Sunday, June 24, 2012

Linville Gorge - The Falls

THE FALLS AT LINVILLE GORGE (updated 11/17/13)

We ventured to the Gorge on a rainy Sunday because the Gorge had been on fire all week and we wanted, no feared, to see the damage.  We encountered smoke.....and fog....but still have no idea of the extent of the damage done by the Table Rock Wildfire.

We decided to trek to the Linville Falls....and enjoyed the overcast rainy walk to see the Upper Falls.....then the trudge up the hill to Chimney View, but on the way we got a glimpse of the Linville River before the big plunge

It is amazing how calm the river is as it flows toward the falls....deceptively calm. 


On the way down to the overlook, we got a view along the trail of the left side of the twin upper falls.  It was the first time I noticed that it was a double falls.

At the overlook I got some great pics of the Upper Falls.  And a pic of the rapids as the river flows to the Lower Falls.

It amazes me how gentle the river flows to the Lower Falls....into a very narrow channel that roars. 

We trudged up the hill to the Chimney View overlook, for the very best view of the falls....peaking around the tree we can see both the Upper and Lower Falls.

The Lower Falls close up reveals how magnificent this creation of God is.... an incredible sight.

Looking up the river from the Falls, the Linville River returned to a calm flowing river.....but think about it...the Falls are at 2900 foot elevation.....the same elevation as Table Rock wonder the river becomes a series of rapids as it flows through the Gorge to Lake James.

On the way out we stopped a the Riverbend Overlook and I captured two great shots of the Linville River upstream from the falls.

LINVILLE FALLS in the Summer

My favorite area of the Blue Ridge is the Linville Gorge Wilderness area.  The Gorge offers many varied scenery and hiking opportunities.   One of the most scenic and accessible venues in the Gorge are the Falls.  There are two access points to the falls, the most popular is off the Blue Ridge Parkway at the 316.4 mile marker were a visitor's center is located.  But the easiest access is off Highway 181 from Morganton via NC 183.  Follow the signs to a parking lot on the backside of the park.  From both points there is easy access to the Falls.  The trail from the back parking lot is a 1/2 mile trek down a wide well maintained trail to the lower falls overlook.  This area is heavily visited so be prepared to share the trail and the view with vacationing families of all shapes and sizes.

If you are not aware of the lower falls, the upper falls are a bit disappointing.....but the falls mark the beginning of the Linville Gorge, named after William Linville, a early settler who with his son lost his life to a Cherokee raiding party while exploring the Gorge.

The Linville River flows into a narrow channel as it is forced between boulders increasing its flow to a rapid torrent.  Only when you hike 1/2  mile up from the upper falls overlook  to the Chimney Rock over look do you discover the magnificence of the Falls at Linville Gorge.

The trail is wide and well maintained but deceptively steep.  The Chimney Rock overlook is at the bottom of a nice stairway and though not very big provides the best view and photograph locale for the falls.   In the picture above you can see both the upper and lower falls. You also can see people hiking along the river banks who have gained access to the falls from trails leading from the visitors center.

Another 1/2 mile up from Chimney Rock is Erwin Rock overlook.  This overlook provides an panoramic view of the falls with the green backdrop of the gorge.  The effects of acid rain is very noticeable in this area of the gorge as native spruce trees are dying everywhere.  The Linville Gorge Wilderness area has never been timbered so you are viewing the gorge and the falls very much the same as it has always been

The Fat Bald White Guy rates the Falls at Linville Gorge at:   8

                                                            Access                     8
                                                            Scenery                    9
                                                            Trails                        5

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