Linville Falls Hiking

Yesterday we took a stroll up the mountain to Linville Falls
linville-falls-map
Due to plans afterwards, we didn’t take Lizzy (the dog), however my children and my parents made the 1 hour drive from Black Mountain up to location.
To get there, drive up 221 through Marion and on until you see the ‘Welcome to Linville Falls’.  Continue up a little further until you go under the Blue Ridge Parkway overpass, take a right to get on the on-ramp.  Take a left onto the parkway.  Not more than a mile up the road you’ll see the entrance on the right to the Linville Falls Campground and Falls.  Follow the road approximately 1.4 miles to the Visitor’s Center.

Here is a map that can be obtained at the Linville Falls Visitor’s Center.

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At this point, you have a choice of trails.
The easiest hikes are to the Basin Plunge and the Upper Falls.
The hardest and strenuous hike is to the gorge at the base of the falls.
Hopefully you have a map.  If not, see link above.

Upper Falls and Linville Falls Views:  This hike takes you up to 3 different overlooks.  You’ll walk behind the visitor’s center and across the bridge to take this trail.
The first is moderate hills, but a wide well marked trail that is heavily traveled.   20150718_172657

The first overlook gives you a  beautiful view of the Upper Falls.  There’s a very sturdy wall for visitors to look over and see, but not safe at all to play in the water here as the upper falls move right into the main portion of the Linville Falls.20150718_173756

Continue uphill on the main trail another .3 and .4 miles to see the last 2 overlooks looking over Linville Falls.

The lower trails take you to 2 different views.  To get to these, take a left immediately in front of the Visitor’s Center and walk up the stairs and start on the trail.  Be sure to not take the first left you come to… as that takes you to the back parking lot (yes I made this mistake).  To reach basin plunge, when you get to the next intersection,20150718_170838 you will continue straight.  There are some downhills and stairs, but a small area to look out over the falls.  I don’t recommend a large group do this due to the small size of the area to stand and look.  And honestly, the view isn’t so amazing with the trees growing right in your view, at least that was the case for a short person like me 🙂
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After this, we returned back to the last intersection and turned to head to the gorge.  The trail starts off easy with a slight incline, but after making a sharp turn to the left the trail increases its intensity.  You will walk down stairs and the trail becomes primarily steep rock steps to go up and down and around.  For a decent hiker, this won’t be bad.  But if you struggle with normal stairs or are unsteady on your feet, this will not be easy.  20150718_162759(this picture is where the trail was the easiest with this massive rock wall beside it)
Continue down the steep trail until you reach the water.
Here it is beautiful!  All this hard work… Take a left to see the river itself.  Take a right and you’ll head to a beautiful view of the falls from the base!

My husband, who works for the National Park Service, had warned me prior to going that the water was not good for swimming and was very dirty in comparison to other waterfall areas.  However, there were quite a few adults and kids swimming here.  He also informed me later that this is actually illegal to do, and tickets have been written for offenders in the past years.
So while this was extremely tempting, and I didn’t know all this until after I was there, it is a gorgeous place to see!
20150718_164534And of course, that steep rocky decline to get here was a great set of rocky stairs to get back up to the visitors center!
Great hike!  We only hiked 3.2 miles total between all  3 locations we hiked (We didn’t make it to the top overlooks of the Linville falls)

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