Linville Gorge Grand Loop: The hardest hike in NC

Practice navigation with a map and compass and bring a GPS as backup.

North Carolina’s wildest and most remote wilderness area is a hiker’s paradise. Often called the “Grand Canyon of the East,” many hikers find Linville Gorge’s trails more challenging — and the views even better — than the iconic western park. But hiking and backpacking in the Gorge isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, the Linville Gorge Grand Loop is the hardest hike in NC.

The Grand Loop (also called the Linville Full Loop) runs anywhere from 35-48 miles along the entire Gorge. On the east side you walk along the rim. On the west, you walk along the river. In between, you climb partway in and out of the canyon multiple times for a whopping 9,000+ feet of elevation.

Completing the Linville Grand Loop is something of a right of passage in the Carolina mountain hiking community. Few hikers accomplish it each year. Fewer of them are women, and even fewer of those are solo women.

In July 2021 I backpacked the entire loop on my own over 2.5 days. In this post, I’ll share all my secrets to set you up for success if you attempt this hike. I promise, it’s worth the challenge!

Full disclosure: The photos in this post are from a mix of my Grand Loop backpacking trip and other hikes I’ve done in Linville. I wanted to show you the Gorge in different seasons and different lights.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you decide to purchase through these links, I receive a percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.

Linville Gorge Grand Loop Hike Basics

Hawksbill as seen from Sitting Bear on the Linville Gorge Grand Loop
My favorite campsite in Linville Gorge: On top of Sitting Bear

Length: 35-48 miles, depending on your exact route. I clocked 39.1, including two short side trips.

Elevation gain: 9,000 feet

Difficulty: I’m not joking when I say this is the hardest hike in NC

Time needed: 2.5 days is the absolute minimum — and that’s with 12-hour days

Best time to hike Linville Gorge: March-November

Starting point: Table Rock, Wolf Pit, and Linville Falls are the most popular and accessible options

Permits: Free permits are required May-October on weekends and holidays

Why is the Linville Full Loop the hardest hike in NC?

The Linville backpacking loop is the hardest hike in NC.
See that ridge? That’s what you have to backpack on the Linville Gorge Grand Loop.

Linville Gorge Wilderness is one of the least developed recreation areas on the East Coast.

There are two big factors that make this hike so hard. First, the trails are steep. Like, near-vertical, hands-and-knees-required. The climb up Shortoff Mountain is 1,500 feet in about a mile. The climb up Sitting Bear is shorter but harder. Descents aren’t a whole lot better.

Second, with the exception of the 8 miles of Mountains to Sea Trail, none of the trails in Linville Gorge are marked or maintained. You will almost certainly get lost. You will have to climb over blowdowns (over, and over, and over again). You’ll have to crawl under dog hobble on your stomach. You’ll contend with poison ivy, stinging nettles, thorns and rattlesnakes hiding in the leaves where you can’t see them.

Finally, this hike requires a river crossing. While it’s not particularly difficult in drought conditions, it’s considered dangerous when river levels are higher than 200 CFS. It was about 150 when I crossed and the water was up to my waist with a swift current.

In the northeast quadrant and on the west side, you may not see anyone for miles. On a holiday weekend, I only saw 6 other hikers in the more-remote 30 miles. If you get hurt and need a rescue, you’ll almost certainly be stranded overnight. There’s no cell service.

How to prepare for the Linville Gorge backpacking loop

Prepare for backpacking Linville Gorge with a couple day hikes.
My first time climbing the Shortoff Mountain Trail, on a day hike in Linville.

Before you commit yourself to a multi-day backpacking trip, I’d highly, highly recommend doing a few day hikes in the area. This will help you get to know the terrain (which makes navigation easier) and will give you a sense of a realistic pace for backpacking Linville Gorge. Locals like to say “a mile in the Gorge is two miles anywhere else,” but it’s hard to appreciate just how serious they are until you try a day hike.

One of the best day hikes in the area is Daffodil Flats. This 5-10 mile trek takes you down the west rim and along the river to a lovely wildflower field. You have to either climb up Pinchin Trail (don’t be fooled by the “1 mile” label — it’s among the toughest miles in NC) or navigate the unmaintained Leadmine, Rock Jock or Unnamed Trails.

