This view overlooks Linville Gorge from Wiseman's View.
Wiseman’s View looking out over the Linville Gorge.

If this photo doesn’t persuade you to visit Linville Gorge right now, then this is not the article for you. There are so many breathtaking moments when you hike in the Linville Falls area.

Located in the Pisgah National Forest Linville Falls is a small community that sees a huge surge of visitors from late spring to early fall when the weather is best. With gorgeous views and a wide variety of hiking, camping, and backpacking options it’s easy to see why so many come here, even from out-of-state.

National Park Service map of the Linville Falls area.
Linville Falls national park service map. Source: National Park Service

So why should you visit Linville Falls? Like I said, there is something there for everyone. Whether you are going as a couple, with a group of friends, as a family with small kids, or a group of experienced backpackers.

Related: 13 Best Places to Visit in North Carolina

They have short, easy hikes and then more difficult ones that take you down to the bottom of the Gorge. There are options to swim, fish, and different camping options. The scenery also varies between the gorge, river, and multiple waterfalls.

I’ll share my itinerary from our Memorial Day Weekend that we spent in this area and the tips I gathered from that trip.

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Tips for Visiting Linville Falls, NC

A picture of the lower falls from the middle of the river at the bottom of the Plunge Basin Trail.
The lower falls from the bottom of the Plunge Basin Trail.
  •  Biggest tip I have: There is NO cell phone service around the Linville Falls Community. Make sure to do your research ahead of time.
  • Related to the first tip, I would either purchase a paper map or download an app like Avenza Maps where you can download different maps to your phone.
  • There are not many hotels in the area, but there are many Bed & Breakfasts and Airbnb options. You can also camp in the park if you’d like and if you decide to do that, then check out this helpful guide on how to plan a camping trip.
  • There are very few restaurants! My recommendation is to plan on some picnics. They can be more fun than a restaurant anyways.
A peanut butter and jelly in the foreground with the rocky Linville River in the background. Lush greenery surrounds everything.
My partially eaten picnic sandwich. This was taken on the Linville River Trail at the bottom of Babel Tower.
  • You can use two different parking lots, one is at the end of Spur Road and is the lot at the National Park Service Visitor’s Center and the other is off of Wiseman’s View Road and is the US Forest Service Lot. The first lot is paved and the other is gravel. You can see them both on the map above.
  • If you plan on going further down Wiseman’s View Road to get to additional trails and Wiseman’s View, then be warned the road is incredibly washed out. We saw small sedans that made it, but I would highly recommend an SUV or truck if you have one.
  • Be sure to take a jacket or sweatshirt especially if you are cold natured. Even in the summer it gets a little chilly at night.
Panoramic view of Hawksbill mountain on the left and table rock on the right. Beautiful sunset colors in the sky.
The view from Wiseman’s at dusk of Hawksbill and Table Rock Mountains is well worth braving the chilly weather.
  • My last tip is to explore the area surrounding Linville Falls! My husband and I took a drive one night to see what else was in the area and stumbled on a few off the beaten path hiking trails that looked awesome. It was already dusk though, so we didn’t have time to check them out.

If you need help with planning what to do on your trip then read my itinerary below for the trip that my husband and I took with my parents!

A Weekend in Linville Falls, NC

Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages sign with pink roses underneath.
The adorable lodge where we stayed for two nights.

Day 1

We started Memorial Day Weekend of 2019 leaving work a little early on Friday headed to the Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages. I did a lot of research on where to stay and these rooms were reasonably priced and less than a mile from the trail heads.

The lodge looks like one of those old-timey motels, but the grounds are so well-kept that it reminds me of one of those little cottages made of rock that you see in a movie set in England. Spring flowers were in full bloom so it was an adorable place to stay and the staff was so friendly.

Corner of the lodge with hanging baskets and evergreen bushes going down the side. The door to the breakfast nook is open with two pots of flowers on either side.
Corner of the lodge where the breakfast nook is located.

Once we got checked in, we headed to Mountain View (now closed) which is a restaurant down in Little Switzerland, about 20 minutes away from the Lodge. The outside doesn’t look like much, but once you go inside and see the view off the deck you realize why it’s so crowded.

It has a gorgeous view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, especially at sunset. There was a small wait for seating on the deck, so we decided to eat inside. If you go here though, I would suggest waiting for a seat outside! I wish that’s what we had done.

Sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains from the deck of Mountain View Restaurant.
This is why you should wait to eat outside.

Once we finished up with supper, we stood out on the deck for a minute enjoying the view. Then we headed to Wiseman’s View to try and see the Brown Mountain Lights.

If you want to learn more about these lights check out this article. They are lights you can see dancing across Brown Mountain and one of the best places to see them are from Wiseman’s View.

Supposedly they are most active in October and November though. But my mom and I think we did see some of them.

Day 2

Saturday morning we got a pretty early start and left the lodge at about 7:30am to have breakfast down at Famous Louise’s Rock House. Out of two restaurants and a general store right there at the intersection, it was the only thing open!

