Shortoff Mountain Trail

HARD 215 reviews
#2 of 29 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

camping

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

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.

hiking
rocky
6 days ago

Cloudy and cool today. Really perfect temp. Arduous maybe for the first mile up from the parking lot. Trekking poles are useful in a few areas and the descent back to parking. I use a CamelBak pack and I was glad to have the water.

hiking
11 days ago

The views were good but the trail was harder. I don’t think the trail was worth the views. But I am willing to try this hike again

Beautiful day! Cool but warm, bring water!

backpacking
20 days ago

What a wonderful place to backpack. The gorge is beautiful. I did pick a very windy day to begin my North Carolina backpacking experience, but quite worth it. The trail is very easy to follow and maintained well. Not much water around, well I didn’t find much. However on my way down a couple told me about the water tree. Nonetheless, I camped overnight and the wind ceased which provided a very peaceful night. Alone and unafraid star gazing. Such a beautiful place.

hiking
muddy
rocky
22 days ago

1 month ago

Spectacular views with just enough challenging sections! Great for either a day hike or an overnighter.

1 month ago

Very amazing trail enjoyed every thing about it not
To hard to get to the top

hiking
1 month ago

The taller mountains were snowed in, so this was a great alternative! Lower elevation had great winter weather, and the views were still exactly what I was hoping for when we were planning this trip.

hiking
2 months ago

So beautiful! The beginning is definitely steep, but so worth it for the views! I did it with my 14 month old on my back and was a great workout! Would love to come back and camp here.

trail running
2 months ago

Just completed a trail run here for the first time and will definitely be back. Even on a cloudy/rainy day the views were incredible. Plus it links up with the Mountains to Sea trail so you can go as long or short as you like.

The first mile is the most difficult - rocky elevation gain - but then you get to traipse along the ridge line for a while and it’s a breeze.

2 months ago

Awesome. Start at wolf pit go as far as you like. Great sunset

3 months ago

Not difficult, but still a great workout and spectacular views

3 months ago

Awesome view of the gorge.

hiking
3 months ago

One of the most interesting trails in the gorge area. Fantastic views and not nearly as crowded as table rock and hawksbill

hiking
4 months ago

Amazing views

4 months ago

The hike gives you lots of amazing views! Will definitely do this hike again when the fall colors are at peak

Rated hard, but very easy and a great view!

4 months ago

Amazing!

hiking
4 months ago

Pretty tough trail, but definitely worth it! Lots of gorgeous overlooks on the way up if you need to stop and catch your breath.

camping
4 months ago

One of the better views in the Carolinas!! Pretty steep incline for the first part of the hike. Very rewarding hike!

Nice hike and view.

5 months ago

Must have hiking boots! Very rocky but amazing views.. super worth it!!

5 months ago

Great hike.. the first 1.4 is hard and rocky. But worth the wonderful views. At the top it is a great walk for about 2 Miles through blueberry bushes and some great places for lunch.

hiking
5 months ago

One of my favorite hikes so far. Better in the fall and winter months. AMAZING views of James Lake and Lineville Gorge! Excellent exercise. This one I will keep coming back to

6 months 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
6 months 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.

6 months 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
6 months 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
7 months 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. About 1,400 feet in elevation gain. 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...nice 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...couldn't see the top of it.

hiking
7 months ago

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

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