Linville Gorge Wilderness

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The Linville Gorge has got everything you could ever want in a wilderness area: quality climbing, hiking, and trail running as well as stunning beauty.

Written by

Jordan Dowdy

Destination Distance From Downtown

43.7 miles


3 of 5 diamonds


Time To Complete

Full day


For serious climbers as well as back-country hikers and campers, Linville Gorge Wilderness is one of Western North Carolina's absolute must-dos. 
For climbing, Linville gorge is one of the South East's most revered destinations. There are several climbing areas within the gorge that offer everything from top roping to multi-pitched classics like The Daddy, which is 5-6.  Anything in the gorge is going to provide a whole day of diverse, excellent climbing. Though most of Linville is centered around traditional climbing, there's also a lot of really excellent bouldering being developed at the base along the river, which is particularly nice in the summer when the area's higher elevation and close proximity to wind and water make it cool and pleasant. 
As for hiking and backpacking/camping, there are 39 trails of varying lengths and intensity, including a section of North Carolina's Mountains to Sea Trail. While there are access points along both the east and west rims, you'll first need to stop by the Forest Service Ranger Station in Nebo if you're planning to camp during the summer weekends when permits are required. You can stealth camp without a fee, but the established pay-sites along the rim and around the Jonas Ridge parking lot are good choices for those not familiar with the area. This is one of the most rugged, wild tracts in North Carolina, and there have been reports of people getting lost. Don't let this scare you; just exercise a bit of caution and reap the rewards of experiencing a truly remote and beautiful place. 

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Linville Gorge Wilderness

35.922349, -81.906499

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