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Hike to the summit of Table Rock Mountain in NC, catching breathtaking panoramic views the soaring mountaintop in Linville Gorge.

georgia hiking trails: 0-2 miles 1.8 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: moderate to difficultmore
difficult
?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:at Linville Gorge in western NC

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 (8 reviews)

The views from the summit are, no exaggeration, incredibly breathtaking. Soaring from the rim of a deep-cut gorge northeast of Asheville, NC, Table Rock Mountain is a plateaued peak with a rocky, wind-swept summit that offers 360-degree panoramas of the surrounding sublime landscape of Linville Gorge. At just under two miles, roundtrip, the hike to the summit isn’t a long one, or even an overly difficult one. But these stunning summit views have kept us coming back for another hike, year after year and season after season.

Table Rock Mountain at Linville Gorge in NC

The views from the Table Rock summit are arguably some of the best in North Carolina, if not the entire South, stretching across the Linville Gorge Wilderness, north to Linville Falls and south to Shortoff Mountain. And the summit itself is a wonderland worthy of exploration: grab a high-elevation picnic or bask in the abundant mountaintop sunlight, scramble over sharply-angled rock outcrops and through dense, wind-blown thickets of shrubs and explore the foundations of an old, since-vanished building. And the views! There’s just no forgetting those incredible views.

Hike to the summit of Table Rock Mountain in NC, catching breathtaking panoramic views the soaring mountaintop in Linville Gorge. #hiking #trailrunning #camping #backpacking #asheville #nc #northcarolina #travel #outdoors #adventure

Table Rock Mountain: the hike

The hike begins the adventure from a trailhead off the graveled NC Forest Service 210 (view maps and driving directions). Given this hike’s popularity, parking can be scarce on weekends, so arrive early. And don’t forget a jacket and plenty of water: abundant wind and high elevation can make the mountain’s climate unpredictable and chilly, or scorching hot.

The hike begins a steady, nearly continuous climb to the summit. The hike ascends stone stairs to a large rock outcrop, catching its first views into the deeply-carved Linville Gorge and the nearby towering Chimneys, a popular climbing area.

Table Rock Mountain: top hikes in NC's Linville Gorge

The views are beautiful – but the best are yet to come. The trail ducks under several sharply-angled rock overhangs and between craggy cliffs, trekking through a rocky landscape peppered in lush, green flora. The trail meanders through many switchbacks as the hike climbs upward, offering ever-opening views of Linville Gorge’s rugged beauty. (Please don’t shortcut the trail’s switchbacks, as others have done: the trail winding path was purposely designed to help prevent erosion on Table Rock’s lower elevations.) The hike passes a trail intersection at .3 mile, veering right and diving through dense rhododendron to continue the climb to the summit.

The hike courses through more switchbacks, veering right at a second trail intersection at .5 mile. After passing beneath a sharply-angled rock outcrop, abundant views suddenly open as the trail summits the mountain.

The hike climbs to a wide expanse of exposed granite at the peak, capped with the stone foundation an old summit structure. The surrounding views are stunning, opening up in 360-degree panoramas of Linville Gorge. Looking north, Hawksbill Mountain rises near the gorge rim, and the far-distant tumbling waterfalls at Linville Falls can be seen near the horizon.

Table Rock Mountain NC

A scramble over the mountain’s fractured, boulder-strewn landscape offers views of Shortoff Mountain to the south, the Linville River far below to the west, and a rolling, green landscape to the east. The summit’s rocky, rough terrain requires some careful hiking to navigate – but the views are incredible and ever-changing from every angle.

Departing the summit, the trail traces its steps back to the trailhead. Mid-descent, the hike veers right at 1.25 miles to explore a short stretch of trail leading to Little Table Rock Mountain. There’s a campsite here, near the summit, and wide-open views of the nearby Chimneys rock formations as well. The hike re-traces back to the main trail, making a final descent to the trailhead, and completing the adventure at 1.8 miles.

More Linville Gorge hiking adventures

Up for more view-packed adventures in the gorge? To the north, hike to a jagged, view-packed summit on the Hawksbill Mountain Trail, a perfect place to catch a gorgeous sunrise or sunset over the gorge. Or head south to hike the Shortoff Mountain Trail, another view-packed summit hike with breathtaking vistas. You’ll catch gorgeous views of Table Rock from the summit, as well as gorgeous panoramic views of the nearby Lake James to the south.

Across the gorge, the Linville River tumbles in a beautiful series of waterfalls. Hike the Linville Falls Trail to waterfall views from three overlooks, and catch stunning views of the gorge’s northern stretches. And for an even better, up-close view of the falls, hike the Linville Falls Plunge Basin Trail to a falls-side overlook, and then trek to the Linville Gorge floor to a deep pool below the waterfall.

(What is Wilderness, and why is it important? Read more in our guide to Wilderness areas in the Southeast.)


Table Rock Mountain 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 (8 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. Trailhead access is via gravel Forest Service roads. Love the trail? Please consider a donation to Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards to help support their outstanding work in the Linville Gorge Wilderness.


GPS Coordinates

35.886783, -81.884833     //     N35 53.207 W81 53.090

Elevation Profile

Table Rock Mountain: Elevation Profile
 
 
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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.