Route: Hawksbill Trail, Babel Tower Trail, Linville Gorge Trail, Spence Ridge Trail, Little Tablerock Trail, Mountain To Seas Trail, LTT, SRT, LGT, Conley Cove Trail, Memorial Highway (road walk)
Distance: 13.6 miles
Conditions: cloudy, sunny, cool
Impression: This is one of my favorite hiking areas. Linville Gorge Wilderness provides an amazing adventure area with tons of camping, rugged trails and incredible views. While the Hawksbill portion of the hike is fairly easy, the loop through the gorge is very difficult...
Spence Ridge Trail and Little Tablerock Trail are steep and rugged, one of the more challenging uphills I've ever done, that's for sure. When we finally made our way to the top of Tablerock, it was a joyous occasion. There was nobody else around and the vistas were spectacular! Looking down into and across the gorge from where we had just hiked from was humbling. Camping on top of Tablerock Mountain was one of the more epic camping sites I've ever had! There aren't too many flat areas up there, but there are a couple, just look around for them. Classic fall colors and rolling clouds through the gorge provided some awesome photos.
The views from Hawksbill and Tablerock are breathtaking and the gorge itself is worth the hike alone. While this hike is challenging for a regular hiker and super difficult for the novice, it's worth all the effort. If you plan on doing this strenuous hike, be prepared mentally (the uphill on Spence Ridge Trail is no joke) and physically and I suggest hiking poles. Both sides of the gorge are steep and poles would help. Happy Hiking!