Wiseman's View on the western side of Linville Gorge offers one of the most breathtaking vistas in the North Carolina mountains (often called the "Grand Canyon of Eastern America"). At roughly 3,400 feet elevation, there are two stone viewing places situated on the rock.
The second stone deck faces south. Wiseman's View is located along the unpaved (and hilly) Kistler Memorial Highway near Linville Falls in the Pisgah National Forest's Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. High clearance vehicles are advised! There is a huge parking lot and a paved 2/10 mile walk leading to the viewing spots.
While the greatest views need a few stairs, the highest viewing area (seen above) is wheelchair and scooter accessible. The parking lot has a single bathroom but no tourist center or water.
Because you are facing east, the sun shines on the hills and cliffs in front of you throughout the afternoons. Bring your binoculars to see the features in more detail (and watch people atop the summits across the gorge).
Keep an eye out for the Brown Mountain Lights at night. This route will take you past trailheads for Linville Falls, Pine Gap Trail, Bynum Bluff Trail, Cabin Trail, Babel Tower Trail, Sandy Flats Trail, Conley Cove-Rock Jock Trail, and Pinch In Trail. More information on Linville Gorge may be found here.
You'll need to drive around to the opposite side of the canyon to reach the summits of Hawksbill and Table Rock Mountains (about 14 miles). Both paths are short, but the vistas are breathtaking. See our guides to Hawksbill Mountain and Table Rock for more information.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is about a mile away (at Milepost 317.4). Stop at Chestoa View on the Parkway for a more simpler (but less dramatic) view of the Linville Gorge.
Avoid using GPS since it is extremely unreliable in our national forests. Many closed roads are marked on the map. Some open roads aren't! The best way to get there is to take US Highway 221 from Linville Falls. It is approximately 60 miles from Asheville. Take I-40 north to Marion. Exit 81 and make a left onto Sugar Hill Road. Continue for about 3 miles to US 221 North. Drive about 24 miles to Linville Falls on US 221. Take the first right onto NC Highway 183. After one mile, turn right onto the Kistler Memorial Highway at the enormous Linville Gorge sign (also known as 1238 and old NC 105). Wiseman's View is four miles away. You'll notice the Linville Falls parking lot right away. The dirt and gravel road is riddled with potholes and ruts. As a result, drive slowly. Higher clearance vehicles are preferable since low-to-the-ground sports cars may be damaged.