Date of Adventure: 10/16/2012
Type of Adventure: Hiking
Total Distance Hiked: 1.6 miles from parking lot to summit and back
Those in Attendance: Evan Grady
Location: Table Rock, Linville Gorge
Table Rock is a 4,101′ mountain on the eastern rim of the Linville Gorge Wilderness, and one of the most prominent peaks around Linville Gorge. This “rock” is also supposed to be one of the best rock climbing spots in the eastern US, although I have not taken that adventure yet (maybe later).
Fortunately for those of you who want to experience Table Rock without having a long hike, there is a parking lot nearby. The hike to the top is less than 1 mile.
I first laid eyes on Table Rock during my first visit to Linville Gorge in 2012. There are some pretty cool views of the mountain from the east once you exit I-40 in Morganton. However, one of my favorite views of the jagged peak is from the Brown Mountain Overlook on NC Hwy 181.
For this hike, I was attending a class in nearby Hickory that ended early in the afternoon, so we decided to drive up to Table Rock while there were still a few hours of daylight. After winding and winding through miles of forest service roads, we arrived at the Table Rock parking lot.
In an effort to complete this trip and be back in Hickory before a scheduled dinner, we had to rush, so I didn’t get to take many pictures. Moving at an increased pace, we had to stop several times to catch our breath, as this trail, although short, can get fairly steep in places. but we made it to the top in just under 30 minutes.
From the peak, on a clear day like we were privileged to, you will be offered some pretty amazing views. Looking north, you can see Grandfather Mountain, which is about 14 miles away, and just to the left, you can see an obvious man-made structure sticking above the mountains which is known as SugarTop Condos.
I’ll have to admit, though, that Linville Gorge does not look nearly as impressive and rugged from the top of Table Rock as it does from the western rim of the gorge. Maybe it is just because you are much higher that the rest of the surrounding landscape.
If you make it to the top, try and pick out the Wiseman’s View observation points to the WNW. They are pretty tough to spot, but if you look hard enough and know what you are looking for, you will eventually find them.