Linville Falls is a picturesque waterfall in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the United States.
The falls move in several distinct steps, beginning with a twin set of upper falls. The falls then progresses to move down a small gorge and culminating in a high-volume 45-foot (14 m) drop.
Linville Falls has the highest volume of any waterfall on the Northern Edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It also marks the beginning of the Linville Gorge, which the Linville River forms.
Linville Falls History
The river continues on after the falls before finally ending near Lake James. Traditionally, Native American tribes used the falls to execute their prisoners. No one has ever survived a fall over the final plunge, with the exception of kayaker Pat Keller in 2010.
John Rockefeller donated the falls to the National Park Service in 1952. He also provided about $100,000 for the purchase of the land, including an approximately 1,100-acre (445 hectares) area surrounding the falls and a part of Linville Gorge. Giulia Luginbuhl of Des Moines, IA, whose father, F. W. Hossfeld of Morganton, NC, had purchased the property in the year 1900, sold the land.
Linville Falls Description
At one time, the upper section of the main plunge was the same height as the lower section. However, heavy flooding altered the geology of the area and caused the upper section to collapse on top of the lower falls, making the lower falls a considerably longer plunge.
The United States National Park Service owns the falls. They operate a visitor center and several miles of non-handicapped accessible trails with 4 overlooks for the falls. The 0.5 mi (0.80 km) Upper Falls trail leads to the top of the falls, where visitors can see both them and the water spiraling through a small canyon on its way to the main falls.
Linville Falls Ruggedness
The Erwin’s View Trail leads to 2 overlooks, the Chimney View Overlook (0.7 miles) and Erwin’s View Overlook (0.8 miles). The Plunge Basin Trail leads to the Overlook, which provides a view of the falls from the other side of the river.
Finally, the 0.7 mi (1.1 km) Gorge Trail, which branches off from the other trail, leads to an area near the foot of the falls.
Swimming is not possible in any areas of the falls. The area comprises extremely rugged terrain, and many deaths have occurred.