Linville Gorge Field Trip
with Everette Robinson
Linville Morning by Everette Robinson
Directions: Take I-40 East to Exit 85 and turn toward Marion on US 221. Pass through Marion and continue on US 221. Pass Woodlawn, Linville Caverns, and the community of Linville Falls. Continue on US 221 to the Blue Ridge Parkway access, turn onto the Parkway, and head north (left). Cross the Linville River and take the spur road right at the Linville Falls sign. The parking area and visitors center lie at the end of the spur road.
You can also take the Blue Ridge Parkway the entire way from Asheville, maybe checking out the sunrise along the journey, but this route will take substantially more time, probably 2 hours and 15 minutes to 3 hours. Don’t go this way if you’re in a hurry or running behind.
From the parking area we will visit the three closest (and easiest) views of Linville Falls. We will go at a very leisurely pace to make the climb to the upper overlooks as easy as possible. Be advised, however, that this requires a round trip hike of over a mile and a half with an uphill stretch at the end that may be too strenuous for many.
Description: It doesn’t get much better than the Linville Gorge. Often called the Grand Canyon of the East, this is a Mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and photographers. The Upper Falls Overlook features the twin upper waterfall and a great view of the river as it roars into a rock passageway before forming Linville Falls. The Chimney View Overlook provides a close view of Linville Falls and a high view of the Linville Gorge. The Erwin View gives a distant view of the entire Linville Falls.
Rating: Linville Falls-The trail from the parking area leads to the Upper Falls in 0.32 mile (Easy), Chimney View in 0.7 mile (Moderate to Strenuous), and Erwin View in 0.8 mile (Strenuous).
Recommended equipment: A wide-angle lens and medium-level telephoto zoom. Possibly a macro lens for bloom close-ups. Definitely a polarizer, lens hood, and graduated neutral density filters.
Recommended apparel: Hiking boots or tennis shoes with good tread—the trails and overlooks can be very rocky in places. Bring sun screen—the rocks reflect lots of light even on overcast days. As always, be prepared for the possibility of rain with ponchos and protective gear. It’s probably going to be comfortable, but bring a jacket just in case. Mountain and gorge weather can be tricky in mid-May.
Duration: Half-day to see all the overlooks on the west side. There will be an all-day option where we will make choices to also see Dugger Creek Falls (easy), the Plunge Basin Overlook (moderate) or the base of Linville Falls (extremely strenuous).
You’ll probably want to bring a lunch because of the area’s relative isolation. If there are no road closures, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a great way to return home.
Restrictions: There will be a fifteen person cap on this outing. As usual, carpooling is encouraged.