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The Wiseman's View Trail is an easy, 0.02-mile paved wheelchair-accessible walk that is reached via a four-mile drive on a dirt road that has several rutted and bumpy spots.
But it's worth the drive to look out over Linville Gorge to the iconic Western North Carolina views of Hawksbill and Table Rock mountains.
Two hawk's nest overlooks direct the visitor's gaze at the two peaks separately, as well as the gorge and the Linville River some 2,000 feet below.
On the northern end of the site (below), beyond the rail fence, you can climb down to a rock ledge that overlooks the gorge north of Hawksbill. Decades ago, before the Forest Service developed the day use area, this was the primary Wiseman's View overlook.
Below, a view of the side of the gorge from the ledge.
The area is free and open year-round and, according to the Forest Service and our experience, gets heavy use.
Prohibiting alcohol on the sheer cliffs of Linville Gorge is not the worst rule anyone has ever adopted.
Wiseman's View is in northwest Burke County off of Kistler Memorial Highway (SR 1238). Reach it from N.C. 183 at Linville Falls. From U.S. 221, look for the brown sign at the N.C. 183 split and then the Forest Service sign where Kistler Memorial Highway begins to the right off of N.C. 183.
The road passes the Forest Service's entrance to Linville Falls, the Linville Cabin information center and several Linville Gorge trailheads before coming to the directional sign to Wiseman's View. Click on the map for a larger version.