Pinch In Trail

At A Glance

Most Difficult

1.5 mi one-way

Difficulty Rating: 4.83
Steepness: Climbs Steeply
Tread Condition: Moderately Rough
Lowest Elevation: 1530 ft
Highest Elevation: 3220 ft
Climb Total: 1690 ft
Trail Number: 228


Starting on the west rim of Linville Gorge at the parking area on Kistler Memorial Highway, the trail descends the gorge steeply all the way down to the Linville River 1700 vertical ft below. It passes first through some mid-elevation forested areas but quickly moves into fire-scalded open ridges dominated by young trees and shrubs.

The scenery along much of the middle section of the trail (as of 2018) is unreal, very not typical of what you normally find hiking in the southern Appalachians. Rocky, exposed terrain with huge boulders and outcrops gives way to cliffs with very little in the way of tree cover to obscure the views of the gnarly walls of the gorge across the river. (The many young trees will quickly re-gain their height and obscure the views as the years go by of course, unless fires repeatedly claim the area as they once did historically). A high, ephemeral waterfall spills off the cliffs in the adjacent cove during very wet weather.

Near the bottom, the trail re-enters the gorge-bottom forest where some impressively large trees grow, spared by the flames, in winter only partly obscuring the daunting view back up to the ridge line.

While it is very steep, the trail is surprisingly well-constructed and manages to circumnavigate the worst spots and is reasonable on the erosion and obstacle scales. But, it's going to be a taxing hike since the only way out is back up, and the exposure can make it wicked hot when the sun is shining. Bring plenty of water.

This is a wilderness trail, so it is not blazed, but it is fairly obvious and easy to follow, and there are signs at important intersections. Some unofficial, unmarked side paths lead to interesting view points. Highly recommended if you're prepared for the strenuous trek.

This trail is located in the Linville Gorge area. For a list of all the trails in that area, see the Linville Gorge trails list page.

All Photos from the Trail

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Average Rating: 5.0 (rated 1 times)

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luke said: Tough hike but if your fishing good pools for big smallmouth bass and bluegill but didnt see any trout.

Tuesday, October 8 2019 4:06pm
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