About this TrailUpper Wilson Creek is dead center in a National Forest Roadless Area, as well as being a Wild and Scenic River. The stream begins in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the lower two miles flow into the upper Piedmont. This creates a great elevation span ranging from 5920 feet at Calloway Peak on Grandfather Mountain to 1020 feet at the confluence with Johns River. This 4000 foot plus elevation difference is the greatest relief found anywhere along the Blue Ridge Front. In terms of providing a large protected habitat for animals and plants, the combination of Wilson Creek, Lost Cove WSA, Harper Creek WSA, Sugar Knob and Steels Creek is more important than each individual area.
Most of the hike is alongside the creek. The prime attractions of the areas are their streams, though there are tremendous views from Beacon Heights in the Upper Wilson Creek Area, and from Big Lost Cove Cliffs. There are sparkling alluvial rock deposits, cascades, big boulders, little boulders, and aerated plunge pools. All are trout streams. There are pockets of old growth forest in the most inaccessible areas.
Wilson Creek and its tributaries Little Wilson, Stackrock and Andrews Creeks, National Wild and Scenic Rivers, provide plenty of opportunities for kayaking.
Directions to Trailhead (or put-in on water trails)10 miles southeast of Blowing Rock, Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest. From Mortimer Recreation Area on NC 90, go W and then N approx. 7 miles to a parking area and junction with FS Trail 258 which runs up Wilson Creek in center of the wild area. It can also be accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway W of Grandfather Mtn.
Notes on Difficulty RatingThe trail system is well developed and extremely popular, making many backpacking/camping loops possible.