Alternatively, try hiking from Shortoff to Table Rock and back in a day. This 16-mile east rim traverse takes you to some of the best viewpoints in the Gorge. You’ll get a sense for the difficulty when climbing from the saddle below the Chimneys and when rock-scrambling to the Table Rock parking lot.

Many hikers congregate around Hawksbill, Table Rock, and Linville Falls. These are all stunningly beautiful hikes — but they aren’t really prep for backpacking the Gorge. The trails are much easier and more touristic, so they won’t give you much of a sense for what a longer trip is like.

How to get a Linville Gorge Backpacking Permit

A Linville Gorge backpacking permit is required on summer weekends.
Sunrise on the Linville Gorge Loop at a campsite I had to myself in July.

The Forest Service is trying to stop Linville from being “loved to death.” Visitation has exploded in recent years, including with many newbie hikers who aren’t prepared for the terrain and conditions. So now, backpackers must have permits for overnight trips on weekends and holidays between May and October.

To reserve a permit, call the Pisgah National Forest Grandfather Ranger District office. You can reserve permits for the month before you hike (so in June for July, etc.). They’re usually gone within the first week they become available.

You’re only allowed to spend two consecutive nights in the Gorge — permit or no. That means if you want to attempt the Linville Grand Loop, you need to be prepared for 15-mile days.

You do not need to tell the permit office where you plan to camp — your permit is for the entire wilderness area. Just be sure to use established campsites as part of following Leave No Trace principles.

Navigation: The Avenza Map

The best Linville Gorge Wilderness map is the one on Avenza.
Why do you need Avenza? Because this is what passes for a trail marking in the Gorge. It’s the only one I saw all day, it’s about 2.5 hours from Linville Falls at a 3 mph pace, and it’s not actually a direct route there. What this sign really means is “don’t take the thing that looks like a path to the left, because it’s not actually a trail at all even though it looks way more like it than the trail.” This sign is so wrong that it’s famous for its wrongness in the Gorge hiking community.

As I mentioned earlier, none of the trails in Linville are marked or maintained. You’re totally on your own for navigation. A good topographic map and compass (that you know how to use) are essential.

The good news is, the local hiking community has created a tremendously awesome map that you can download for free through Avenza. It’s updated annually and the Avenza app has GPS navigation built in.

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I would never even consider heading out without my Linville Gorge map in Avenza (on my phone and printed out). Normally I use AllTrails for navigation, but it’s utterly useless in Linville — over half the trails in the area aren’t on the AllTrails map at all.

Plus, the Avenza app shows you campsites and water sources. A circled water source indicates year-round flow and drought resistance.

When it comes to navigation, the hardest area by far is the Northeast Quadrant. These little-visited trails are often little more than a nominally cleared path through the brush. I counted over 50 blowdowns in less than a mile on the Gulf Contour trail — and that’s the easier of the two routes down to the river!

Planning your route

If you do the full loop counterclockwise, you have to climb all the way up Shortoff.
Shortoff, seen through the trees, before the Climb of Death.

The Linville Loop is a little choose-your-own adventure. Rather than one established trail, there are a handful of trail combinations depending on how easy or hard you want to make it.

Importantly, there are very few established campsites in the NE Quadrant. Plan to knock out all 8 miles of this segment at once — and get at least a mile from Linville Falls. Campsites are plentiful everywhere else, but between Shortoff and Table Rock they’re busy.

Possible starting points and orientation

There are numerous starting point possibilities for the Linville Gorge Loop. Where to start depends on how much extra hiking you want to do, what kind of car you drive, how much you care about good parking, and how you want to space out the hardest parts of the hike.

Here are some of the popular starting areas, and some pros and cons:

Linville Falls (gravel Forest Service parking):

  • Pros: Large parking area, shorter drive from Asheville, easy last day whichever direction you hike.
  • Cons: Your car will be super covered in dust after you finish. You have to either start or end with the NE Quadrant, which can be unpredictable due to navigation issues and blowdowns.
  • Car break-ins are possible if you leave valuables visible.
  • Note that you can’t leave a car overnight in the paved NPS parking lot on the Parkway side, and you can’t camp within 1,000 feet of the falls.

Table Rock:

  • Pros: Huge, paved parking area with restrooms and trash cans. Start with the touristy, easy-to-navigate part. Positions you well to camp on Shortoff with epic sunrises and sunsets your first or last night.
  • Cons: Lots of tourists, so the parking lot fills up quickly. Inaccessible in winter.

