Located about 55 miles northeast of Asheville NC at milepost 316.4, Linville Falls is perhaps the most famous of the many waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
The waterfall’s popularity is largely due to the ease with which it can be reached.
But it also offers amazing geological formations, a spectacular three-tiered dance down to Linville Gorge, and of course the equally attractive neighboring natural attractions.
At the base of Linville Falls you’ll find the 11,786-acre Linville Gorge, which is sometimes called “the Grand Canyon of North Carolina.”
South of the waterfalls, the Linville River quickly drops nearly 2000 feet over the next 13 miles.
Linville Falls is also part of the protected areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and it’s surrounded by the Grandfather District of Pisgah National Forest.
In other words, visiting Linville Falls can (and should) be about much more than chasing waterfalls. This region abounds with natural wonders, not to mention top-notch hiking trails and accommodation options.
Read on for our in-depth guide to visiting Linville Falls NC, including an overview of the area’s best activities and attractions as well as Linville Falls campgrounds, RV parks, and cabin rentals.
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Linville Falls Info
ADDRESS: Blue Ridge Parkway – Milepost 316.4
OFFICE HOURS: Daily May-Oct, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
ENTRY FEES: None
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: National Park Service
The most beautiful (albeit slightly longer) way to reach Linville Falls is to travel the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just look for Milepost 316.4 and follow the signs for Linville Falls. Otherwise…
From Asheville: Take I-40 E towards Statesville. After 19 miles, use Exit 72 to get onto US-70 E towards Old Fort. Follow US-70 E for 11 miles and merge onto US-221 N. At about 21 miles, take a right onto NC-183, go a little over a half-mile, and get on Old NC Hwy 105. Linville Falls is on the left.
From Boone: Take NC-105 S for 28 miles and start looking for Old NC-105. Take a sharp left onto Old NC-105, and you’ll see a parking area on the left in 1/10th of a mile.
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CAMPGROUNDS, RV PARKS & CABINS IN LINVILLE FALLS NC
When you’re exploring outdoor adventures in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it always helps to have a comfortable and stimulating place to stay.
There are several quality Linville Falls campgrounds to check out, as well as great options for cabin rentals, for those who prefer more upscale amenities in their overnight accommodations.
Linville Falls Campground
Located just down the road from the Linville Falls Visitor Center, the official Linville Falls Campground run by the Park Service has 39 individual campsites, 25 of which are first-come, first-serve.
The Linville River-adjacent campground can accommodate RVs (with no hook-ups), as well as tent campers. There are communal flush toilets, fire rings and picnic tables at each site.
Linville Gorge Campsites
For those who like it truly rustic and secluded, the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area offers individual campsites (with no facilities) on both the east and west rims of the canyon.
While camping at them does require a permit, it is free. The Linville Gorge campgrounds has a strict Leave No Trace policy, and no amenities are available at these sites.
Bathroom business must be buried at least six inches deep, and 100 feet from water.
Evidence of fires, which are discouraged, should be covered. All litter has to be packed out.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Campgrounds in the North Carolina Mountains
Linville Falls Campground, RV Park & Cabins
In the village of Linville Falls, there’s a private campground that offers full hookup RV sites as well as 10 log cabins for rent.
Unlike the Linville Falls Campgrounds, this facility has a shower, laundry room, and playground.
While not an official park site, it’s just a couple of miles from the Linville Falls Visitor Center and Linville Gorge.
The campsites here still have the classic camping feel, with picnic tables, fire rings, and grills. The grounds have lots of trees, and there’s a camp store on-site for basic camping and hiking essentials.
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Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages
For travelers in search of “rustic” more as a spirit rather than an amenity-free reality, Linville Falls Lodge & Cottages are considerably more upscale. Think mints on pillows and covered decks.
The lodge has nine private rooms for rent, and there are five free-standing cottages as well.
The lodge’s office dates back to 1915, and was originally the creation of acclaimed artist Warren Wheelock. The property was bought and further developed back in the 1930s.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Hotels & Cabin Rentals in NC
Best Linville Falls Attractions
Linville Falls Trails
Trailheads for the various Linville Falls hiking trails are located at the Linville Falls Visitor Center.
