Summary: Ok this is one for the tough, and this is probably one of the easiest trails in the Gorge. The climb from the river back to your car is intense, and you will think you have hiked 10 miles before you get there. In the spring Wild flowers grow at trailside, and the views of the river at the tower are breath taking, you are standing on a ledge with about 400 Ft. of air between you and the river.
Don't miss continuing down the trail to the river you might see a Brown Trout of better than 36 inches there, to say nothing of its rugged beauty. Crossing the river is not recommended here. When you get back to your car, go the extra mile down SR-1238 to Wisemans View, The views of the Gorge, Hawksbill Rock, and Table Rock are outstanding there. Its only a short easy walk down to the viewing platforms.
Trailhead: From Asheville take 1-40 East to Marion exit NC-221. Drive North Aprox. 18 Mi. to Jct. NC-183 at linville falls Resturant. Turn right on # 183 go about 0.25 Mi. to Jct of Kistler Memorial Highway (SR-1238) turn right here. It is 2.7 Mi. to the parking area and trailhead on the Left down this sometimes rough dirt road. I would not recommend this if Snow and ice might be present. (Lat:35.91862 Lon:-81.91962)
Trail Guides for Babel Tower Trail:
North Carolina Hiking Trails (third edition)
by Allen de Hart (Appalachain Mountain Club Books.)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Summer,
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs,
Ranger Contact: District Ranger, Grandfather Ranger District, 1-828 652-2144
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Steve Owen, who has posted 11 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by Todd on 7/9/2016
Hiked during summer and the conditions are perfect for this trail. Its all down hill there and all uphill back to the parking area. Babel Tower is a little over a mile hike there and a loss of about 800 feet in elevation. Its just under a half mile more down to the river. Its gorgeous and a great place to swim, hang out on the rocks and relax. We had my 8 year old daughter with us and our time down was 65 minutes. Time getting back up to the parking lot was 90 minutes with five 2 minute breaks. I recommend this hike for sure.
Reviewed by JD on 12/23/2009
This trail is one of the best on the East coast. Rugged down, kick-your-butt out and up. When your done, you have something to talk about in those conversations with your hiking friends. We've camped on top of Babel Tower, had the some of the best fishing and rock climbing that our family has ever had. Go there, do this trail, you will not regret a minute of it!! Fabulous scenary, rustic environment, the best camping ever.
Reviewed by DEH on 2/7/2008
Its a very nice hike, but like what was posted earlier, its a harder hike out than it is down. We're planning on doing it again. It nature at its best, the sounds of the river flowing and the wind in the trees in undescribable.
Reviewed by C on 9/22/2007
Nice hike down but quite strenuous up. Once you get to the river there is a small waterfall and swimming hole that are quite fun to swim in. Its really fun to slide down the waterfall. Dont worry, it is very deep. I have jumped off the ledge to the left of the waterfall
Reviewed by J. on 4/9/2007
This trail is one of my personal favorites. Hike Spence Ridge or Pine Gap if you want it easy. This is by far, not the hardest trail in the Gorge. As a previous poster commented, this trail is rough (Welcome to Wilderness). The tree snags and overgrowth will be improving over the next several months. However, the trail grade is virtually impossible to modify. This trail has been adopted by a new group and we will do or best to remove obstacles and fallen trees, but please remember that this is Wilderness.
Reviewed by Erin on 9/14/2006
The veiws are well worth the climb. If you can get to the top of Babel Tower I would recommend it. Wonderful!
Reviewed by Gaelen on 7/24/2004
extremely rough poorly maintainened trail. Not much to say.
Reviewed by Michael on 10/6/2003
This is one of my favorite trailheads into the gorge. Really nice in the spring for the flowers and you still have some visibility before the vegetation is too thick. For a day hike this is a good one. For an easier way to get into the gorge for a day hike though I would reccomend Spence Ridge Trail ... much easier ... but not as spectacular on the views.
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