Wolf Pit: 

  • Pros: Shorter drive from Asheville. Get Shortoff out of the way at the beginning. Safe to park.
  • Cons: Ugh this parking lot is a freaking disaster. You’ll need to compete with dozens of other cars for a spot that will leave you certain to be stuck in mud or slide down a cliff. No facilities at the parking area.
  • The dirt road up to Wolf Pit is privately managed. DO NOT park on landowners’ property. It’s an all-weather, 2WD, low-clearance-friendly dirt road.

Devils Hole or Spence Ridge:

  • Pros: Little competition for parking. Gravel road to reach these is 2WD- and low-clearance-friendly.
  • Cons: No facilities at the parking areas. Longer drive from Asheville. Very difficult beginning of your hike.

West Rim parking areas on Old NC 105 (includes Babel Tower, Pinnacle, Pinchin, etc.):

  • Pros: Little competition for parking outside daffodil season. Old 105 is gorgeous. You’ll see a quieter side of the Gorge.
  • Cons: Old NC 105 is often 4WD-high clearance. Car break-ins are common. You’ll have to climb an extra 1,500 feet out of the Gorge at the end of your hike.

Trail combinations

There are two established stretches of trail along the sides of Linville Gorge: the Linville River Trail (also called the Linville Gorge Trail or LGT) and the Mountains-to-Sea. These trails combined make up over 20 miles of the hike. The remaining 15+ miles can be tackled a few different ways.

Starting from Linville Falls and heading counter-clockwise, here are a few options:

  • Marion Wright Trail or Old NC 105: Technically the Marion Wright Trail is closed going counter-clockwise. It’s unmaintained and pretty brushy, but locals use the trail anyway. It’s by far the shorter option. Alternatively, walk up NC 105 to the Babel Tower Trailhead.
  • Side trip to Babel Tower: This adds half a mile round-trip. It involves an extremely steep ledge climb. Someone died here in a fall recently, the “safest” option is still pretty dodgy, and it’s impossible to tell where the trail is. Bring a rope to lower your pack, or leave it below the ledge.
  • Leadmine: You can take the original trail or the new one. Take the new one. Unless you want a pointlessly painful, eroded, slippery climb up from the riverbed.
  • From Table Rock, you can go through Table Rock Gap or via Little Table Rock. While the latter is more difficult, it’s also more isolated and brings you to the best water source on the east rim.
  • Spence Ridge: You can road walk between Spence and Hawksbill on Gingercake Road, or take the Ledge Trail. Ledge is only viable for those with a death wish, no fear of heights, extraordinary balance, a skinny backpack and a love of close rattlesnake encounters (and is definitely not an option in stormy weather).
  • Hawksbill: Summiting is a 0.6-mile side trip from the main trail at the intersection with Jonas Ridge.
  • Celestial Point: A well-worth-it, unmaintained half-mile side trip from Jonas Ridge.
  • At the end of Jonas Ridge, you can take unmaintained-but-easy One Rock or road-walk Gingercake.
  • The Northeast Quadrant: The best route is Brushy Ridge – Joe Johnson – Long Arm – Gulf Contour. This route is longer, but it’s in better (definitely not “good”) shape. However, some people miss the turnoff for Joe Johnson and end up on Brushy Ridge – Red North. If you do it by accident, you can either attempt a very rough bushwhack for a mile to Linville Falls, connect to Long Arm, or use Hill 3065 to connect to Gulf Contour. All are terrible ideas if there has been even a hint of rain, and 3065 is truly dangerous with a pack.
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Which direction?

No matter how you slice it, the Grand Loop is the most difficult hike in NC. But clockwise is marginally easier.

The two hardest climbs are Shortoff and Sitting Bear. If you go clockwise, you descend the steeper sections of both. You’ll have to climb to the rim in the Northeast Quadrant (don’t take Red North!), but several of the routes are gradual climbs. If you want to take Marion Wright, you have plausible deniability about the trail closure since it’s unsigned from the Linville River Trail.

Counterclockwise is a great option if you really want to push your limits. The biggest advantage is the Little Table Rock trail is easier. It’s also easier to find the Gulf Contour Trail.

