Hike The Linville Falls Trail In The Fall For Out Of This World Color

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Looking to hike the Linville Falls Trail on the Blue Ridge Parkway?

Linville Falls. The falls I was most looking forward to on our October trip and they let me down. I kept seeing this AMAZING waterfall on every North Carolina waterfall or Boone waterfall list and I just had to see it.

Falls cascading into a gorge surrounded by trees flaming orange and yellow. How could it not be AMAZING!? Well, what you don’t see in those pictures is all the people. Surprising? Not really.

Travel Services I Recommend:
AllTrails – This is my favorite hike tracking app.
America the Beautiful – The national park pass is essential.
Booking.com – This is great for finding and booking hotels.
Get Your Guide – I recommend Get Your Guide for booking tours.
National Park Obsessed – This is the best national park planner.
Skyscanner – Skyscanner is great for finding and booking flights.
Enterprise – This is my rental car recommendation.
See all my resources here.

Our experience on the Linville Falls Trail

Before we actually saw it though, I was very excited for the hike to Linville Falls. We went on a Wednesday so I didn’t think it would be too crazy, and compared to weekends in October on the Blue Ridge Parkway, it wasn’t.

But once we saw the parking lot packed full and cars along the road, our enthusiasm started to drop.

Oh well, we’re here, we might as well do it. So we parked along the road and headed to the visitor center. We can’t skip a visitor center, that’s just ridiculous. Then we hit the trail.

First Overlook

The Linville Falls trail is pretty easy, especially compared to the Grassy Creek Falls trail somewhat nearby.

It’s wide, kind of like and old road or something, for the most part but the little sections to the overlooks themselves are more narrow and a little rocky and muddy, which is pretty par for the course in North Carolina.

At each overlook we just felt underwhelmed. There were just so many people and it was like Oh, ok, this is nice which isn’t really what you want to be thinking when you see a waterfall you’ve been looking forward to for moths, you know?


Once we got to the last overlook I appreciated it a little more but it still wasn’t as mind blowingly amazing as I thought it would be.

I’m glad we did it or I would have been disappointed leaving without seeing it, but it wasn’t what I expected. But I can cross it off of my North Carolina bucket list now.

On the hike out I felt a little relieved to have finally seen Linville Falls, the falls I was so looking forward to that didn’t live up to the hype.

It can be super disappointing to be let down by something you were excited about but sometimes it just happens and all you can do is say, well, I’ve seen it now and move on to the next waterfall.


And this has nothing to do with the hike but on our way out we saw a guy lick a tree. This was in October 2020, mind you.

Want to lick a tree? Sure, you do you, but this is a very very busy trail and this tree was literally right on the side of it. Ugh, he just licked a tree! I can’t even.

Sure, people don’t go around just rubbing their grubby hands all over trees, but they probably get touched and hugged a lot more than we realize and just, gross, licking a tree! In 2020!


Where is the Linville Falls Trailhead?

The Linville Falls trail leaves from the Linville Falls Visitor Center. It’s about 45 minutes from Boone and a little over an hour from Asheville.

It’s between milepost 316 and 317 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This trail is very popular so you’ll want to go early or later in the day.

The parking here will fill up, especially in October, and you may have to park along the road in.

If you have to park waaaaay out on the road, like more than half a mile from the parking area, I would say skip it or come back earlier or later. I don’t think it’s worth that extra mile.

How long is the Linville Falls Trail?

The Erwins View Trail is what takes you to all four overlooks and is about 1.6 miles round-trip. There is a Linville Falls Overlook Trail, too, which is about 2 miles. They may be the same thing.

The first is 0.5 miles from the visitor center, the next is Chimney View, 0.2 miles from the first overlook, then shortly after is a view of the river, and finally, 0.1 miles from the Chimney Overlook is the Erwins View Overlook.

The first overlook is right at the falls, the Chimney Overlook gives you a good view of the upper and lower falls, and the Erwins View Overlook is the classic view you usually see in pictures.

That was the most impressive to me and the only one you couldn’t see people at the first overlook from.


Is the Linville Falls trail hard?

I would say it’s mostly easy but if you do the additional hike down to the river it will be more strenuous.

AllTrails says it’s moderate with 446 feet of elevation gain to the Linville Falls Overlook.

