Directions: From Sylva, it’s about a 2-hr drive via I-40 east to Marion, then north on US Highway 221. When we reach the village of Linville Falls, turn right onto NC Highway 183. After a mile turn right onto the unpaved road at the “Linville Gorge” sign. The parking lot is just ahead on the left and is not plowed if snowy. The trail is on the right as you pull into the lot – look for the sign that says Linville Falls 4/10 mile.
Hike downhill through the forest for .4 mile to the main trail that comes from the Parkway Visitor Center. Turn left and you’ll soon see the Upper Falls trail on the left. Enjoy a close-up view of the modest Upper Falls, as we are above the narrow canyon where the water cascades to the lower falls.
Back track to the main trail and turn left to continue on to two more overlooks. In about 1/3 of a mile, reach Chimney View for views of both the upper and lower falls as well as impressive Linville Gorge. Again, return to the main trail and turn left to hike about 2/10 of a mile to Erwins View.
Once at Erwins View, enjoy sweeping views of the canyon, waterfall and river. When we’ve taken it all in and maybe a picture or two, backtrack to the parking area and head out for some lunch.
Erwins View Trail
A moderate 1.6 mile round-trip walk, offering hikers four overlooks, each revealing a different aspect of the Linville Falls area.
Upper Linville Gorge Trail
The Linville Gorge trail is 1.4 miles round trip and starts at the visitor center.
Plunge Basin, right fork
The trail to Linville Gorge forks 0.2 mile from the visitor center. Take a right at the fork to Plunge Basin Overlook where you can view the lower falls and the Chimneys.
Plunge Basin, left fork
Take the left fork and wind down through rock cliffs to the bottom of the falls where the force of the water cascading over the falls creates a large pool. Both of these fork trails are strenuous.
Babel Tower Trail at Linville Gorge
A 3 mile difficult hike in Linville Gorge, dropping down to the large stone spire at Babel Tower and multiple roaring waterfalls on the Linville River.
Note: ** Swimming in the Linville River and climbing on the rocks is dangerous and not allowed.