Hiking the Table Rock Trail, NC

Table Rock

Dazzlingly beautiful views reward those who hike to the summit of iconic Table Rock on the rim of North Carolina’s beautiful Linville Gorge.

Chris & Mac of Grey Otter Outventures

Chris & Mac
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Length:  2.8 Miles Round Trip, Approximately
Trailhead(s):  Table Rock Parking Area *
Elevation Gain:  554’
Trail Type:  Out & Back
Dogs:  Allowed
Difficulty:  Moderate to Strenuous
Permit Required?  No
Considerations:  Rough Forest Service Road; * Road to Summit Closed January – March
Season:  April – December 


The summit of Table Rock, perched atop the rim of North Carolina’s beautiful Linville Gorge, has both amazing long views of the Blue Ridge Mountains as well as incredible views into the gorge.


The hike up the Table Rock Summit Trail is considered moderate because it is a steady climb.  Additionally, it is considered strenuous due to the final, steep push to the top.  Despite this, it is manageable for most.  We we were not overly bothered much by the final climb – just a little winded.

Atop Table Rock

Once at the summit the views in every direction are impressive.  We had a blast wandering about the big rock to check out each and every one of them.   We were careful, as you should be too, to keep our feet on rock.  There is a great deal of vegetation and other organic growth tucked in and around the rocks.  Because our careless footsteps up here can kill the vegetation that lives here, please do your part to keep it alive.

After our wanderings we sat for awhile to just soak it all in.  From atop Table Rock the top of the world views of the gorge and its amazing geology are exceptional.  Beyond the gorge, views of the elegant softness of the many peaks and folds of the Blue Ridge Mountains are spellbinding.  As such, all views from here are breathtakingly beautiful.  To top it off, the trail getting here is equally lovely.

Table Rock Summit Trail

Though sometimes offering peeks of the gorge, much of the Table Rock Summit Trail is thickly lined with exceptionally pretty foliage which blocks most views.  No worries, however, since the trail has much to offer.  For instance, for those who love rock (like me), it has gorgeous rock both surrounding the trail and underfoot.  Typical for the area, the rock adds a level of technicality to this trail making it moderately technical due to the need for some bigger steps here and there to get over rocks and roots.  These areas come and go, but what does not ever leave is the gorgeous scenery that surrounds the trail and changes with the seasons.

For example, spring and summer bring with them breathtaking hues and textures.  All around, thick green foliage is dotted with a delightful rainbow of wildflower blooms.  Lucky summer hikers are also treated to fabulous white and pink rhododendron blossoms.  In contrast, early fall finds the area dressed in brilliant hues of yellow, orange, and red, whereas in late fall and winter it wears starkly bare branches, opening up views which are hidden the rest of the year.  


Old Table Rock Road is an unpaved, rough and often deeply rutted forest service road which is not suitable for low clearance vehicles.  Wider vehicles like ours (we drove a dually truck here) may find the narrow road a bit unnerving, but the road has sufficient turn outs where they are needed for two way traffic to pass safely.  Just keep your eyes open and your headlights on so others can see you.  Additionally, as is always prudent, obey all posted signs as they are often there to keep us safe.
Because the road passes by a few trailheads on the way up you may find yourself wondering if you have gotten to your destination.  You will know you are nearing your destination when you get to pavement where the road gets very steep.  It is another mile and a half to reach the parking lot where the road ends.  The trailhead is at the near end of the parking lot where the road comes in.
Although hiking here is possible all year, winter and conditions are generally not optimal.  Additionally, during the harshest winter months of January through March, the last mile and a half of the road getting to the parking area is closed.  Hikers must park below the locked gate and walk up the road to reach the trailhead.

Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.

Additional Information (Click below to follow links.):

Table Rock Trail Slideshow

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Gear We Use for Day Hiking

To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for day hiking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.

Hiking DuPont State Forest, North Carolina

Articles About Other Regional Outventures

Click below to learn about other regional outventures in this area.

SAFETY DISCLAIMER:  The activities discussed in this website are outdoor activities and, as such, have inherent risks to which participants are exposed.  It is not the intent of this website, nor is it possible due to the variability of weather, terrain, equipment, and experience, to detail all of those risks.  The information contained in this site is informational, but not instructive nor exhaustive.  It is the sole responsibility of the user to ensure he/she is in good health, fully prepared, and fully informed as to dangers before undertaking any of the activities discussed in this website and the user does so at his/her own risk.  The user understands that by using this website he/she acknowledges and accepts all risks associated with use of information from this website and participation in any particular activity addressed herein.  Please see “Terms of Use” for additional information.

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