Babel Tower

Major real estate. There’s enough horizontal area to get the whole scout troop in here. Heck, you could host the entire jamboree. A 12-foot fall is surrounded with huge rock slabs. There is a wonderful sense of enclosure, almost 180 degrees of tall rock. The eastern wall reaches 100 feet into the sky. Lots of the rock in Linville Gorge is on the same plane as the river, much of it thinly bedded and stacked together like the flaky dough of a good croissant. Larger, blocky fractures produce at least a dozen different slab levels that step down into the water like it was quarried that way. Nice and smooth. You don’t need a blanket. Probably don’t even need clothes.

The fall empties into a chute about 15 feet long, rolling, boiling, churning. Think of the letter P. The chute is the stem of the letter and the hole is the body. Water quality appears excellent. It looks like there are a couple of jumps. There’s a modest one on the right, about 10 feet high, that you can walk right down to. It seems there’s a much higher jump on the left, about 20 feet, but you have to cross deep, fast moving water just above the fall. Potentially dangerous.

Plenty of people visit, the 1,000 vertical feet of hiking not withstanding. I saw remnants of at least five campfires on the rock adjoining the river. And if you’re going to make a fire in the wilderness, that is the most responsible place to put it.

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