Route: Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit (NC)

North Carolina, US
34 mi
Vertical Gain
8,000 ft

Phil Phelan posted the route:

The Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit is a conglomerate of 21 individual trails that - when linked - circles the Linville Gorge Wilderness in its' entirety.

Beginning at the Pine Gap parking lot, the trails that make-up the Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit are listed here in order from start to finish. Marion Wright Trail, Erwin's View Trail, Plunge Basin Trail, Plunge Basin Trail / Red North Trail Connector Trail, Red North Trail, Brushy Ridge Trail, Red South Trail, Devil's Cliff Trail, Jonas Ridge Trail, Hawksbill Trail, Ledge Trail, Ledge Trail / Spence Ridge Trail Connector Trail, Spence Ridge Trail, Spence Ridge Trail / Table Rock Gap Trail Connector Trail, Table Rock Gap Trail, Table Rock Summit Trail, Shortoff Mountain Trail, Mountains-To-Sea Trail, Lead Mine Trail, Linville Gorge Trail, and Pine Gap Trail.

The Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit guidebook can be found at

A shorter (about 22 mile) variation is also offered here, which forms more or less a southern loop of the whole Hiking Circuit described above.  We'll call it the  the "Linville Gorge Wilderness Loop" after the listing here.

GPS Track


I am announcing my intent to challenge the FKT of the Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit, currently held by Phil Phelan, with a time of 23hrs 10mins. Phil Phelan is also the creator of the Hiking Circuit. I will be starting on 10/25/18 at first light (7:15AM). I will be completing the loop in a clockwise direction; beginning and ending at Pine Gap Trailhead.




I will be attempting the Wilderness Loop FKT on Sunday, March 10th. I will be looking to best Dylan Beres' time of 20hrs 35mins.




I will be attempting the Wilderness Loop FKT at 7am on Sunday, October 5th. Thanks! 

Jon Ziefle

I ran the route today, february 22, for the third time. This was my fastest yet attempt on the route, starting and ending at the wolf pit parking lot south of short off mountain. I completed the route in 6 hrs, 33 minutes. Now seeing the FKT is 5, ill be back to give it hell once again. - Bryson Peter

I completed the Wilderness Loop (22 miles) in 5:10.45. After going off trail around little Table rock unfortunately.  Then backtracking to get back on trail. Still a solid effort. Ryan crushed this!