Hike to the Summit of Shortoff Mountain

North Carolina Shortoff Mountain Trailhead

Added by Justin Costner

  • Distance: 4.4 mile out and back gaining 1,321 ft of elevation en route to the summit
  • Expansive views of the Linville Gorge and surrounding peaks
  • Amazing vistas for sunset
  • Some of the biggest and best walls in the south for Rock Climbing
  • Day hike or overnight

Start your hike from the Shortoff Mountain Trail off of Wolf Pit Road at the base of Lake James. From the summit there is a small grassy area off a side trail that provided awesome cliff side views of the Gorge and Linville River! You can setup after making the hour and a half trek (maybe just in time to witness one of the best sunsets ever).

If you start the hike late and you're lucky, the skies will stay clear for the night and with no moon, the Milky Way appears in the southeast! The great thing about this hike is that you can easily stay and camp if you'd like. If you decide to stay and camp, the nights on Shortoff no matter what season can get chilly with the winds howling across the 4,000 ft summit relentlessly so be prepared! This is definitely one of the most scenic spots in the southeast! With a natural fresh water spring, well marked trails and duration-overnight camping.

Pack List

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Hammock
  • Climbing Gear
  • Cook set
  • Fuel
  • Water Filter
  • Camera
  • Tripod
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Backpacking, Camping, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



4.4 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1321 Feet



Dog Friendly

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How to Get There

about 1 month ago

Amazing Views!

Our family of four (youngest = 11) and two dogs hiked 3 miles in. We experienced absolutely breathtaking views of Lake James, Linville Gorge and Table Rock during the ascent and once we reached the summit. It was a pretty intense trail half of the way with rocky terrain but the views are totally worth it. The only issue we had was finding the trail head. GPS did not take us directly to Wolf Pit Rd because of spotty service and there is no road sign. We guessed and thankfully ended up in the right spot! Pack lots of water for this hike and wear good supportive hiking shoes.

about 1 month ago

about 1 year ago

Awesome hike. The hike provides a different terrain than most trails in North Carolina. The campsites were easy to locate but they fill up fast on weekends.

about 1 year ago

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