Linville Gorge Wilderness Overnight Permits - 3 Days in Advance

National Forests in North Carolina

In order to maintain solitude consistent with Wilderness character, an overnight camping permit is needed on weekends May through October. Permits are only required for overnight camping within the designated Wilderness boundary. Camping on Hawksbill and Shortoff are examples of popular camping areas that fall within the Wilderness boundary. There are no designated campsites within the Wilderness. The permit system is based on the total number of people camping per night and does not require reserving a campsite. Permits are not needed for day use, roadside camping, or camping on Table Rock.

The United States Congress designated the Linville Gorge Wilderness in 1964 and it now has a total of 11,653 acres. The Wilderness Act defines wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” 

It's clear why Linville Gorge was set aside for this special level of protection as a Wilderness Area. From its headwaters high on Grandfather Mountain, the powerful Linville River patiently carves the rugged, steep-walled gorge that encloses it for approximately 12 miles. Within the gorge, the river drops a dramatic 2,000 feet before leveling out in the Catawba Valley. East of the gorge is Jonas Ridge; west is Linville Mountain. The gorge's rim extends 3,400 feet, compared to the river's average of 2,000 feet. Iconic rock formations along the eastern rim - Sitting Bear, Hawksbill, Table Rock, the Chimneys, and Shortoff Mountain.Trails are mostly difficult, and the terrain is challenging and remote. Cell service is limited. 

Additional requirements are in place to maintain Wilderness character, including prohibitions against machine-powered equipment and wheeled travel. Removal of rocks or vegetation from the Wilderness is also prohibited. Visitors are required to practice leave-no-trace at all times. Group size is limited to 10 people, and length of stay is limited to two nights (three days).

Permit & Season Information

Permits are required to camp within the Wilderness on Friday and Saturday nights May through October. On 3-day holiday weekends, permits are also required for Sunday night camping. Permits are not required for day use, roadside camping, or camping on Table Rock.

Need to Know

You are responsible for knowing and abiding by all National Forest rules and regulations. 

You are responsible for your own safety. Wilderness travel carries inherent risk. Understand your own limitations and the limitations of your group when planning a backcountry trip. Much of this wildness backcountry is extremely remote, rugged, and subject to all manner of adverse weather conditions. Please be prepared to self-rescue. 

Permit holders are required to carry a copy of their permit at all times.  

Backcountry camping is limited to 3 days and 2 consecutive nights within the wilderness boundary during all days of the week. Group size is limited to 10 persons.  

Violations may be subject to citation and may result in the permit being revoked.

Planning and Registration Process. 

Campsites and Fires:

Vehicles and Parking:

Food and Water Storage: 

Human Waste:

Fee Policy

There is a $6.00 non-refundable reservation fee for all overnight permit reservations in the Linville Gorge Wilderness.  

All payments must be made electronically through 

Payments cannot be made over the phone unless reserved through 

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Policy:

The $6.00 reservation fee is 100% non-refundable, including for cancellations made prior to the 24-hour cancellation window.  

Change Policy:

Changes may be made to your reservation (dates and desired destination) as late as one day prior to your permitted entry date. No follow-up is required with district staff.  

To change an entry date, you must cancel the permit and reserve a new permit. All fees apply.  

One alternate trip leader may be designated at the time of reservation. The trip leader and alternate trip leader may not be changed and must be present for the permit to be valid. 

Contact Information

Mailing Address

109 East Lawing Dr. Nebo NC 28761

Phone Number

(828) 652-2144

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