Route: Linville Gorge Hiking Circuit (NC)

North Carolina, US

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. Widely accepted as the toughest hiking circuit east of the Rocky Mountains, this grand titan extends 33.93 miles in length and sports a mammoth 16,605' of elevation change. 

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.

35.9049395, -81.8948848



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