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Hiking From the Linville Falls Visitor Center

Efficient Admin (aka Michelle) has been hiking for eight years on the wonderful mountain trails of North Carolina and South Carolina.

Views of Linville Falls, North Carolina

View of the Linville Falls from the Plunge Basin overlook

View of the Linville Falls from the Plunge Basin overlook

View of the Linville Falls from the Plunge Basin overlook

View of the Linville Falls from the Plunge Basin overlook

Linville Gorge area of North Carolina is a rugged area maintained by the National Park Service and is located off of Milepost 316 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are many trails to hike in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, however only experienced hikers should attempt to hike on most of these trails because of the strenuous nature and ruggedness of the terrain. The easiest trails I have hiked in this rugged area are the trails around the Visitor Center.

Linville Falls Visitor Center

Warrior Lane

Jonas Ridge, NC 28752

From the website, an overview map of the Linville Falls area.

From the website, an overview map of the Linville Falls area.


There is a large parking lot next to the Visitor Center for cars and a few spots for RVs, and when capacity is reached, I have seen cars parked along both sides of the road going into this park.

Visitor Center

The visitor center offers the history of the area and also has a gift shop. The bathrooms (flush toilets) are located here as well.

Hiking Trails

There are several hiking trails which you can access from the Visitor Center and there is a large map of all the trails at the front door.

Erwin’s View Trail

Round trip is about 1.6 miles. This trail has four overlooks/views of waterfalls and there is some elevation involved. Wear some sturdy footwear so you can navigate a few rocks and tree roots along the way. Also be prepared to go up and down stone stairs along the way. If you are a beginner hiker and don’t exercise that much, this trail can be a good workout. This is one of the most popular trails and can get very crowded. The number of people on this trail is high because it is the one that all the tourists, as well as beginner and seasoned hikers alike, choose to hike.

The first overlook is about 0.5 miles from the visitor center and here you can see how the Linville River spills over the upper falls. The next overlook is Chimney View which is 0.7 miles from visitor center. This is the first point where the lower falls can be seen. You can photograph both upper and lower falls at this point.

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At the Gorge View Overlook, you can see the Linville River meandering through the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area.

At the Erwin’s View Overlook, which is 0.8 miles from the visitor center, you can see a panoramic view of the Linville Gorge and a distant view of the upper and lower falls.

Dugger's Creek Loop Trail

A very nice and pleasant walk in the woods that offers a few awesome rock formations and a small waterfall along the way. There is a small creek crossing at the end of the trail. This is a short and easy trail that offers serenity and a nice walk in the woods.

Plunge Basin Overlook

A short hike to an overlook of the Linville Falls, which you can access from the Plunge Basin Trail.

Plunge Basin Trail

About 1.4 miles round trip. This trail will take you all the way to the bottom of the Linville Falls. It is a steep climb down with stone and wood stairs, and then remember you must come back up. I do not consider myself a strong / power hiker, but I did good with this trail. Elevation is about 500. Take your time and enjoy the view going down and then back up, and stop for water breaks as needed. The view is just incredible at the base of this waterfall and is well worth the effort. Keep in mind that swimming in the Linville River and climbing on the rocks is dangerous and not allowed.

Words and photos do not do justice how awesome it is to be at the bottom of the Linville Falls. Following is a good video of what it would be like to hike to the bottom. The video does not cover the elevation and the climbing back up, so keep that in mind.

Hiking on the Plunge Basin Trail to the bottom of Linville Falls

Thank you for reading this article and I hope you will get a chance to visit and hike all the trails at the Linville Falls Visitor Center in beautiful North Carolina.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Michelle Dee


Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on June 14, 2020:

Liz Westwood and Miebakagh Fiberesima, thank you for your comments and for reading and glad you enjoyed! Stay safe!

Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on June 14, 2020:

Hello FlourishAnyway, hope you have been doing well and staying safe! I have been outside on a few trails and try to go to places where there are not many people. This trail mentioned here is always packed so I will avoid it for now!

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on June 07, 2020:

Michille, thanks for sharing. This is better experienced. Enjoy the week.

Liz Westwood from UK on June 04, 2020:

This is a very well-illustrated and well-presented article. You have produced a great guide to Linville Falls.

FlourishAnyway from USA on June 04, 2020:

This is really a beautiful trail. Both your photos and descriptions are inviting. I hope you have been able to visit this lovely place during the pandemic to get some good exercise and enjoy nature.

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