Linville Gorge campsites: our favorite car camping sites on the gorge's east rim Linville Gorge

Linville Gorge camping: car campsites near Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain

North Carolina's Linville Gorge east rim camping sites are steps away from breathtaking gorge and mountain views, fantastic hiking trails and some of NC's best climbing.

Linville Gorge, located in North Carolina’s Pisgah National Forest, is a massive, deep-cut gorge that plunges 2,000 feet deep and stretches 12 miles long. Carved over millenia by the Linville River, the gorge is filled with massive rock formations, steep canyon walls and the ultra-popular (and ultra-beautiful) Linville Falls waterfalls in its depths.

The gorge and surrounding 12,000 acres of Linville Gorge Wilderness offer a wealth of fantastic hiking trails and climbing – arguably some of the best in the state of North Carolina. Just northeast of Asheville by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Linville Gorge is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Up for a long weekend of climbing or hiking in this incredible wilderness? The gorge offers some incredible backcountry primitive campsites on the Linville Gorge east rim.

Linville Falls plunges into Plunge Basin at the foot of the towering, sheer walls of Linville GorgeAbove: camp at Linville Gorge for close access to some of North Carolina’s best hikes, including the Linville Falls Plunge Basin Trail

Linville Gorge east rim: our favorite campsites

On the gorge’s eastern rim, the graveled, meandering Forest Service Road 210 offers easy access to some of Linville Gorge’s best summit hikes, including Hawksbill Mountain, Table Rock Mountain and Spence Ridge. Further south, an ultra-popular extension of the Mountains to Sea Trail climbs to the summit of Shortoff Mountain, offering stunning views of nearby Lake James and northward into Linville Gorge.

Camping at Linville Gorge: hike, camp and explore western North Carolina's epic, view-packed gorge

Campsites are available on-trail near the summits for climbers and backpackers willing to pack their gear in. But there are a few scattered campsites along FS 210, too, that offer the convenience of car camping with a short trek to the site.


Our favorite site? Steps away from the Hawksbill Mountain trailhead lies one of our favorite campsites in North Carolina, tucked off the gravel road in a young forest. Across the road from the Hawksbill trailhead, a small trail travels eastbound less than .1 mile to an angular rock outcrop.

Linville Gorge camping: close access western North Carolina's best hiking trails and climbing routes

Just north of Hawksbill’s campsite, trails lead to a small cliff that offers wide views into the Linville Gorge Wilderness – a great spot to catch a sunrise or unwind after an adventure-filled day on the trail. From the campsite, it’s a less-than-.1-mile trek, due north, to the outcrop overlook.

Alternate sites

Didn’t get there early enough, and the Hawksbill campsites are already taken? There’s another site just south on FS 210, located east of the Spence Ridge trailhead. From the Spence Ridge parking area, it’s a quick 200-foot walk into the forest to the site (GPS coordinates: 35.904183, -81.878217 / N35 54.251 W81 52.693). Or for less privacy from the road, but some next-to-the-car convenience, there’s also a small campsite south of Spence Ridge, near Table Rock (GPS coordinates: 35.889767,-81.869217 / N35 53.386 W81 52.153).

Note: permits are required for camping in the gorge from May through October.
Get more info here.

Linville Gorge hiking adventures

Hike to stunning views into Linville Gorge on the Table Rock TrailAbove: hike to stunning views on the nearby Table Rock Trail

Chase waterfalls, hike to some incredible summit views, catch gorgeous sunsets and peer deep into the gorge from dizzying heights on our favorite Linville Gorge hiking trails. Climb to stunning views from Shortoff Mountain. Cross the gorge to explore the tumbling, towering waterfalls on the Linville Falls Plunge Basin Trail. Or explore nearby adventure from the summits of Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain, catching unforgettable mountaintop views.

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Linville Gorge Camping: West Rim Campsites Map, Directions & Details

Linville Gorge Camping: West Rim Campsites Map
Linville Gorge Camping: West Rim Campsites Map
This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.

Driving Directions


Note: Trailhead access is via a gravel Forest Service Road. Continue following FS 210 south from the Hawksbill Trailhead to access the alternate campsites.

GPS Coordinates

35.914683,-81.878317     //     N35 54.881 W81 52.699

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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.
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