LINVILLE GORGE TRAILS
wilderness of the Linville Gorge is rich in both plant and animal
life. There are five species of rare plants, several varieties of
rhododendron, and virgin forests in the deep coves.
The rugged terrain has always made development difficult, and the
wilderness designation now prevents development in the
gorge. Animal species include deer, bear, squirrel, raccoon, grouse,
turkey, vultures, owls, hawks, as well as brown and rainbow trout.
Hikers should also be wary of copperheads and timber rattlers.
Camping is permitted in the gorge, but permits are required from May
1 through October 31. It is always a good idea to check in with the
rangers and let them know you are going into the gorge. The gorge is
a rugged and wild place and visitors should treat the wilderness
with respect. We highly recommend a stop at the Linville Falls
Visitor Center, open April 15 - November 1 9AM-5PM. The center is
well stocked with maps, and the rangers are a great source of
"inside" information about the gorge. They will gladly treat you to
some great tales about the gorge and the other nearby recreation
Be forewarned, the Linville Gorge Wilderness is one of the most
remote, most rugged geographical locations in the entire Eastern
United States, and in winter this is especially true. Use common
sense regarding weather conditions. Trails within Linville Gorge are
signed at the trailhead, but are not signed or blazed once inside
the wilderness. You should be able to read a topo map and use a
compass. (Hikers, campers, and rock climbers get lost within this
wilderness area annually, and deaths are not uncommon.) Permits are
not required from November through May 1, but backpackers are still
only allowed to stay 3 nights and 2 days. Contact the U.S. Forest
Service office, in Marion, for maps, trailheads, and details. For
more information, call 828-652-2144.