The Linville Gorge Wilderness, in the mountains of Western North Carolina, is part of the Pisgah National Forest. The gorge is formed by the Jonas Ridge on the east and Linville Mountain on the west and is bisected by the Linville River which drops 2,000 feet into the valleys below. The terrain is steep and rugged with numerous rock formations. It is covered by dense hardwood/pine forest and a wide variety of smaller trees and other plants. Recreation opportunities include hiking backpacking, rock climbing, fishing and hunting.
Located in Burke County, the Gorge is so rugged that it was spared the clear-cut logging that was happening in much of the eastern forests after the turn of the century. Hike and camp in the Gorge’s virgin forest with spectacular overlooks, including iconic Table Rock and Hawksbill. See our favorite hikes below.
Since this is a federally-designated Wilderness Area, trails are not well maintained and are usually signed only at the trailheads. Plus, there are many side trails to campsites and rim views. Many hikers get lost each year (and cell phone reception is very spotty). The great news is that you can enjoy the spectacular views with several short, well-used trails that are easy to follow. Some forest service roads close January-March.
Trails are signed at trailheads but are not signed or blazed once inside the wilderness. You should be able to read a topographical map and use a compass. You can purchase topo and other maps from the Grandfather District Office.
When to Go
Spring through Fall will give you a wide variety of views and crowds.
A free camping permit is needed on weekends and holidays May through October. Group size is limited to 10 persons. Each visitor or group may receive one weekend permit per month and may stay up to 3 consecutive days and 2 nights.