Linville Gorge Wilderness
Linville Gorge is 12,002 acre wilderness located southeast of the town of Linville between Jonas Ridge and Linville Mountain. The gorge starts at Linville Falls and opens up to empty out in Lake James. This is one of a handful of areas on the east cost that are truly virgin forests. Linville Gorge is so steep that it was impossible for the loggers to reach it for the lumber in the past century. There are many great features in Linville Gorge including cliffs, mountains, and the Linville River itself. Places that you must check out are Shortoff Mountain, Hawksbill Mountain, Table Rock, The Chimney's, Babel Tower, and the Falls. The best decent trails into the gorge are (hardest - easiest) Pitch-In Trail, Babel Tower Trail, Conley Cove Trail, and the Spence Trail. Linville Gorge has mountain peaks around 4,000 feet and is only 1,300 feet where it empties into Lake James.
Directions to Visitors Center from Boone:
Take NC 105 S for 15 miles, then turn right at US-221/NC 181 S go 0.6 miles, then turn left at NC 181 S go 3 miles take left at for onto NC 181 S go 1.5 miles, then turn right onto NC 183 N go 1 mile, then take second right onto the Parkway go 1.8 miles, then turn left onto Linville Falls Rd, the Visitors Center is 1.5 miles at end of the road.
Year Around (Facilities are open seasonal)
No Fees for any activities
$19.00 Fee at Campground
Required for camping from May 1 through October 31.
Required for hunting in season.
1,300 feet - 4,120 feet
Allowed, must be on leash
Other Trails not Listed
Faulkner Flats Trail
Joe Johnson Trail
Lead Mine Trail
Long Arm Trail
Lost Dog Trail
Lower Steels Creek Trail
Mossy Monster Trail
(Shortoff Mt. - Kistler Hwy)
Overmountain Victory Trail (Section)
Petraeus Point Trail
Red North Trail
Steels Creek Trail
Linville Falls Upper Falls Trail - (0.7 mi.)
(Spence to Table Rock) - (1.5 mi.)
USGS Linville Falls Quadrant
Topo Map (Upper Gorge)
Topo Map (Lower Gorge)
Linville Falls Campground
Linville Gorge is full of trails but can become busy in the summer months for backpackers. Those who want solitude might want to use the more primitive trails or try to go between Sunday and Thursday. Also a good rule of thumb is the more you travel south in the gorge the less you will see people. You must attain a permit to camp on the weekends or holidays between May 1 and October 31. Campers may only stay in the area for three days and two nights. Request permits by calling the U.S. Forest Service office at (828) 652-2144.
Trail heads are normally marked, however the trails themselves are not blazed. Be prepared to understand how to read and use a map. It can be very easy to pass the trail you were trying to link up with when you are in the gorge. People every year get lost down in the gorge so be sure you aren't one of them. You can get a map of the area at the U.S. Forest Service office at the entrance to the Gorge. You can also use the Google Earth maps provided on this site to get an idea of the trails that you are interested in hiking. I suggest that you purchase the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Topo Map # 779. Please do not rely on just this site to plan your trip to Linville Gorge as this place can be very unforgiving. Research the U.S. Forest Services website for up to date information.
To see a 3-D interactive map of Linville Gorge, please load the Master Google File on the left side.
View of Lake James
Linville Gorge from Hawksbill Mt.
South in the Gorge on the Linville River
You can use this interactive map to find directions to the trail in the park you are looking to hike. This map is interactive and you can move around and zoom in or out.
For Driving Directions: Please click on the "hiker man" and then click on the arrow in the bottom right corner. You will then be redirected to Google Maps where you can type in your home address.
High Country Trails
Purchase the Topographical Map you will need to fully explore Linville Gorge