A word of warning whichever way you go: The Linville River Trail looks flat on topographic maps, but it isn’t flat at all. It’s a lot of small, steep up and down on rough terrain.

My route

I started at Linville Falls and went counter-clockwise — I wanted the challenge. But more importantly, I wanted to end with the NE Quadrant to ensure I’d have enough daylight hours.

I took the Marion Wright Trail and connected to the side trip to Babel Tower. Then I continued along the LRT, camping at the intersection with Leadmine the first night. It was a 14-mile day and it took me from 8 am to 5 pm.

Next, I climbed the old Leadmine and connected to the Mountains-to-Sea. I followed the MTS all the way to Table Rock with a lengthy side trip to Dwellers Gulp for water. Then I took Little Table Rock to Spence Ridge, where I road-walked to Hawksbill. Finally I took Jonas Ridge and camped at the top of Sitting Bear for a 16-mile, 11-hour day.

On Day 3 I started with the side trip to Celestial Point. Then I made my way along One Rock, connected to Brushy Ridge, and used the Joe Johnson-Long Arm-Gulf Contour route. I missed a turn on Gulf Contour and ended up half a mile off-trail. The last 9 miles took me 3.5 hours.

Best camping spots in Linville Gorge

If you hike in Linville in April, a campsite along the river will give you early access to Daffodil Flats
Many of the west bank campsites are near Daffodil Flats.

Linville Gorge has some of the most beautiful sunrise and sunset views in the Southeast — if you’re lucky enough to get clear weather. The east rim is all about long-range views, while the west rim has sites near swimming holes.

On the east rim, the most beautiful and isolated campsites are at the top of Sitting Bear. The two sites are steps away from ledges with amazing east-facing views. You can see all the way to Grandfather Mountain and the entire rim of the Gorge.

If you’re ok with more crowded options, the Chimneys and Shortoff are popular. There are also campsites near Table Rock, but they tend to have bear issues. All three have views.

If water is more important to you than views, try one of the sites along the Spence Ridge Trail or in the gap between Table Rock and Hawksbill. There are also a few forested sites near a stream at the Devil’s Hole trailhead, but as a solo female I don’t feel safe camping that close to the road.

On the west side, the campsites are all along the Linville River. Popular options are at the intersections with Spence Ridge and Devil’s Hole, since the swimming is especially good. You’ll also see more people near the bottoms of all the west rim trails (Pinchin, Leadmine, Unnamed, Conley Cove, etc.).

Water sources

The east rim: Hawksbill, Table Rock and Shortoff -- seen from Babel Tower.
Linville River is not a safe water source. Use the streams instead.

Water is generally easy to find on the west side and scarce on the east rim.

You might think it would be easy to grab water, given the proximity of the Linville River. However, ag runoff and mercury are big problems with the river.

The good news is tons of drought-resistant streams flow on the west side. You rarely go more than a mile between sources — you can get away with carrying just two liters and filling up at camp. Going counterclockwise the last source is at the intersection with Unnamed, so fill 3-4 liters there for the climb to the east rim.

There are a small number of dependable water sources on the east rim. From south to north, they are: Dwellers Gulp (which is vile), Saddle Camp, and the Devil’s Hole trailhead (which you need a pump for). Keep in mind there are 5+ miles between them. All are marked on Avenza.

If it’s rained recently, you also have a chance at the piped source at the summit of Shortoff, Water Tree, between Table Rock and Hawksbill, and on Gulf Contour. All of these are 50/50 at best in drought conditions.

I hiked two days after a tropical storm. Water Tree was dry, but Little Table Rock gap and Gulf Contour had excellent flow. The pipe on Shortoff was barely flowing but I probably could’ve gotten a liter out of it if I’d had to.

Remember to filter or treat your water in the backcountry, and bring iodine tablets as a backup.

Bailout points on the Linville Gorge Grand Loop

Celestial Point overlook
Once you’re in the remote Northeast Quadrant, you do not have many options to get help.

Considering how difficult the Linville Grand Loop is, hikers are lucky to have options to cut their trip short.

If you’re concerned you won’t be able to complete the full loop, your best bet is to start from Wolf Pit and go counter-clockwise. This way, if you get in over your head (or you can’t count on your GPS having battery life by the time you reach the NE Quad), you can take the Spence Ridge trail. This creates a 20-mile loop including the best parts of the Grand Loop, with a fraction of the blood sweat and tears and little chance of getting lost. It is by no means easy — we call this route “ITAYG,” which stands for “Is That All You Got?”

