Shortoff Mountain Trail

HARD 167 reviews
#2 of 27 trails in

Shortoff Mountain Trail is a 5.6 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.

DISTANCE
5.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,289 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

old growth

over grown

rocky

scramble

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. 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.

2 days ago

This is such a unique hike! You get good views of Lake James early on and they don’t stop as you reach the top and beyond. Lots of ledges to look out on and plenty of great camping spots along the way and at the top. Not a big time commitment either - Really loved this hike.

backpacking
10 days ago

The access road *is* accessible in a sedan. I managed to get a Charger up it, in the rain, with minimal fuss. Just be mindful of the blind corners, as most of the road is only wide enough for one vehicle.

PLENTY of water available from top to bottom this week. Just listen for water (and/or use your topo!) and you’ll find’em.

This is definitely a difficult hike when fully kitted out. I noticed the majority of people were carrying small day packs. Once you hit the switchbacks, you’re committed. The trail is well marked and clear, but definitely sketchy in a few areas and rather strenuous on the way up (and down!). Summer heat/humidity plus thunderstorms made for an interesting (and tedious) ascent.

Definitely doing this one again. I set up camp in a clearing just past the Gully Pipe, my hammock just a few feet from a cliff overlooking the Gorge. Absolutely stunning views at sunset, the sounds of the river almost 1,000 feet below and a gentle breeze made for an incredible site.

All said, an amazing trail and definitely worth doing. Just remember to do your part and LNT while visiting.

12 days ago

The first 1.4 miles is mostly an uphill, rocky climb to the summit. After that, the trail flattens out, but it becomes more overgrown and quite narrow. There are several rock outcroppings after about the 1-mile mark with amazing views of the Gorge and Lake James. There's almost no shading on the trail, so hike early and bring a lot of water, especially in the summer. I hiked after a lot of rain, and there was also quite a bit of water on the trail. Overall, this is a great trail with fantastic views as you climb higher.

hiking
22 days ago

On July 13, 2018 ( a humid day) my family undertook to hike this trail while we visited the area from Missouri. Despite hesitations from my wife and the relative young age of our boys (9 and 7) I remained strong in my conviction to see this place on earth as I have heard it is beautiful. It was as stated by the reviews rugged and steep. To reach the top was work. This was offset by wild blue berry eating along the way. It was all worth it. The view from the top is spectacular. There is a nice view up the gorge and of a few of the distinct area peaks not to mention the scenery is generally great. By the time we were descending the last half mile we were out of water and the troops were decidedly weary. Still this was one of our best family hikes.

hiking
1 month ago

Killer hike. Hiked a 10 miler (round trip) along the east side of the Gorge. Went an extra 2 miles after I reached the Shortoff Summit. Probably got close to 1,400 feet in elevation gain, so I was at about 3,100 feet. A lot of views south of Lake James on the way up. The views to the north and to the west were the gifts that kept on giving once the trail flattened out. Sick views of Table Rock Mtn and below into the Gorge. Grandfather Mtn was in the back behind Table Rock, and Mt Mitchell was in the distance behind the west ridgeline.

hiking
1 month ago

Attempt number one to summit.... I’ll be back tomorrow.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail! The first part is rocky and a bit steep but rewarding views at the top! Looks like it has some great camping spots but we just did out & back.

1 month ago

Beautiful views of the gorge. Hiked during late winter, so it was quite nippy and icy throughout the hike. During the summer, be sure to stay safe, but if hiking the winter, watch for the ice on the rocks! Fantastic views!

1 month ago

Solid hike - We hiked in 5 miles to the base of the chimneys and hiked out the next day. There are only a few water sources other than at the top so plan ahead.

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is by far my very favorite trail that I have hiked in NC. Great views I mean fantastic views of the gorge. Wild blueberries growing along side the trail. Great views of Lake James. Steep incline at first and then it flattens out at the top of the trail. There is a pond and shade at that point. This trail is spectacular in so many ways! My 14 yr old Dixie trekked it with me on her birthday. Happy Trails!

backpacking
2 months ago

The views of St James Lake get better as you go further up the trail. Linville gouge is one of the first protected natural areas in the USA, and you will see why when you reach the top. Happy Hiking and don t forget you water

2 months ago

This is a fantastic out-and-back trail that climbs to the top of the south end of Linville Gorge with incredible views of the river below and the Gorge beyond.

2 months ago

One of my favorite hikes ever. Beautiful views of Linville Gorge. One you reach the top it’s an easy hike. Haven’t went all the way to table rock yet but half way

hiking
2 months ago

This trail was incredible! The views were amazing throughout the entire hike. Definitely a strenuous workout but well worth it.

3 months ago

amazing must see hike. initial ascent is a bit rough with rocky steps but then is an easy flat wandering along the edge of the gorge and through burnt rocky wilderness. went 3.8 miles out, tons of primitive campsites, before the trail began descending to the chimneys (and then back up to table rock)

hiking
3 months ago

Pretty hard hike but the payoff is worth the effort.

3 months ago

love this trail! perfect mix of climbing and level areas. look forward to doing this one again for sure.

3 months ago

Would like to come back in the Spring or fall and do again. Great views from the ridge lines. Walking poles would be useful.

hiking
4 months ago

My boys and I had an awesome time on this hike. Beautiful from start to finish. Pretty strenuous but not terrible (and I’m not an avid hiker). Will definitely do this again.

4 months ago

One of best trails close to Morganton NC

hiking
5 months ago

One of my favorite trails. A little of everything elevation, flat areas, beautiful views.

5 months ago

went with the family and a 3 month old Aussie pup. Dont know that my parents enjoyed it as much as I did, but the views are absolutely gorgeous the whole way and it's a great reward for the tough hike. (Mind you, even if you're in pretty decent shape it's tough though)

5 months ago

this place is near and dear to my heart glad I live so close to such a beautiful place the big man above created a masterpiece with this one

5 months ago

Great workout and beautiful views!

5 months ago

This trail is labeled HARD for a reason, but it is so worth it!! In the summer there are wild blueberries lining the path, and the views of the gorge are simply stunning. the campgrounds are also gorgeous.
Be ready for some burning legs! This trail is breathtaking in more ways than one!

hiking
5 months ago

Loved the views!!! Rough hike. Beware. Worth it for the views.

hiking
6 months ago

As a resident of the area. We live off Wolf Pit Rd and enjoy sharing our mountain to all who want to enjoy it. The road in (Wolf Pit) is a State/Federal rd. It has fallen into a sad shape. We have started a petition to submit to our Representatives to get some agency to take up repair and maintenance of Wolf Pit. Please sign https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition-to-repair-and-maintain-wolf-pit-road

7 months ago

The road to get to the trail head is winding and narrow with more than a few deep ruts. The last 1.5 miles of the road was locked closed for winter, it's 1.5 miles of steep uphill on blacktop. The option for getting more water seems to be a single spring about 6 miles in.
Well marked, minimal trash, death defying heights and ledges, what could be better? 29 miles of wilderness fun.

7 months ago

Absolutely the sickest trail I have ever experienced. difficult as can be but totally worth the effort

8 months ago

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

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