Babel Tower Trail (in Linville Gorge)
The Babel Tower Trail is an excellent introduction to hiking in Linville Gorge. You get a taste of the rugged terrain, without it getting too difficult.
The trail is clear and easy to follow, descending to a rocky area where the Linville Gorge Trail (LGT) crosses. From this point, you can descend to the river taking either direction on the LGT. In particular, taking a right (South) leads to several nice campsites along the river.
Continuing straight across the LGT leads to Babel Tower, which is a unique rock feature on a peninsula that juts out making a bend in the Linville River. There are steep user trails that climb to rocky viewpoints at the top of Babel Tower. Caution is required, as there are steep cliffs and extremely deep crevices, many of which are obscured by vegetation.
The trail begins from the well-marked trailhead on Old NC 105 (Kistler Highway). This is a dirt/gravel road, and the conditions vary widely, depending on recent weather and road maintenance. If you do not have a high-clearance vehicle, it is advisable to check in advance on the road conditions.
The hike down to the LGT crossing is safe and good for children that are accustomed to hiking. It is not advisable to take children on the user trails beyond this point.