“A backcountry trail near the Linville Gorge Wilderness Loop.
— Max Willner
Hunting and fishing are allowed, but permits are required. Camping is permitted in the gorge, but permits are required from May 1 through October 31.
Birding — Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Parking is available at the Pinch-In Trail
, which is approximately half a mile south of the Rock Jock Trailhead along Old NC 105.
This trail can be combined with the Conley Cove Trail
, approximately 3.5 miles of the Linville Gorge Trail
, and the Pinch-In Trail
for a challenging 10.5 mile run.
This is a relatively difficult trail that may prove difficult to traverse due to weather, shrub overgrowth and multiple switchbacks. Bringing a map is highly recommended. There are several primitive campsites along Rock Jock Trail, but access to water is limited.
The south end of the trail is only signed by a plastic post on the side of Old NC 105. It can be very easy to miss if you are not looking for it. From there the trail quickly descends onto a shelf. This part of the trail is particularly exposed due to a recent fire as evidenced by the numerous charred trees in the area. Due to this exposure, this is also the region of the trail with the best views, both down into the gorge towards Linville River below and of Table Rock across the way.
The trail follows the shelf into several coves and across multiple boulder fields, which is where the trail can sometimes be lost due to detritus or downed trees. Finding the trail again is normally an effort in finding the nearest chainsawed tree. Volunteers do a good job of upkeep most of the time.
The northern half of the trail is relatively simple, with a somewhat constant elevation profile. The northern end is at the Conley Cove Trail
, approximately half a mile from Old NC 105. It is marked with a wooden sign.
Local flora - rhododendron, sand mrtyle, red chokeberry, azalea, turkey beard, bristly locust, yellow root, silverbell, orchids, ninebark, and wild indigo.
Local fauna - white-tail deer, black bears, squirrel, raccoon, grouse, turkey, vultures, owls, hawks, as well as brown and rainbow trout. There are also copperheads and timber rattlesnakes.