Find one of the best observation points in the North Carolina mountains about 20 miles from Sugar Mountain – at Wiseman’s View overlooking the Linville Gorge in Pisgah National Forest. From two rock stages, look down to the Linville River 1,500 feet below and across the deepest gorge in the eastern USA. Across the canyon, see the iconic peaks of Hawksbill and Table Rock mountains. It’s four miles from a parking area for Linville Falls and five miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Wiseman’s View is perched at 3,400 feet elevation. Two rock observation decks give you “on the edge” views from the rim of Linville Gorge, a canyon carved by the river flowing below Linville Falls. The deck in the photo above looks south past Table Rock mountain. While the best views require some steps, the upper viewing area is wheelchair and scooter accessible. A short (2/10 of a mile) paved trail connects the parking area. Afternoons are the best for lighting up the opposite side of the gorge.
To the far left of the main observation area, you can walk out on the rock ledge – be careful! This view highlights Hawksbill Mountain (see our Hawksbill Hiking Guide). The trailheads for the hikes to the summits of Hawksbill and Table Rock Mountains are located on the other side of the gorge (about a 15-mile drive from here).
Reach Wiseman’s View by driving a unpaved road (Kistler Memorial Highway) through the Pisgah National Forest Linville Gorge Wilderness Area – about 4 miles past the Linville Falls parking area. It has bumpy spots, ruts and holes. Higher clearance vehicles are recommended – but 4 wheel drive is not needed. There’s a “outhouse” at the parking area, but there is no visitor center or water.
Directions from Sugar Mountain
Allow about 40 minutes to drive the 20.5 miles to Wiseman’s View. There are several routes you can take – including part of the Blue Ridge Parkway (exit at Milepost 317.4). GPS is not the most reliable in Pisgah National Forests since there are no street addresses. Find it on Google Maps.
- From Sugar Mountain entrance, turn right on NC Highway 184. Drive 1.6 miles.
- At the stoplight at NC 105, turn right. Drive 4 miles to Linville.
- At the stoplight at US 221, turn right onto US 221 South.
- In a half mile, turn left to stay on US 221 South.
- Drive 3 miles and turn left onto NC Highway 181 South.
- Drive 3.3 miles and turn right onto NC Highway 183 North.
- Drive 3.8 miles and look for the Linville Gorge sign. Turn left onto the Kistler Memorial Highway / Old NC 105.
- Drive 4 miles on this unpaved roads. Drive slow and watch for ruts and potholes! You will pass the Linville Falls parking area on the left and several trailhead parking areas. Look for the “Wiseman’s View” sign and turn left to find a large parking area.