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5 Ways to View Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina + Dugger’s Creek Falls

Did you know there are 5 different ways to view Linville Falls and Dugger's Creek Falls along exciting hiking trails?

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

Located on these road trip routes:

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Explore the Blue Ridge Parkway Series

This article is part of the Blue Ridge Parkway series. Click the button to read more articles, itineraries, and travel guides in the series.

Linville Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls on the Blue Ridge Parkway. People eagerly hit the Linville Falls Trail for a quick hike out to a scenic overlook for a chance to see the towering waterfall. But did you know there are actually five different ways to view Linville Falls? Did you also know Dugger’s Creek Falls is also nearby?

Located on a spur road at Milepost 316.4 the waterfall is about two hours from Asheville and less than an hour from Blowing Rock. The area includes a visitor center, hiking trails, campground, and ample parking for all types of vehicles.

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Map of Linville Falls

How to use this map | Click the icon in the top-left corner to open the Map Legend, then click on any of the legend items to display more information. If you have a Google account, click the (very faint) star at the end of the map’s name to save this map to your account, then access the map from your smartphone during your trip.

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National Park Service app displayed on three smartphones

National Park Service App

The official National Park Service app is an all-in-one tool for planning a national park adventure and finding your way around the park. The app has information about every national park site across the country, essentially putting all the online information at your fingertips.

The free app features interactive maps, self-guided tours, amenities like restrooms, and lists of things to do. The powerful app has an offline mode – with a single tap, you can save the park for offline use to access all the information later. You’ll also have access to important information like alerts, contacts, fees, and operating hours.

Download the free app on iOS and Android.

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A concrete post marking the miles from the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway

What is a Milepost?

Mileposts on the Blue Ridge Parkway are concrete posts etched with numbers marking the distance from Waynesboro, Virginia, at Milepost 0. The last marker is Milepost 469 at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in Cherokee, North Carolina.

Like exit numbers on interstate highways, Mileposts are easy ways to determine the distance between attractions on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Linville Falls Visitor Center

The 1.5-mile spur road off the Blue Ridge Parkway leads to a very large parking at the Linville Falls Visitor Center. The parking lot has plenty of room for dozens of personal vehicles as well as long parking spots for campers and RVs.

The visitor includes restrooms akin to most other restrooms on the Parkway, which is to say they’re usually clean but not exactly top notch. The small one-room visitor center itself has a small gift shop with typical knick knacks, a few books, and clothing, and a large map of the area.

Both trails begin at the visitor center. The distances marked below are one-way from the visitor center. Enjoy!

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Two small waterfalls spill over smooth rocks into a river at Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

No. 1

Upper Falls Overlook

Upper Falls is exactly that: it’s a scenic overlook above Linville Falls, but with a view of another set of smaller waterfalls up river. The 0.5-mile hike along the wide and relatively flat gravel path is easy and only takes about 20 minutes. The final spur trail leads out to a flat area on exposed boulders at the point where the river takes the first plunge into the gorge.

Standing safely behind the stone wall you can actually look down at the water rushing through the narrow channel in the rocks. It’s pretty cool seeing the waterfall from this angle.

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The towering 90' tall Linville Falls at the Chimney View Overlook at Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina
The towering 90' tall Linville Falls at the Chimney View Overlook at Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

No. 2

Chimney View Overlook

Continuing along the Linville Falls Trail it’s about another 10 minute hike to a wooden staircase leading down to the Chimney View Overlook. The climb down is actually pretty strenuous; the wooden staircase gives way to a series of dirt steps with some pretty tall spaces in between.

The Chimney View Overlook is actually two overlooks, each located on a “chimney” structure of rocks along the gorge wall. The second outcropping is actually the better view of Linville Falls and offers a larger area for groups.

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A wide scenic overlook with the waterfall in the distance at Erwin's View at Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

No. 3

Erwin’s View

The last 1/10-mile hike is a doozy as the trail ascends almost 800’. It’s a strenuous climb over roots, rocks, and uneven terrain to the very end of the Linville Falls Trail at two scenic overlooks.

The Gorge View faces away from the waterfall and offers a nice view overlooking the gorge trailing off into the distance. It’s a nice view, but not one I tend to admire all that much.

Instead, I always end my journey at the spectacular Erwin’s View. From here you’re about a quarter mile from the waterfall so it looks very tiny. But this overlook provides the best view of the entire gorge, waterfall, and surrounding landscape.

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No. 4

Plunge Basin Overlook

The trail begins with a gentle 100’ ascent and then descends the rest of the way. The path is narrower than the Linville Falls Trail but still well-maintained.

At a half mile from the visitor center the trail will split with the left leading to Plunge Basin and the right a spur trail to the Plunge Basin Overlook. It’s a short but steep climb down to the overlook and only takes a few minutes.

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The waterfall crashes into the Plunge Basin at Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

No. 5

Plunge Basin

Continuing along the Plunge Basin Trail you’ll find the most strenuous quarter mile at Linville Falls. The trail descends about 600’ across jagged rocks and roots and steep drops to the bottom of the gorge. Several staircases make parts of the climb easier, but ultimately, it’s gonna take a bit of effort to get down (and back up again).

The trail come to the river just around a bend from the waterfall. Giant, flat boulders are exposed when water levels aren’t too high. A short walk around the bend brings you to the view of the bottom of Linville Falls. It’s pretty awesome to be able to see the water crashing through the channel into the river and rushing around this giant boulder right in the middle.

I have to stress, though, that swimming is not allowed here. Just beyond the massive boulder in the photo below is a shallow pool at the base of the waterfall. Swimming is not allowed on the Blue Ridge Parkway and it’s just a little bit dangerous that close to a 90′ waterfall.

The view from Plunge Basin is awesome, but you are gonna have to work hard to see it. The climb back up is the most difficult part.

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A small trickle of a waterfall called Dugger's Creek Falls in a narrow rock ravine at Linville Falls on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

Dugger’s Creek Falls

After hiking to the various views of Linville Falls it is entirely understandable that you might miss Dugger’s Creek Falls altogether. After all it took me years before I even realized it was there!

Dugger’s Creek Falls is a short 6’ waterfall in a tiny ravine, but the view is really nice. It’s only a 0.25-mile hike from the visitor center to get there. The hike is easy and takes about ten minutes. A rustic footbridge crosses about 30’ from the waterfall, but the best view to see it is to climb down to the creek and walk underneath the bridge.

Don’t rule out a hike to Dugger’s Creek Falls just because it’s small. It’s also secluded and less crowded.

6 Responses

  1. Thanks so much for this and all your other articles for traveling Gatlinburg and the Smokies, and the Blue Ridge. I’m reading them, making notes, and planning our upcoming vacation this April around them.

    1. You’re very welcome, Michelle. Please feel free to send me an email if you ever have any questions about planning your vacation.

  2. I’m heading there today for the first time. Really looking forward to it and found your information extremely insightful.

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