From here, hikers can descend into the gorge via the Linville Gorge Trail and/or Plunge Basin Trail to see the waterfalls from the base.
Or they can cross over the Linville River via the Erwins View Trail for vistas of the waterfalls from above.
All of these Linville Falls hikes are short, and never more than a couple of miles round-trip.
However, hiking to Linville Falls does require some fitness due to the elevation gains, particularly coming back up from the depths of Linville Gorge.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Pisgah National Forest Waterfalls to Explore
Linville Gorge Wilderness Area
The Linville Gorge Wilderness Area occupies around 12,000 acres of land in the Pisgah National Forest.
Due to the rugged terrain and steep slopes, the area was largely spared from the deforestation of logging. So it still has a unique, impressive stand of old-growth forest.
Trails in the Linville Gorge are accessed by two rather rugged roads that skirt along the rims of the canyon.
Popular sites to visit include iconic North Carolina mountains such as Wiseman’s View, Table Rock Mountain, Hawksbill Mountain, and Shortoff Mountain.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Pisgah National Forest Hiking Trails in North Carolina
A popular tourist attraction since the 1930s, Linville Caverns is located at the foot of Humpback Mountain
The place is rich with Appalachian history: The cave walls have graffiti that dates back to the Civil War, when it was used as a hideout by soldiers and deserters alike.
Linville Caverns is the only remaining active show cavern in the state.
Most other North Carolina caves and caverns have been shut down due to outbreaks of white-nose syndrome in bats.
Here visitors can see notable rock formations such as flowstone, stalactites, and stalagmites, as well as the aforementioned graffiti.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Overlooks in NC & VA
Linville Falls Winery
Located about 6 miles north of the Linville Gorge, Linville Falls Winery is a family-owned 40-acre vineyard and Christmas Tree Farm.
Jack Wiseman pioneered wine-making in the Blue Ridge Mountains of NC, and is hoping to hand the reins over to his grandchildren.
The winery is open daily from noon to 5:00 pm, offering wine by the glass, bottle, or flight.
In season, there are often food trucks from nearby restaurants on-site. The winery’s gift shop also has artisan cheese, crackers, and jams available for purchase as wine accompaniments.
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Linville Falls, the waterfall, is obviously the main attraction when visiting the small town of Linville Falls.
However, there are several other notable Western North Carolina waterfalls nearby.
Duggers Creek is located less than a half-mile from the Linville Falls Visitor Center. It features a lovely 10-foot waterfall in a beautiful, hidden cove.
A little further afield, Crabtree Falls makes for a spectacular sight, with a 70-foot plunge over a rock wall and a wonderful 2.6-mile trail.
Tom’s Creek Falls is another highlight, offering a short hike (0.8 miles round-trip) and a big waterfall (60 feet).
READ MORE: The 20 Best Blue Ridge Parkway Hikes for NC Day Trips
Other Attractions Near Linville Falls
When you visit Linville Falls, there are numerous of the most famous North Carolina attractions that can be reached in under an hour:
- Grandfather Mountain State Park (15 miles) is the home of a landmark mountain for the region and offers great, though strenuous hikes. There’s also a privately-owned paid attraction with a mile-high swinging bridge, zoo, and more hiking trails.
- Mount Mitchell (40 miles) is the highest elevation east of the Rockies, making it one of the most popular climbs/hikes in the area.
- The Roan High Mountains at Carver Gap (40 miles) offers one of the best hikes on the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. There’s a good 10 miles of hiking (5 in either direction from the parking lot) through high elevation meadows.
- Tweetsie Railroad (30 miles) is a Wild West theme park that has an old steam train, as well as amusement rides, live shows, and the Deer Park Zoo. Tweetsie is near the tourist-friendly towns of Boone and Blowing Rock.
- The Jonas Ridge Snow Tubing Park is one of the best places for snow tubing in North Carolina. It’s a family-friendly place with supplemental man-made snow, and it’s just 4.6 miles from Linville Falls.
- The Alpine village of Little Switzerland NC (20 miles) is open between mid-April and mid-November. This charming mountain town has lots of fun stuff, including the Emerald Village gem mines and the Switzerland General Store. –by Jonathon Engels