Gorgeous Linville Falls in Western North Carolina

The Western North Carolina wilderness seems to bring forth one incredible natural wonder after another. The breathtaking sights seem to never end. This section of the state is loaded with incredible waterfalls (over 250 to be exact), and every single one is worthy of a visit. As it would be difficult to see more than a few during a single visit, it is best to focus your attention on the most spectacular, easily accessible falls in the region. Linville Falls is located along the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Parkway, nicknamed “America’s Favorite Drive,” spans 2 states for a total of 469 miles. Linville Falls is located just an hour north of Asheville at Parkway Milepost 316. This is easily one of the most beautiful spots along the North Carolina portion of the drive, and thus, one of the must-do daytrips from Asheville.

Beautiful views of the Lower portion of Linville Falls in Western North Carolina

Because of its’ immense beauty and easy accessibility, this is (understandably) one of the more popular waterfalls in the state. Fortunately, there is a pretty big parking lot. And, the beautiful setting makes any inconvenient crowding well worth it the end. As everyone hikes at different paces, the trail is not nearly as crowded as you would expect looking at the full parking lot.

Not only is the waterfall itself gorgeous, but the drive over from Asheville is quite beautiful as well.

Linville Falls

An upclose look at Linville Falls in Western North Carolina

Linville Falls is a multiple tiered waterfall with a combined height around 150 feet. The hike is slightly challenging and uphill at certain points. Nothing too strenuous, however, you will definitely get your workout in (and more) for the day. The nice thing about this trail is that there are several lookout points, so the trail feels much shorter. Each lookout is spaced out, and thus, you get to enjoy a much needed break in between various hiking sessions. In total, you will hike about a mile and a half if you visit all 4 overlooks. Of course, you can turn around at any point for a shorter, less vigorous hike.

The tall trees lining the trail immediately transport you into a complete nature wonderland. The forest consists of white pines, hemlock, oak-hickory, and birch trees. Really, despite heavy foot traffic, this trail really is a wonderful trek through the woods and the scenery is so woodsy and peaceful.

Hiking to Linville Falls in Western North Carolina
Gorgeous woodsy views along the entire trek. There is plenty of shade so this one is doable even on the hottest of summer days.

The Upper Falls

View of Upper Falls portion of Linville Falls in Western North Carolina

The first stop along the trail will take you to a viewing area for the Upper falls. A beautiful sight, although the views get even more grand the further you continue on. The hike to this first overlook is about half a mile from the visitor’s center and fairly easy.

Chimney View overlook

Gorgeous scenery via the Chimney View overlook along the Linville Falls trail in Western North Carolina

Continue on another 3/10 of a mile or so to the Chimney View overlook. This portion of the hike is short, yet strenuous due to the uphill nature. Take your time and continue on for the fabulous view. The 45 foot tall lower falls can be seen at this point.

Gorge view overlook

A scenic view of the Linville River from the Linville Falls trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway

At this point, you will be treated to a prime view of the beautiful Linville River winding its’ way through the Gorge.

The Lower Falls (Erwins View)

Erwins viewpoint along the gorgeous Linville Falls trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Continue on to the last viewpoint, the tremendous Erwin’s View. From here, there is a breathtaking 360 degree view of the gorge, and both the Upper and Lower Falls. This Lower portion is super voluminous which makes for a truly impressive sight. However, even more incredible is the beautiful woodsy scenery surrounding every inch of the waterfall. This area, known as the Linville Gorge Wilderness, encompasses over 11,000 acres and is the third largest wilderness region in the state.

A few more gorgeous views of the falls and the Linville Gorge

Hiking Details

  • Location: Milepost 316.4 Spruce Pine, NC. Parking is free.
  • Difficulty: Moderate due to several steep sections
  • Distance: About 1.5 miles in total
  • Dogs welcome: Yes. Must be leashed

Note: There is not much in the way of dining in this area. I recommend enjoying breakfast in Asheville prior to setting off. Here are a few hotspots to check out.

Where to eat breakfast in Asheville

Green Sage Cafe – Health conscious cafe serving a mostly plant-based menu. Everything is organic, freshly prepared, and gmo-free. Try the Pure Vida bowl.

Biscuit Head – Trendy place which serves biscuits “as big as a cat’s head” Try with a gravy flight or mix and match flavors from a self service jam bar. Vegan and gluten-free biscuits available. On the downside, this place is incredibly popular with a line often forming right after opening.

Moose Cafe – Popular with the locals, this country style restaurant serves up a popular $10 all-you-can-eat special. Endless scrambled eggs, biscuits and jam, bacon, and potato casserole are on the lineup. Cute interior with lots of moose and country decor. Not the highest quality food in town, but affordable with a nice relaxed vibe, so perfect pre-hike. Located right next door to the Western North Carolina farmers market.

All-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at Moose Cafe in Asheville, NC