The Linville Gorge Wilderness ("The Grand Canyon of North Carolina") is the third largest wilderness area in North Carolina (after Shining Rock Wilderness and Joyce-Kilmer Slickrock Wilderness) and one of only two wilderness gorges in the Southern United States (along with Bald River Gorge Wilderness in Tennessee). Maintained by the United States Forest Service, it comprises 11,786 acres (47. 7 km2) around the Linville River, and is situated inside the Pisgah National Forest. The river is approximately 1,400 feet (400 m) below the ridge, thus hiking in and out of the Gorge is challenging and enjoyable for those who like serious hiking. The plant and animal community is extremely diverse, with a dense hardwood/pine forest and a wide variety of smaller trees and other plants as well as bear, fox, raccoon, trout, grouse, wild turkey, vultures, owls, hawks, copperheads, and timber rattlesnakes.
Popular tourist attractions in or near the wilderness are:
Linville Falls, a waterfall fed by the river and free to the public.
Wiseman's View, a rock outcrop near the center of the gorge that gives an excellent view of the interior of the gorge.
Linville Caverns, a privately maintained cave attraction accessible by automobile from U.S. Route 221.
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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Linville Gorge Wilderness", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.