View Full Version : Directions from Elizabethton

02-26-2011, 21:55
I have been getting a little bored hiking my usual hikes on the AT around Hampton/Watauga Dam so today I decided to drive over to Linville Gorge. I just google mapped it and took the closest route which was to Linville falls. I'd never been there before but I wanted to get a look at the gorge. Got a glimpse but the section near the falls is mostly heavy traffic from the Blue Ridge parkway travelers, it seemed, and there wasn't much trail. So I went back on the net and looked at the other side and saw that the MST runs right through the length of it. I saw an opinion that said it was the nicest part of the MST, too, so I'd like to find some driving directions to the nearest point to get on the trail. Any help appreciated.

Tennessee Viking
02-26-2011, 23:07
The MST at Linville Gorge is at the very end of the Kistler Memorial Highway. I never visited that section of it. I have only hiked the Plunge Pool trail and Babel Tower down to the river into the Wilderness.

Some easier trail heads for Linville Gorge are at Woodlawn Park on US221 going toward Marion NC. Shortoff Mtn is a killer though. Another is the Ripshin Ridge-Greentown trailhead on NC 181 (just below Upper Creek Falls & BarkHouse Rec Areas). This section is long downhill to Upper Creek then follows an old railroad grade. Just head to Newland then Pineola and go toward Morganton on NC 181. There is forest road (496) across from the trailhead that the MST follows. There is a turnout/campsite where the trail turns off.

You follow the Table Rock forest road if you don't mind a STEEP drive, you can access it at Table Rock. The MST crosses the road just before Outward Bound.

You can also drive the forest roads to the Harper Creek area from Ripshin Ridge. But its a long drive.

My all time fav section is Roseborough. Take Roseborough Road from Linville, cross the parkway, and head down the mountain. The trail crosses the small bridge (large parking area). The trail is on the north side of the creek, follow it downstream to a number of waterfalls and cascades. You will get WET...

Just get a Linville Gorge Nat Geo map. There are some other good little maps of it at Mast Store. Also, Trails of Boone NC and Wilson Creek trails.

Also, check out my friends' sites:

He only has Google profile maps for the mountains right now, and only has a couple maps published for Falls Lake and Eno River.

Taba has a MST guidebook for sale at www.thru-hiker.us. He is currently walking the MST for the 4th time.

Allen deHart wrote the original guide. Some of the decriptions and trail routes have changed since then.

02-27-2011, 22:41
Here's a nice overview and map. Not much detail, get that from a forest map.

02-28-2011, 12:10
Thanks. Anyone know if that road that goes down the left hand side of the map is paved or not? Also, is there a sign where the MST crosses the road?

02-28-2011, 13:18
The west side is the Kistler Highway otherwise known as old hwy 105 and it is not paved (4 wheel drive needed. There is no sign where the MST crosses at the Pinnacle. Beautiful area. To get to Table Rock and Hawks Bill area from the east side from Linville follow hwy 181 south towards Morganton and just past hwy 183 turn right at the sign at Ginger Cake Acres. Paved a little ways and then dirt.
Here is a great site with waypoints and maps. http://www.linvillegorge.net/mapindex.php (http://www.linvillegorge.net/mapindex.php)

Picture of lake James from the pinnacle

03-08-2011, 18:06
I picked up the NatGeo map of the area with Mt. Mitchell included. I was planning on trying to check it out sometime this week. It's spring break. Also, getting ready to start tackling the SB6K and that includes Mt. Mitchell.