A four-day Veterans Day weekend backpack above and down into the "Grand Canyon of the East," this 22-mile Linville Gorge loop offers a super sampler of the amazing vistas and trailside distractions that the Linville Gorge Wilderness has to offer.
This will be a strenuous trip, so be prepared for some steep climbs and challenging navigation. Bring a sense of adventure and a flexible attitude, since in the past we’ve had to modify our trip on the fly.
If you want to check out the maps and trail description, go to Backpacker Magazine at http://www.backpacker.com/destinations/hikes/379572. There are also excellent maps available on www.linvillegorge.net, although you do need to register.
We'll still start at Wolf Pit Road parking area, but I've decided we'll head south on the Mountain to Sea Trail and do the loop in a clockwise direction. The Spence Bridge is out, so we'll be fording the river twice. The southern crossing is reported to be very rocky and about knee deep, so sandels or water shoes are recommended.
The weather forecast looks great if a little chilly (check out the forecast for Marion NC), sunny to partly cloudy, and low to mid-60's in the day, mid-to-high 30's at night. No rain forecasted.