Plunge Basin Falls Photo Copyright © 2006 G. Kiser
The Linville Falls area is just North of the Linville Gorge along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can find this attraction at milepost 316.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, South of the Linn Cove Viaduct. A second trailhead can also be located off of Kistler Memorial Highway (Old NC 105) off of NC 183. To view the Linville Falls, your best bet would be the former which is where the visitor's center is.
Once in the parking lot, you will find the visitor's center with a map of the park, and some pictures of the waterfalls. You will find the trail head near this building and will hike 0.2 miles before you come to fork in the path. To get an aerial view of the Linville Falls, take the right fork and proceed another 0.3 miles. You will come to a series of steep stairs leading to the stone walled observation deck. From here you are able to look down into the Plunge Basin. While this is not a perfect view of the falls, it really gives you an idea of the magnitude of the land you are currently inhabiting.
To get closer to the falls, you would need to have taken the left fork, heading to the base of the falls. I have not taken that path as of yet, but will do so in the near future. A separate entry will be made for each of the observation locations of the many falls, and views in the Linville Falls area.
Update 07-11-2007--I have completed all the trails at Linville Falls. For information about the left fork that leads to the bottom of the Gorge, please click here.
I will not say how exactly I got this particular shot here. I will tell you this, however... Kevin Adams put it best in his book North Carolina Waterfalls, A hiking and photography guide, when he said "If you foolishly decide to ignore the warning signs (as some people do) and climb over the wall at this point, at least have the courtesy to notify the rangers so they can prepare a dive team to find your body." We'll just leave it at that and call it a lesson learned. Had it not been for a particular flowering plant I really wanted in the composition, I would have stayed on the safe side of the wall.
From a photographer's point of view, this overlook is probably the least productive in the whole park. It is a nice hike, but the end results will likely leave you wanting more. I would suggest taking any of the other trails before you go down this one.