Member Trip report
Linville Gorge loop
Trip Report/Photos from Sodapop44
This hike has everything I want in a great backpacking trip including great views, wildlife (bears), difficult terrain, swimming, sleeping next to a river, and did I mention great views.
I completed the gorge loop Aug 9 - 11. I started at Wolf Pit trailhead around 12 on the 9th and made my way up Wolf Pit to Shortoff. It was hot and still fairly exposed due to the previous fires but there were small areas of shade to take breaks in. I read the reviews and trail descriptions and came prepared for real lack of water but I suppose due to recent rains water was never an issue. The gulley pipe was flowing and the pond had plenty of water if needed. I carried two 2 liter nalgenes and a 0.5 liter bottle for drink mixes. I made it to Saddle Camp and still had water. The views from Shortoff and all along the ridge are fantastic. I filled up at Saddle Camp and proceeded on to Table Rock. The trail moves away from the ridge for a while but once you reach the Chimneys area it opens up and you are on top of the world. I arrived at Table Rock around 5 making camp on the southern side of the parking lot. It was here that a black bear was scraping for food about 25 feet behind my campsite. Didn't bother me or the other campers and was never seen again. I started out the next morning at 7:30 and made my way to the top of Table Rock and hung out for about an hour before beginning my trek down Little Table Rock trail into the gorge. I connected with Spence Ridge trail for the final descent to the old bridge crossing. The water flow/level was safe to cross at 115 cfm/1.5 ft. I waded and rock hopped to get across but saw others swim it with smaller packs. The water was cool and refreshing for sure. I stopped here for lunch and to dry off for a bit before moving on. I struck out heading south on the Linville Gorge trail around 1 and arrived at my camp near Pinch-in around 4. I stopped kinda early when I found a sweet site right on the river bank where the river was wide and calm. This made for a nice cool swim before bed and the sound of the river was great for sleeping. Day three started out around 7:30 and made my way to the Lead Mine trail. This trail is very difficult straight up out of the gorge but well worn and easy to follow. I got off trail for a few minutes just before the MST but luckily had the Avenza map so no worries. I took a short break at the junction with the MST before continuing my trek to the southern river crossing. The MST is in great shape and a very nice walk down to the river. The river crossing was an easy knee high wade and once across has some pretty sweet campsites. I stopped here for another swim and some lunch before making the climb back up Shortoff to the Wolf Pit trail. Shortoff is exposed and it was really hot with no water sources so fill up along MST before crossing the river because there are no more water sources right off the trail. Average high temp was 80 and low was 65. The Linville Gorge is high on my do over list but would probably wait until highs were near 70. Happy to share any additional information if interested.
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