Linville Gorge Wilderness: Hawksbill and Table Rock Day Hike -Strenuous

  • May 3 · 8:00 AM

Linville Gorge Wilderness: Hawksbill and Table Rock


Designated by Congress in 1964, the Linville Gorge Wilderness has a total of 11,786 acres, all located in North Carolina.

From its headwaters high on Grandfather Mountain, the powerful Linville River patiently carves the rugged, steep-walled gorge that encloses it for approximately 12 miles. Within the gorge, the river drops a dramatic 2,000 feet before leveling out in the Catawba Valley.  

The gorge's rim extends 3,400 feet, compared to the river's average of 2,000 feet. Plant communities range from lichens and shrubs on the cliffs to laurel and rhododendron along the riverbanks. In some spots, the gorge shelters stands of virgin timber.


This hike will start with the short but steep trail up to the spectacular views provided by Hawksbill. The trail winds through rhododendron and mountain laurel tunnels, then opens up to the sky. Table mountain pines and serviceberry shrubs populate the cracks and crevices of the rock outcroppings. From the top there are great views of Linville Gorge, Table Rock, Shortoff Mt and Lake James. This is an out and back trail 1.4 miles in length with elevation change of 700 ft.

Next we will drive a bit farther down the road to Table Rock and the Chimneys.This too is an out and back hike of 4.1miles and an elevation change of 700 ft. If we are lucky we may be able to find examples of the mountain golden heather, a small shrub found only among a few high rocks in this area of NC. It is on the federal list of threatened species. From the top there are more 360-degree views of surrounding Mt. and Linville Gorge. The next section of the hike to the Chimneys takes us through columns of pancake rocks. These columns are made up of flat layers of hard quartzite stacked on top of each other. When the softer rock around them eroded the Chimneys remained.


Please wear hiking shoes and bring plenty of water, lunch or snacks and rain gear. Trekking poles or walking sticks will be helpful. All participants on Sierra Club outings are required to sign a standard liability waiver. For more information contact Kathy Rigsbee @ [masked] or [masked]

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  • Fiammetta

    Kathy and Dave you are both great photographers!!

    May 4

  • Dave

    Fabulous pics, Kathy!

    1 · May 4

    • Kathy R.

      Thanks, I love seeing others perspective. Great pics to you too!

      2 · May 4

  • Dave

    A really special hike today! The views from the peaks of Linville Gorge were absolutely stunning, and the company couldn't have been better. I just have to say it again -- Wow! Uploading the first batch of photos from our 1st two legs now -- rest to follow.

    Stats:
    Distance: 6.1 miles
    Total Elev. gain: 1,790 ft
    Min Elev: 3,304
    Max Elev: 4,028
    Hike time: 4hrs 38min

    1 · May 3

    • Kathy R.

      I love that you have the stats for the hike!

      1 · May 4

  • Cara Y.

    I agree with all comment below. Great hike! Great company! Great views!
    Thanks to Kathy for organizing and to Dave for taking/posting great pics!

    1 · May 4

  • Kathy R.

    What a great day! And the word of the day was WOW! Amazing views and a good group of people to share it with.

    1 · May 4

  • JOHN D.

    Great photography Dave!

    2 · May 4

  • JOHN D.

    It was a little rocky and you had to watch your footing but not a difficult hike at overall.

    1 · May 4

  • NC Sierra Club Foothills G.

    Spectacular hike! I can't really say enough good about the day. A job well done by our outings leader, Kathy. Thank you!

    May 3

  • Dave

    If anyone from Winston-Salem wants to carpool, I plan on being at the location suggested by Kathy in her e-mail -- Centre Stage at Jonestown Road shopping center near the Burger King. We'll need to leave from there by 7:40 in order to meet-up with the rest of the group at the Sheetz in Yadkinville on Hwy 601 at US-421. Can't wait!

    May 2

    • JOHN D.

      Dave, I can meet you at centre Stage at 07:30 tomorrow morning.

      May 2

  • Renee

    Where is the exact meet-up location?

    April 28

  • NC Sierra Club Foothills G.

    I'm very excited to be able to join you for this hike! So glad you found another leader for all on the waiting list.

    April 26

  • Belinda L.

    I need to give up my spot, Kathy, since I have hosting duties with another Meetup group that day which will begin before this one would end..hate to miss but perhaps this will negate your having to have another leader (I'd love to help with that at another time.)

    April 19

    • Kathy R.

      Sorry it didn't work out this time.

      April 20

  • Kathy R.

    I'm trying to find another outings leader for this trip so we can break up into 2 groups. Wilderness areas limit group size to 10 so hang in there!

    April 19

  • Belinda L.

    Kathy, where would be the meeting spot to begin the hike & although I know it's hard to pinpoint ending times for a variety of reasons, can you approximate that?

    April 13

  • JOHN D.

    Looking forward to this hike!!

    1 · April 10

  • Bill G.

    This is a great hike. Wish I could make it.

    April 10

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