For those looking to experience a taste of what the Linville Gorge has to offer, we have two recommendations on short hikes that end in great views. Get started by heading to Linville Falls, which can be accessed by a moderately steep 1-mile hike to the top of the two-tiered Linville Falls. An additional .5-mile hike leads to an overlook of the falls and is well worth the effort. This spectacular waterfall drops more than 60 feet and the multiple different viewpoints allow visitors to get right next to the falls to hear the sound of the powerful falls as it plunges downstream, and also view it from a distance to see the natural beauty of the wilderness setting. After the Falls, a short drive down the gravel road takes visitors to the Wiseman’s View Overlook where long-range views of the Linville Gorge offer great vantages of Shortoff Mountain, Table Rock, and Hawksbill Mountain. The area is a popular viewing location for the Brown Mountain Lights, an unexplained phenomenon that has been drawing visitors to the area for nearly a century in hopes of seeing the flickering and phantasmagorical light show.
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Directions from Boone: Take 105 S and follow for 17 miles to Linville to a right onto Hwy 221 S. Follow for 10.5 miles to the town of Linville Falls. Take a left before crossing under the Blue Ridge Parkway onto Hwy 183. Follow for .8 mile to Old 105/Kistler Memorial Highway and the Linville Gorge entrance on right. Parking for Linville Falls is immediately on the left, while a visitor’s center with maps and info is on the right .2 mile in. Continue on Old 105/Kistler Memorial Highway for roughly 4 miles.