllTrails leads you. There is more to it than the 5+ miles the app states. Worth the extra steps!

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