The Linville River originates approximately 1 mile east and down slope of Sugar Mountain, just across the valley from Grandfather Mountain. From its origin, the river flows quietly for several miles before reaching Linville Falls, a drop of some 85 feet.
Below this point the Linville Gorge proper begins, and the river and its immediate environs are protected by the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, an 11,000-acre tract that is part of Pisgah National Forest. This remote, rugged, beautiful country lends itself to hiking, rock climbing, and fishing, pursuits much saner than attempting to paddle this river. Because it is long, inaccessible, and steep, Linville River Gorge is arguably the most difficult stretch of whitewater in the eastern United States.
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