Thursday, November 13, 2008
Linville Falls, Town of Linville Falls
I have been lucky enough to live a short drive from this lovely park with hiking trails, picnic areas and of course the breathtaking Linville Falls itself. It is one of my favorite waterfalls in the western mountains.
Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway between Linville and Spruce Pine, near Milepost 316.4, the 440 acre park belongs to the National Park Service even though is sits inside the Pisgah National Forest. Turn onto the Linville Falls Recreation Area Access Road and follow it until it ends at the visitor center. There are four trails here - some offer fantastic views of the falls and others are just great hikes.
Linville Falls Trail
This trail actually begins from another parking area just off NC 183 in the town of Linville Falls. Roughly two miles round trip it is easy to moderate. The trail descends on a well worn road taking you through heavy forest. This trail intersects with the other trails at various points - just follow the signs and head for the ones that appeal to you. For a view of the falls, the Upper Falls Overlook Trail descends off the main trail to a rock wall at the top of Linville Falls. This is a favorite of many! Chimney View Overlook makes an easy descent alongside a wooden guardrail and offers yet another outstanding vantage point of the falls. Along the way the trail breaks off again to the left to Erwin's View. From this trail you can view Humpback Mountain, Doe Hill Mountain and Buck Hill.
Plunge Basin Overlook Trail
This is an easy to moderate 0.5 mile one way trail. The Plunge Basin and Linville Gorge Trail begins to the right of the visitor center. At 0.3 mile the Linville Gorge Trail forks off to the left and the Plunge basin goes straight. You will pass through a high dense tunnel of mountain laurel. The trail ends overlooking the lake size basin and waterfall at the northern end of the gorge.
Linville Gorge Trail
Again the trail begins to the right of the visitor center with the Plunge Basin Trail. This trail is 0.7 mile one way and strenuous. After it forks from the main trail, the Linville Gorge Trail narrows and becomes rocky and difficult to navigate as it descends down to the pool at the base of the falls.
Duggers Creek Loop
This is a short meditative easy loop of 0.4 mile round trip. You will cross a small bridge over Duggers Creek, pass a small waterfall and loop back to the trail head.