Now that the kids are older, Mr. Garner and I are re-discovering our love of hiking. Part of our decision to drive the Blue Ridge was in order to chase a few waterfalls! North Carolina has gorgeous waterfalls. If you’ve seen the French and Indian War historical drama, Last of the Mohicans, with Daniel Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe, you’ve seen some beautiful North Carolina waterfalls! Ralph had the challenge of selecting just a few waterfalls for us to see in a very short time, so he went for the Wow! factor and totally nailed it with Linville Falls.
This was actually our fourth stop in one day. We stopped at the New River, we had a picnic, and we stopped at the Linn Cove Viaduct before we made it to the falls. In fact, Mr. Garner was beginning to think we weren’t going to make it! I had to remind him that the sun does not set until 8 ish o’clock in August! There were still plenty of hikers when we got there around 4 ish in the afternoon (See! plenty of time!). We had to make a quick decision about which hike to take, there are several choices, with varying degrees of difficulty. We chose the moderate hike that actually provides three views of the falls.
The first overlook spot is situated on an outcropping of rippling rock which stretches out into the upper section of the river and allows a 180° view as the water flows over the upper falls, narrows, enters a winding canyon and then drops out of site. The next two viewpoints are further down the gorge and allow you to look back and see in the distance the upper falls, as well as where the water emerges from the canyon, drops 45 feet over the cliff side into the plunge basin and continue down the gorge. The hiking isn’t a tremendous distance, not even a mile, but it is consistently uphill. So the key, if you spend most of your time in the flatlands of coastal Virginia like I do, is to bring your phone and take pictures of red mushrooms, lovely leaves, interesting tree trunks, and amazing rock formations on the trail while you catch your breath!
You actually hear the water before you see the water! I think one of my favorite moments of this entire vacation occurred as we were nearing the first overlook. We could hear the rushing water from the trail. GraceNotes was a few feet ahead of me, so she saw it first, and I got to watch her as she rounded the trail and saw the upper falls. Her eyes widened in wonder and her jaw dropped as she gasped out “WOW!” Then she turned to me, her face an expression of awe and said “Mom! Hurry! You’ve GOT to see this!”
Here are two videos we took – you can hear the water too!
This is the third in a series of posts about our wonderful summer vacation in the Blue Ridge! Thank you so much for reading! If you are interested in the other posts you’ll find them here: