**Linville Falls Plunge Basin Trail**
I woke up on Wednesday to another foggy, drizzly morning in the blue ridge. Rather than seeking out a ridge hike where I doubted much would be visible, I decided to try and travel downward to the forest floor where I was hoping to catch some nice views of waterfalls and the beautiful Linville River. And it paid off!
I enjoyed a quiet morning at the cabin and didn't start off until around 11. My first adventure was to Linville Falls, which I decided to see via the Linville Falls Plunge Basin Trail. The trail head is directly beside the Linville Falls visitor center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. During peak season (May 1 - Nov 1), you can park at the visitor center for the hike. You can find the most up to date information about visitor center access [here.](https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/hours.htm) Since I was visiting in March, the 1.5 mile road to the visitor center was closed. There is an alternate trail option for winter hiking that is explained well [here.](https://ashevilletrails.com/linville-gorge/linville-falls-winter-hiking/). However, I didn't prepare well and didn't have a map to find the other trail head, so I ended up parking across the street from the visitor center road at a picnic area, and walking the 1.5 mile trek on the pavement.
The trail was very well maintained, had clear signage, and was overall easy to navigate. Not to mention it was very peaceful and vibrant with spring rain colors!
![blogPics](/static/img/155/fallstrail.jpg "Trail to the Falls")
I decided to head to the overlook first before exploring the floor of the falls. The fork for the overlook is about 1/3 of a mile into the hike. To head to the overlook, I turned right and quickly made it to the impressive overlook.
![blogPics](/static/img/155/fallsmain.jpg "Linville Falls Overlook")
After taking some time to enjoy the views, I headed back toward the main path. At the same fork in the trail I headed down toward the floor of the falls. The path was steep but didn't last too long.
![blogPics](/static/img/155/bottomfalls.jpg "Bottom of Linville Falls")
The bottom of the falls was a great spot to relax, take in the scenery, and enjoy my sandwich for lunch! On the way back, I followed the same trail back to the visitor center and followed the main road back to my car.
**Babel Tower Trail**
From the Linville Falls Visitor Center I made the ~30 minute drive to the Babel Tower Trailhead in Pisgah National Forest. Finding the trail head was relatively easy, however the road leading to the trail was unpaved and pretty rough. I drive a Subaru and didn't have any significant issues but there were stretches of very steep, very foggy, and very pot-holed roads. Drive carefully!
Once I started on the trail, I found that this trail was much harder to navigate, in the sense that there were much fewer signs than others in the area. Definitely do your homework and make sure you have a trail map before starting!
![blogPics](/static/img/155/babeltrail.jpg "Babel Tower Trail")
The trail was rocky and challenging at times, but also very peaceful and accompanied by nice background signs of rushing rivers. The sights of the rivers and the small falls were very pretty and relaxing.
![blogPics](/static/img/155/babelbottom.jpg "Bottom of the Babel Trail")
Full transparency here - I got SUPER lost on the way back up the trail. There were a lot more branches in the trail than I realized on my initial way down and before I realized it all of the trails looked the same and I had no idea where I came from. Please do your homework, bring a trail map, and make sure you're paying close attention to landmarks! I ended up making it out of the forest by following a steep trail up to try and find the road and then walking another .7 miles to my original parking position from there.