As of 6/3 park the trail closes at 6PM, but the website let's you reserve a slot at 5PM-beware. In my opinion 70% of the hikes awesomeness is the trail itself. Rocky ridges, cables, ladders, trails where a misstep could land you falling hundreds of feet. The views facing Mt.Mitchel and linville gorge are amazing, but as you continue after 2-3 miles the views focus towards the resorts and thousands of cabins near sugar mountain. After 1 mile, crowds were nonexistent on a sunny Wednesday afternoon.

gorgeous and not heavily trafficked (good for social distancing!) but we did get about 20 feet from a young black bear (accidentally) this morning (about 9am 06/02/20), be careful! happy hiking.

3rd or 4th trail as a family. Took our 13 and 10 year old boys with us and it was an absolute blast. Rocky but completely doable. Almost 2 hours total out and back with a few excursions off trail for pictures and took our time (as you should as well) at the end to enjoy the amazing view.

Great trail !. We had to book online first . They only work if you do it through internet . Amazing views

Open with a reservation. The 0.4 mile up from the Black Rock parking lot was step stone rocks on switchbacks. My 3 year old made it with some hand holding along the way. Fun, but busy despite the need for reservations.

We started this hike at the overlook just south of the main section of the viaduct (basically at the end of the trail as mapped here). The few yards of trail around the viaduct is rocky and not well marked, though fairly easy to find and follow. Once you hit the observation spot under the viaduct, the path is paved and a gentle walk to the visitor center. Great way to see the construction up close.

Drove over two hours to do this hike and when we got there was told we had to buy a permit online and reserve a time slot? Never heard of doing this for a trail and was difficult to even find the reservations on their site. They were booked up for two weeks. Very frustrating as this was not advertised anywhere online.

One of my favorites!!!

Closed as of 05/10/2020

Best backpacking in NC! The parking lot is closed so you have to hike about a mile straight up to reach the trail head. Weather was great during the day, but windiest night of camping in my life! If anyone goes on this trail and the table rock parking lot opens back up leave a post on here and let us know

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.

Husband and I hiked this trail today. Started at Beacon Heights parking area up to top of beacon heights .20 mile...Gorgeous views at top well worth the hike. Halfway down beacon heights trail is junction to Linn Cove trail and Price lake trail. We hiked the 1.5 miles to stack rock and the viaduct. very rocky and lots of roots but that said an ok trail for most novice hikers. Moderate rating because of rocky and sometimes uphill terrain.

no shade
off trail
private property
washed out
2 months ago

2 months ago

Incredible trail! Not for the faint of heart or the out-of-shape, however. The altitude change left me shorter of breath then I would like to admit, and there were some fairly intense scrambles. There were also points at which we were literally clinging to a ladder or cable on the side of a rock face looking out over valleys on 3/4 sides. In my eyes, though, these challenges are what made the trail enjoyable, not to mention the beautiful foliage, geology, and landscape.

Great trail. Probably one of the most difficult to date. Enjoyed the challenge and the views.

Probably a great trail but be careful what time you go. Entered gate just before 2 and they said park closed at 4. When we entered trailhead by store/bridge we were told we had to be to our car by 3pm. So at $22/person, would have been good info at front gate! Can’t complete the trail in one hour...2 would have been enough. But gorgeous trail even totally fogged in.....probably BETTER for any afraid of hikes near first peak.

3 months ago

Great workout! The amazing views are worth the Trek!

This is a must hike trail if you are in the area!! Challenging few areas with ropes and ladders so if you are looking for an adventure this is it!! You can’t beat the views

4 months ago

My 15 yo son had to work up some courage to complete a few of the ladders, but he did it! Challenging for sure!

Very rocky, one of our members twisted her angle. Bring good hiking boots. Great views with a few water features.

Get there early, as the crowds on a Saturday were insanity. Lots of people hiking in flip flops that had no idea that ladders and scrambling are to be expected to get to the peaks.

Probably the coolest trail I've ever hiked in the state of NC. It's also worth it to take the Olson trail on the way up Shortoff for the views and the Jeep trail on the way back down to save some time. We made it back to the car in 7 hours including a few stops along the way. The hike out of Chimney Gap is the hardest part but it doesn't last too long. Water is available at certain parts of the trail but I'd advise to bring enough so you won't need to run off trail to find it. I used about 2 liters.

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