Hike to epic views of the enormous waterfalls at Linville Falls, climbing to high-elevation views into a steep-walled gorge just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

georgia hiking trails: 2-4 miles 2.2 miles
(round trip)
? Your mileage may vary! Accuracy of your GPS device, weather conditions, and stops along your route will affect your own recorded distance.
georgia hiking trails: moderaterelatively
moderate
?Our difficulty estimate, based on distance, terrain, elevation change, & ease of wayfinding. May vary daily due to weather, trail reroutes, downed trees, etc.
georgia hiking trails: dog-friendly Dog-
friendly
?Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail. We’ve loved hiking this route with our trail-loving Labrador Retrievers! Check out more of our favorite dog-friendly trails near Asheville for a great hike with your pup.

LOCATION:just off the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville

GEAR: Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack, our hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

WEAR: Our ultra-soft Asheville Trails shirts and mountain logo hats

OFFICIAL MAP: Nat Geo 779 Trails Illustrated Map

RATED: 4.6/5 (5 reviews)

Linville Gorge is strikingly beautiful. Carving deep into the mountainous landscape between Asheville and Boone, a tumbling river dives deep between two rugged ridges, flowing nearly 2,000 feet below the surrounding mountain summits.

At the gorge’s northern edge, near the Blue Ridge Parkway, the river cascades in a series of waterfalls that plummet through its dramatically beautiful landscape. Linville Falls thunders through a towering cliff before pooling in a deep, wide basin below the waterfall and flowing downriver through the 12-mile gorge. It’s a spectacular series of waterfalls – and this moderate, two-mile hike scores stunning views of the falls from many excellent vantage points.

Linville Falls

This hike visits three waterfall overlooks on a one-mile outbound adventure, each catching a unique perspective of the upper falls, immense lower falls, and the surrounding gorge. And a bonus overlook, near the hike’s end, offers southbound views into the deep-carved gorge. It’s a hike that’s particularly gorgeous in summertime mornings, as the fog begins to lift from the gorge’s deep valley and the sun rises over the opposite ridge.

Hike to epic views of the enormous waterfalls at Linville Falls, climbing to high-elevation views into a steep-walled gorge just off the Blue Ridge Parkway #hiking #asheville #nc #northcarolina #travel #outdoors #adventure

Linville Falls: the hike

The hike begins at a visitor center located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near MP 316 (view maps and driving directions). The trail crosses a bridge over the Linville River, following a wide gravel road and rolling elevation through a vibrant green forest. Tall trees tower over the rolling landscape of grasses, rhododendron, and fern.

Linville Falls

The hike hangs a left at .5 miles, following signs to the upper falls overlook. The hike descends through a blocky, cliff-lined terrain to the overlook’s wide, smooth rock expanses on the river’s banks. Upriver, the upper waterfall cascades down in a pair of synchronous waterfalls framed by 20-foot-tall outcrops.

Near the overlook’s southern edge, downriver from the upper falls, the river carves deep into a canyon, surging and twisting in tendrils of whitewater before plunging through a cliff. The lower waterfall is just out of sight – but the tremendous roar of water gives an audible preview of its beauty.

Linville Falls

The hike turns, retracing its steps back to the main trail and climbing elevation. The trail arcs away from the river, ascending through an old-growth forest of broad-trunked pine and hemlock. The hike reaches a spur trail at just under one mile, turning left to catch views of the waterfall from the Chimney View overlook. Chimney View’s high-elevation perch offers stunning views into the gorge below, catching sight of the enormous falls dropping through two tiers in a towering, blocky cliff.

The hike retraces back to the main trail once again, turning left to hike to Erwin’s View overlook. Reaching the trail’s end, two short spurs travel to the trail’s final overlooks, and the hike veers to the right, catching stunning views into the gorge. The hike doubles back to the split, veering right to trek a short downhill to Erwin’s View. The overlook offers beautiful long-range views of Linville Falls as it cascades down between the gorge’s grand walls. Downriver, the river courses through a boulder-filled bed, carving in a wide meander through the deep-channeled mountain landscape.

Departing Erwin’s View, the hike retraces its steps to the trailhead, completing the hike at just over 2 miles.

More Linville Gorge hiking adventures

In the area with extra energy, time and daylight to burn? The Plunge Basin Trail departs from the visitor center, descending to the gorge floor for an up-close view of the falls across a deep, glassy basin.

Looking for some exceptional views? Head to the gorge’s eastern rim to hike the Table Rock Trail. Table Rock’s plateaued mountain summit offers stunning, 360-degree panoramas on a moderate 2-mile trail. Catch some gorgeous sunrises and sunsets on the Hawksbill Mountain Trail, climbing to the summit of a rocky, jagged, beak-like mountain. Hike the gorge’s southern end near Lake James on the Shortoff Mountain Trail, and catch incredible view after incredible view on this 7-mile roundtrip. Or for more of our favorite hikes and campsites in the gorge, check out our Linville Gorge hiking and camping guide for more adventure inspiration.

Up for chasing some more ultra-stunning cascades without a long hike? Our favorite hikes to waterfalls near Asheville under two miles explore some of Western NC’s most beautiful falls on great beginner-friendly trails.

Note: slippery rocks and fast moving water can be extremely dangerous! Please don’t climb, stand on, swim near, or jump from any waterfall.


Linville Falls Trail Map, Directions & Details

Trails and routes may change – so please refer to official trail maps for the latest route.

Trail Rating

RATED: 4.6/5 (5 reviews)

Love the trail?

This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!

Updates

Did you have trouble accessing the trail, or notice some recent trail updates or storm damage? We'd love to know! Contact us here, and thanks for helping us keep this site updated!

Driving Directions



Parking

Free parking is available at the visitor center, located at MP 316.4 on the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Asheville. (Before you go, check for trail updates and parkway closures on the official Blue Ridge Parkway website. The area is subject to close in the winter, especially after a snow. Check out our favorite Linville Falls winter hike for wintertime trailhead access.)


GPS Coordinates

35.954583, -81.927833     //     N35 57.275 W81 55.670

Elevation Profile

Linville Falls Trail: Elevation Profile
 
 
Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way, and follow these trail etiquette tips.

Eric Champlin
Author

Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails, and Trailful, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures and top Southern-worthy outdoor gear. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.