How long do you need for the Linville Falls trail?

I want to say we maybe spent an hour or so here. The overlooks were busy so we didn’t hang around them all that long.

If you just go to the three overlooks, an hour should be good, but you’ll need a couple if you do the Linville Gorge Trail, too.

Linville Falls trail opening hours

The Linville Falls trail does not close but the Linville Falls visitor center does. It’s open daily from 8-5 but 8-8 on Saturday and Sunday.

Linville Falls trail entrance fee

There is no entrance fee for the Blue Ridge Parkway or the Linville Falls trail.

Chimney Overlook

Is the Linville Falls Trail busy?

Extremely. Parking is always packed (at least in the fall), the trail is super busy, and there is a lot of congestion in this area on the Blue Ridge Parkway on weekends in the fall.

Is the Linville Falls hike worth it?

Sort of. I was pretty underwhelmed by it, I won’t lie, but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It was a lot busier than I thought it would be, which really shouldn’t have surprised me for October on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

It’s cool, but with the overlook right at the top of the falls, from any of the other lookouts, you can see people. If you’re just admiring it, that’s not a huge deal, but for photography it was pretty annoying.

I think it would be more worth it to do the Linville Gorge Trail instead of or in addition to the overlook trails because that takes you right down to the water with a view of the falls from the bottom. It’s more strenuous but wort it, I would imagine.


What to bring on the Linville Falls hike

Hiking poles – These will be helpful on longer hikes that are on the steeper side.  They’ll be good if you have bad knees for when you’re going downhill and will give you something to lean on going up the hills.

Water bottle – It’ll be hot and you’ll need to stay hydrated.  Even if it’s not hot you need to stay hydrated.  A Hydro Flask will keep your water ice cold all day long.

Sunscreen – If you plan on being outside, you’ll want sunscreen.  I like the Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch a lot AND it’s reef safe! If you’re sensitive to fragrance though, it’s not a good choice. I also like the same one but specifically for your face.

Hat – You’ll want some kind of hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, or a visor.  A baseball hat should be fine but I like my giant sun hat, too.

Sunglasses – This is a must no matter where you are.

Light Jacket – Because you just never know.  Weather can change quickly depending on where you are, time of day, and season.  I usually use my rain jacket for this.

Headlamp – I tend to carry my headlamp around all the time when we’re hiking, just in case. 

Erwins View Overlook

Where to stay in Boone and Blowing Rock

TownePlace Suites (Boone) – This one is outside of the busy area of Boone, just south of town on 321. It has breakfast and mountain views in some rooms.

Graystone Lodge (Boone) – This recently renovated hotel in South Boone is close to town without being in the busy area. It’s part of the Choice Hotels chain.

Hampton Inn & Suites (Boone) – This is a great chain option in just outside the center of Boone. It has breakfast and is pet and kid friendly.

Homestead Inn (Blowing Rock) – This is a cute, rustic, pet friendly option near Blowing Rock city center. It even has a basketball court!

The Manor (Blowing Rock) – This is a beautiful modern option in Blowing Rock with breakfast. Some of the rooms have balconies, too.

The Victorian Inn (Blowing Rock) – This looks like a bed and breakfast but without the breakfast, just a bed. It looks so cute hand has a garden, terrace, and parking.

Meadowbrook Inn (Blowing Rock) – This is just one block from the Main Street city center. It looks really nice and is super close to the Blue Ridge Parkway.


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Hike Crabtree Falls Trail: One Of The Best Waterfalls On The Blue Ridge Parkway

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Hike Down, Down, Down To The Double Tiered Grassy Creek Falls In North Carolina

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My Outdoor North Carolina Bucketlist

Why You Should Probably Visit Asheville, North Carolina Soon

Have you done the Linville Falls hike? What did you think of it? Do you want to do it? Would you ever lick a tree?

4 thoughts on “Hike The Linville Falls Trail In The Fall For Out Of This World Color

  1. Any way you look at it, just being able to cover so many hiking trails is super; and to share those experiences with your readers is superplus in my estimation!

    1. It happens! I know if I didn’t do it now I would have wanted to next time. I think it was just totally different than I pictured it in my head based on pictures I had seen. It’s definitely not bad but not how I imagined

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