The problem with ITAYG is the Spence Ridge crossing is…dicey. At best, it’s chest-deep. Often it’s a full-on swim. It is not safe if river levels are above 150 CFS. You need a rope that you can rig up to get your pack across — sometimes a nice hiker will leave one for others, but you can’t count on it.

If you miss Spence, you have one other loop option of last resort — at Devil’s Hole. It’s questionably safe in low river levels (below 100 CFS, so September and October only). The crossing is a full swim with your pack — rigging a rope isn’t realistic. The rapids and current are strong, so much so that I usually won’t even swim near the banks, let alone cross.

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If you’re injured, the better option is to hitch a ride from one of the parking areas along Gingercake Road. You might get cell service at the Table Rock parking lot.

The worst-case scenario if you need to bail is to be stuck on the west bank. There’s no option to get to help that doesn’t involve an extremely steep 1,500+-foot climb out of the Gorge.

Wildlife in Linville Gorge Wilderness Area

A black bear along the road in Western North Carolina.
Black bears are one of the top wildlife concerns in Linville Gorge Wilderness.

The flora and fauna of Linville Gorge are one of this loop’s top appeals. The wilderness area spans elevations from 1,500 feet to over 4,000 feet, with astounding biodiversity in the different microclimates.

In terms of plants to watch out for, try foraging for wild berries in summer! Blackberries abound, and you can find blueberries in a few spots on the east rim. In July and August you’ll also find colorful mushrooms (but don’t eat them unless you know what you’re doing!). Poison ivy and stinging nettles are the main nuisances.

Linville has incredible bird life. You have a shot at seeing Peregrine Falcons during nesting season. You’ll probably see turkeys — the meadows on Long Arm Trail are full of them — and turkey vultures. Lots of smaller species live along the river.

When it comes to large mammals, bears are the main threat. They tend to be pretty shy around people — especially in less touristic parts of the Gorge. But they can be a big aggressive around Table Rock, mainly hassling campers with improperly stored food.

And then there’s the scariest creatures of Linville — the snakes. Copperheads and rattlers are everywhere. If you hike between April and October you’re almost guaranteed a poisonous snake sighting. Be especially careful on the Linville River Trail and Ledge. Never put your hand on a log, rock, or tree before checking for snakes. Their bites are rarely fatal but you don’t want to mess with them. You’ll also see water snakes, which are not dangerous.

What to pack for hiking in Linville Gorge

Sunrise over Grandfather Mountain
The laughably steep climb up here would have been impossible without poles, boots and rope.

If you’re planning a backpacking trip in Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, you probably have all the standard hiking gear. So I won’t bother to list it all out here. I’ll just say — the lighter you can get your pack, the better.

A few additional pieces of specialty gear are necessary for this hike:

  • 100 feet of weight-bearing rope and extra carabiners: I never hike in Linville — not even a day-hike — without rope. I’ve had to lower my pack down cliffs and haul it over blow-downs taller than me. On Leadmine, I’ve used it to anchor myself at rough drainage crossings where the trail is so eroded, you just slide down the slope. You’ll need it in an emergency Spence Ridge crossing. And who knows, you might need to haul your car out of the mud if you park at Wolf Pit!
  • Water pump (summer and fall): In addition to a filter, a pump helps source water in drought conditions.
  • Bear canister: It’s tough to find trees for a bear hang — on the east side a fire wiped out all the tall trees a few years ago, and on the west side the trees are too close together. A canister is 100% the way to go.
  • Trekking polesYou’d be insane to take on the Gorge without something to protect your knees on the brutal descents.
  • Hiking bootsEven if you normally wear trail runners, boots are better for the rough terrain of Linville. Plus, they’re extra protection from snakebites — on unmaintained trails it would be easy to step on a copperhead you can’t see through the brush.
  • Long pants: Even in the heat of summer, shorts aren’t ideal. You’ll want protection from the brush on overgrown trails (ever run into stinging nettles with shorts on? I have, and I’d like to spare you the misery!). I like these PrAna hiking pants.
  • Water shoes/sandals: The Mountains to Sea river crossing isn’t deep, but it is rocky and snake-y. Tevas, Chacos or Keens help.

