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Shortoff Mountain Trail



7.7 mile 12.4 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 3,035' 925 m
Descent: -914' -279 m
High: 3,537' 1,078 m
Low: 1,255' 383 m


Avg Grade: 10% (6°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)


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Trail shared by Max Willner

The southeastern portion of the Linville Gorge Wilderness Loop with spectacular overlooks.

Max Willner

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Hunting and fishing are allowed, but permits are required. Camping is permitted in the gorge, but permits are required from May 1 through October 31.


Shortoff Mountain Trail is, for the most part, a ridge trail offering spectacular views of the gorge to the north.

The trail can be accessed via Wolf Pit Trail to the south or from the Table Rock Parking Area.

Shortoff Mountain Trail is a wonderful backpacking location with ideal camping spots and unmatched scenery. As part of the Linville Gorge Wilderness Loop, this trail comprises most of the eastern portion of the loop. It's also the more clearly marked of the trails in the area, making it easier to navigate for novice hikers.

One of the most favorable campsites is at the Big Flat Rock Overlook. There is an open portion of ground ideal for multiple tents. From the campsite, campers can look out into the Gorge.

It is also quite apparent that Shortoff Mountain Trail has been a host to a number of forest fires in the past few years, providing a remarkable hike amongst scorched trees.

This trail is also part of the Mountains to Sea Trail (MST). For more information concerning the MST, please refer to ncmst.org/. At the end of the trail, hikers can head north towards Shortoff Mountain and Table rock Mountain or south towards the Linville River.

Flora & Fauna

Local flora - rhododendron, sand mrtyle, red chokeberry, azalea, turkey beard, bristly locust, yellow root, silverbell, orchids, ninebark, and wild indigo.

Local fauna - white-tail deer, black bears, squirrel, raccoon, grouse, turkey, vultures, owls, and hawks. As for snakes, there are copperheads and timber rattlesnakes.

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Sep 4, 2019
Aug 26, 2019
Only did 5.4 miles
Aug 12, 2019
Lynn Cunningham
Lake James trip
May 17, 2019
Gus Green
Apr 8, 2019
Aaron Bevacqua
5mi — 3h 30m
Apr 6, 2019
Ry Kennedy
Few trees down
Mar 13, 2019
Justin Napolitano

Trail Ratings

  4.9 from 16 votes


  4.9 from 16 votes
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Trail Rankings


253 Views Last Month
14,685 Since Nov 29, 2015



Enjoy a beautiful view of where the gorge carves through the mountains by sitting on one of the cliff edges along the Shortoff Mountain Trail.
Feb 4, 2017 near Spruce…, NC
Tablerock Mountain (to the right) from Shortoff Mountain.
Dec 2, 2015 near Glen Al…, NC
I awoke to one of the most beautiful views the first morning of our hike. I sat in the hammock and took it all in as I watched the sun rise over the horizon!
Feb 4, 2017 near Glen Al…, NC
Watching a mixture of fog and clouds dissipate as the sun rises above Linville Gorge. Those rolling clouds get misty - bring a rain jacket!
Nov 20, 2015 near Spruce…, NC
The path behind Big Flat Rock Overlook that takes adventurous hikers up and over the campsite.
Dec 2, 2015 near Spruce…, NC
Sunset view campsite.
Apr 9, 2019 near Glen Al…, NC

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