We were pleasantly surprised because the service was quick and the food was great. I had a tenderloin and egg sandwich plus tried my dad’s french toast and it was all great.

French Toast with syrup on a green plate.
French toast from Louise’s Rock House.

After we finished up breakfast we went out to the US Forest Service parking lot and thank goodness we got there early. In the morning around 9am there are much less cars than at 11am.

We started out doing the Upper Falls trail which is one of the easiest and very kid-friendly. I highly recommend this one for young families or those coming with anyone who doesn’t want anything strenuous. If you get there early enough you can have the whole place to yourselves like we did.

Upper Linville Falls overlook showing two small waterfalls flowing into a pool of water.
Upper Falls

Next we went down to the National Park Visitor’s Center to find the bathrooms and stumbled across a map of the area. We decided to do the Plunge Basin and Plunge Basin Overlook trails.

They are more difficult than the Upper Falls trails, but if you’re in decent shape then they’re no problem. Plus they give you a unique view of the falls. I had never done this trail and I thought it was awesome.

Lower Linville Falls flowing into the plunge basin. Rocky outcroppings line the falls.
Lower Falls

You may want to wear some good hiking boots and socks for these trails. Oh, and hiking socks make the perfect gift for outdoorsy women!

After these two trails, we decided to take the Dugger’s Creek Nature Trail, but I’d suggest skipping this one if you’re doing a lot of other hiking in the area. It is a very good trail for kids or folks that tire easily though.

Our last trail in that area was the one that leads up to Chimney View, Erwin’s View, and the Gorge View. Chimney and Erwin’s View give you a birds eye view of the falls. By that time it was very crowded though, so we didn’t spend too much time there.

A bird's eye view of lower Linville Falls.
Erwin’s View

Next we drove up the road a little ways back out to Wiseman’s View to see it in the daytime. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

View over the Linville Gorge of Table Rock.
Table Rock Mountain from Wiseman’s View.
Hawksbill Mountain in the distance.
Hawksbill Mountain from Wiseman’s View.

My parents had to leave that afternoon to go back home, so my husband and I went to Linville Falls Winery. If you are a fan of wine, then I highly recommend this. It’s one of the best wineries in North Carolina!

You can taste either reds, whites and they have a few sweet, fruity wines. I can promise you you should find something you like. They also had a band playing bluegrass music and they have wine slushies!

Linville Falls Winery

We did some exploring after this and found some hidden waterfalls and other hiking trails that we are saving for our next visit. My husband was scouting out fishing holes.

But we were pretty tired and going hiking the next day so we took our bottle of wine back to the room and sat outside and enjoyed the rest of the night.

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Day 3

Our whole last day was spent on one trail: Babel Tower. We packed a picnic, found the trail head, and went on our way. The trail head is past the US Forest Service parking lot but before you get to Wiseman’s View.

It has camping spots right at the top which would be really neat to stay in! It starts off on an easy slope but the trail is much narrower than anything we did the day before.

Rocky section of the Babel Tower trail.
Babel Tower trail toward the bottom.

About one-third of the way down the trail, it started getting steeper. There were some rocky areas and we saw four snakes on the trail.

I was in Chacos and I love them, but if you have hiking boots I definitely recommend those instead. There are some gorgeous views of the gorge, and towards the end you really do see Babel Tower!

If you are debating on purchasing Chacos check out these Chacos vs. Birkentocks Review and Chacos vs. Tevas Review.

The end of Babel Tower intersects with the Linville River Trail that winds along with the river. We walked a little ways down the trail and found a fishing hole. We didn’t catch much so we found a good place for a picnic and nap in our Eno Hammocks (a great gift for hikers).

Teal and blue eno hammock hung between two trees in the shade.
Best napping spot.

The rest was much needed because the hike out was tough. This trail is definitely not for those that tire easily. I’m in decent shape (though I do hate cardio) and I had to stop every five minutes during the steepest parts of the trail.

Just a warning that you should be in good shape if you want to tackle this one! The work was totally worth it though for views like these. Babel Tower is definitely one of my favorite hiking trails in the Southeast.

Small waterfall on the Linville River surrounded by large boulders.
The rocky Linville River.

This is how we spent our weekend in Linville Falls, NC!

We had an awesome time and I highly recommend a visit to this area if you love the outdoors. There are so many different options for the whole family and it’s such a bonding experience when you spend time outside uninterrupted.

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  1. These are excellent tips! I checked out one place outside of Asheboro the other day (Pisgah Covered Bridge, I had never seen it before) and when I went to get directions on how to leave, I had no service! We spent thirty minutes taking backroads just to try to find the highway! I’m definitely going to check out that map on the phone app thanks!

    1. Thanks! Yes, it’s crazy how quick you can lose service out in the mountains. I’ve never heard of the Pisgah Covered Bridge before. I’ll have to put that one on my list!

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