by Carson Feather Whitmore
Located in Linville Gorge, “the Grand Canyon of the East”, Shortoff Mountain offers impressive Appalachian peaks and views on one side and the open expanse of Piedmont farmlands to the other. Parts of the rigorous ten-mile round trip trail are along North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail. As the largest cliff in the gorge, Shortoff is a popular spot for climbers. If you plan to climb any of the challenging pitches, be sure to check for closures—at times parts of the area are closed for Peregrine Falcon nesting. (for some great views and info, check out the story with our friends at RootsRated HERE). Shortoff offers some of the most gorgeous sites you’ll ever see and we are proud to partner with great folks, like the crews at ENO at Footsloggers to steward the Gorge. Check out our Wilderness Ranger program HERE and sign up. Wild South’s Wilderness Rangers patrol, maintain and remove invasive species in the Linville Gorge- it’s Gorg-eous!
You’ll definitely notice the regrowth from the substantial forest fires of 2002, again in 2007 – and most recently in 2013. These fires were more destructive than most, burning naturally fire tolerant trees and brush. Fire is a controversial issue, but with strong scientific backing, it is clear that fire is an important part of the Linville ecosystem and we are always happy to speak with folks about how to get involved. With good management practices and support from partners and organizations like Wild South, the wild character of Linville and Shortoff will continue to be preserved protected. This summer, take time to enjoy the inspiring expanse of the gorge from the heights of Shortoff Mountain. So grab a friend, a map and stop in to find the right gear for the always-changing weather at Footsloggers and launch off into the Linville Gorge!