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TableRock

nc

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 10.6 miles


Table Rock Picnic Area is part of the Linville Gorge Wilderness. This steep sided gorge is a great destination for an overnight or multi-day trip.
  • Table Rock Parking Area
  • Rough trail!
  • View From the Top...
  • Another great view!
  • Cool Overhang
  • Trail to the Chimneys
  • Views of the Chimneys
  • Cool Outcropping
  • A tight Squeeze...
  • This is the trail!

In Morganton NC Stop at CBS Sports on route 181 for directions and a map of the gorge. From the Table Rock Picnic area head south towards the chimneys. The direction of this hike is critical as you may be unable to find the Cambric Branch trail if you do the hike in the wrong direction. The hike needs to be done in a clockwise loop. Take the Shortoff Mountain Trail well past the chimneys to the Cambric Branch Trail. This steep downward trail that can be difficult to follow at times. Toward the end the trail becomes a bit of a "free for all, get down to the river any way you can" kind of deal. Cross the river where you feel safe to do so and then head up stream on the easy to follow Linville Gorge Trail. Take this trail all the way to the river crossing at the Spence Ridge Trail. This trail climbs steeply out of the Gorge. Take the Little Table Rock Trail to the base of Table Rock and then take the Table Rock trail to the top if have any climbing energy left for an amazing view! Campsites can be found all along the river on the Linville Gorge Trail and near the river crossing at the Spence Ridge Trail. A 2-3 night trip is perfect. Keep in mind that due to poor GPR reception in the Gorge portions of this trip were drawn in after the fact. This means that some locations are very close but not exact and you will need to use the Linville Gorge Wilderness Map.

Trail Reviews & Comments

READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star Star Star
Joey Ware
Apr 23, 2013

Four friends and I just completed this loop with the exception of the Little Table Rock Trail.

Due to heavy rain, we got a late start on Friday, April 19, 2013 and spent the first night about 2.3 miles south of the Table Rock Parking Lot on the Mountains to Sea Trail near the Cambric Branch Trail head. The campsite was large and near an active spring.

On day two, we found the Cambric Branch Trail head and began our decent west to the river. The description of the Cambric Branch Trail is completely accurate. The trail was tough to find at times (although there was faded orange flagging to follow in places) and very steep, especially towards the end. The end of the trail opened to a large flat area at the Linville River. Unfortunately, the river was swollen from the rain and proved to be the biggest obstacle of our trip. We were faced with two options: 1) climb back up the Cambric Branch Trail, which seemed impossible or 2) swim across the river. After considerable discussion, we decided to take our chances in the river and managed to create a zip-line for our gear using about 150 feet of 550 paracord. Luckily, we were able to keep most of the gear dry and survive the cold, swift swim across the river. The downside was it took a considerable amount of time and we still had 5 miles we wanted to hike north on the Linville Gorge Trail. The hike on the LGT was slow moving due to downed trees and lived up to its difficult to negotiate reputation. We only completed 4 of the 5 miles before we found a large campsite by the river for the night.

The final day of our trip began with about another 1 to 1.5 miles north on the LGT to the Spence Ridge Trail. Once on the Spence Ridge, we crossed the river again, but this time on a wooded foot bridge. The Spence Ridge Trail was much more defined and a very nice 1.7 mile hike out of the Gorge. At the end, we connected with the Table Rock Mountain / Mountains to Sea Trail and climbed back up Table Rock Mountain for 1.5 miles to the parking lot.

Overall, the trip was great and a real sense of adventure, but it definitely challenged my backpacking ability. The Linville Gorge Wilderness is an exceptional place!

Star Star Star Star Star
Joey Ware
Apr 23, 2013

Four friends and I just completed this loop with the exception of the Little Table Rock Trail.

Due to heavy rain, we got a late start on Friday, April 19, 2013 and spent the first night about 2.3 miles south of the Table Rock Parking Lot on the Mountains to Sea Trail near the Cambric Branch Trail head. The campsite was large and near an active spring.

On day two, we found the Cambric Branch Trail head and began our decent west to the river. The description of the Cambric Branch Trail is completely accurate. The trail was tough to find at times (although there was faded orange flagging to follow in places) and very steep, especially towards the end. The end of the trail opened to a large flat area at the Linville River. Unfortunately, the river was swollen from the rain and proved to be the biggest obstacle of our trip. We were faced with two options: 1) climb back up the Cambric Branch Trail, which seemed impossible or 2) swim across the river. After considerable discussion, we decided to take our chances in the river and managed to create a zip-line for our gear using about 150 feet of 550 paracord. Luckily, we were able to keep most of the gear dry and survive the cold, swift swim across the river. The downside was it took a considerable amount of time and we still had 5 miles we wanted to hike north on the Linville Gorge Trail. The hike on the LGT was slow moving due to downed trees and lived up to its difficult to negotiate reputation. We only completed 4 of the 5 miles before we found a large campsite by the river for the night.

The final day of our trip began with about another 1 to 1.5 miles north on the LGT to the Spence Ridge Trail. Once on the Spence Ridge, we crossed the river again, but this time on a wooded foot bridge. The Spence Ridge Trail was much more defined and a very nice 1.7 mile hike out of the Gorge. At the end, we connected with the Table Rock Mountain / Mountains to Sea Trail and climbed back up Table Rock Mountain for 1.5 miles to the parking lot.

Overall, the trip was great and a real sense of adventure, but it definitely challenged my backpacking ability. The Linville Gorge Wilderness is an exceptional place!

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