So…should you attempt a full loop of Linville Gorge?

The most difficult hike in NC takes you to views of Linville Falls.
Linville Falls makes a good training hike before you do the full backpacking loop.

I have hiked a lot in Western North Carolina — over 1,000 miles a year, in fact. I’ve done all the top backpacking trips. Nothing has challenged me quite like the Linville Gorge Grand Loop.

This backpacking trip is absolutely not suitable for beginner backpackers. You’re going to want to have several 3-5 night trips under your belt — at least — before attempting this hike.

You’ll also want to have trained with your pack before heading to Linville (i.e. this is not a great first-trip-of-the-season). My thighs were burning so much after the climb up Sitting Bear that I could barely walk three days later. It’s the first time I’ve been sore after a hike in almost two years.

Because of the 2-night camping limit, you need to be able to hike 15 miles a day to even consider this trip. But remember that saying that “1 mile in the Gorge is 2 miles everywhere else?” Yeahhh — if you’ve never done a 20-mile day hike, I wouldn’t attempt this one.

Additionally, if you have even the slightest doubts about getting yourself out of trouble in the event of a navigation meltdown, you probably shouldn’t head into the Northeast Quadrant of the Gorge. I hike off-trail a lot — sometimes for several miles at a time. Linville still pushes the limits of my nav skills.

But if you’re a very-experienced backpacker, comfortable off-trail navigator, and willing to push yourself more than a little? The Linville Grand Loop will treat you to the most unique scenery on the East Coast. It’s wild, rugged and remote like few other places in the U.S. still are. It’s perhaps the most rewarding backpacking trip I’ve ever done. And even though I could barely walk for days afterwards, it was worth it.

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Looking for a weekend backpacking trip in North Carolina? The Linville Gorge Loop is one of the hardest hikes in the state. Visit Linville Gorge Wilderness, Table Rock, and Pisgah National Forest on this 40+-mile hike. It's a lot of elevation but you can camp at beautiful overlooks or along the river. #travel #hiking

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Lisa Shehan
1 year ago

This article came at the best time! I’m looking to go to Linville Falls in two weeks and have been doing research on best camping options. I’m going to look into the ones you suggested because the views sound lovely! Congrats on accomplishing this huge hike too!

Katy
Katy
1 year ago

Looks like an incredible hike! And *really* challenging too. I’m a pretty experienced hiker but I would have to train really hard for a trip that difficult. But it looks amazing. So, maybe I’ll try it someday. Thanks for sharing your experience!

Mark Siegmann
1 year ago
Reply to  Katy

This article is the best will love to make that trip I guess am ready to make this trip it will not be easy but I think it will be the best memories of my life if I make the trip

Sue
Sue
1 year ago

Congrats on completing this very difficult hike! It definitely looks extremely challenging but the views also look amazing. What an accomplishment!

Hannah
1 year ago

What an epic hiking experience! I’m not sure I’ve got the stamina for it! I’d definitely love to try something like this one day though. It sounds like an incredible adventure that you’ll remember for a lifetime! Thanks so much for sharing it!

Krista
1 year ago

I’m not sure if I could manage to hike for 12hrs each day! It would definitely take me about a week to do this at a leisurely pace. It looks like an amazing trail to hike on though!

Ashlee Fechino
1 year ago

What a cool hike! I loved reading about Linville Gorge Grand Loop. We have never heard of this place but backpacking through the backwoods of NC looks incredible. We have heard of Daffodil Flats! So beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Tanya T
1 year ago

This is quite a hike. How did you physically prepare in advance? Did you do any training?

simplyjolayne
1 year ago

That is amazingly ambitious. I thought my 12-mile hike last weekend was a challenge with 1600 feet of elevation. 9000 feet of elevation gain sounds huge (and so not fun!). Congrats!

Laura Myers
Laura Myers
8 months ago

Wow! This is SO informative! My dad and I are planning a trip in the spring starting at Sitting Bear and ending at Wolfpit. I would also like to, eventually, complete the whole loop one day. Thank you for such great info!

Andrew
Andrew
6 months ago

Just finished this with a friend. We stayed for three nights by hammocking one night on the east side of the MST which is technically outside the gorge area. No way I hike that in three days.

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