Linville Falls

This March we visited Linville Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in North Carolina, during the 2012 Banff Film Festival in Boone (the inspirational film festival trailer can be seen here).   The falls are located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at mile marker 316.  There is a visitor’s center and a short hiking trail (about .8 miles) to the falls.

Water Swirls Around Ancient Stone

The closest viewing area shows the upper falls (not pictured here) in one direction, and beginning part of the lower falls in the other direction.  The photos above and below show the beginning part of the lower falls.  The lower falls churn through a cavernous semi-circle of eroded limestone, and then plummet about 45 feet into a large pool.  

Water Diverted in a Semi-Circle Above Linville Falls

“Chimney Rock Overlook” can be seen from the upper viewing area, as highlighted in the photo to the right.  From Chimney Rock Overlook, you can see the lower falls in their entirety, as well as the large cliffs that surround the falls and mark the beginning of the Linville Gorge.  

Highlighting the Overlooks Shows the Scale of these Falls

 The cliff face next to the lower falls is as impressive as the falls themselves.  When we viewed the falls, there was a relatively large volume of water flowing.  This caused the falls to jettison outward from the upper pool.

Linville Falls is a very popular stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway (the parking lot at the visitor center is huge), so it is recommended that if you want to visit the falls without hordes of tourists, you should try to see them during less visited times of year such as in spring or winter, or during the middle of the week. 

The viewing areas were built in a manner to try to fit into the natural surroundings and are constructed of stone and logs.  When they are wet, it is possible they could be treacherous.  In particular, the Chimney Rock overlook could be dangerous if someone got too close to the edge of the viewing area, as a fall from that location could be fatal. 

The Linville Gorge is one of the deepest gorges in the Eastern United States.  I have seen claims that it is in fact the deepest, but there are several others that are comparable (including the Russell Fork Gorge in Southwest Virginia).  Suffice it to say that it is deep and impressive.  Experienced hikers have become disoriented and lost in this place.

Linville Falls from Chimney Overlook

 

The Linville Gorge reminded me of the gorge below Abrams Falls close to Abingdon, although without doubt the Linville Gorge is much deeper and longer. 

If you find yourself in Boone, Blowing Rock, or on the Blue Ridge Parkway in this neighborhood, a trip to Linville Falls makes for a nice day trip and provides a nice little outdoor experience without too much effort.

Peering into Linville Gorge
Advertisements

One thought on “Linville Falls”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s