“A crazy route with diverse terrain, and gorgeous views in the Wilson Creek Area. This route was made for running.”
— Brandon Thrower
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
This loop in the Wilson Creek Area has it all on very navigable terrain. There are good views through the woods and an epic view of South Harper Falls and Grandfather Mtn from an amazing perch on a cliff. Minus the first half mile, the entire route can be easily negotiated, and you could pick up the pace for that first half mile if you really wanted to red line off the bat.
Need to Know
This loop is located within a Wilderness Area, which means keep you group size down to 10 or less.
The route starts behind the Wilson Creek Visitor Center on the Pine Ridge Trail
. Take the Pine Ridge Trail
to the Pine Ridge Connector
, and turn left to follow this very nice stretch of easy gradient running. Take this trail to FS198 and turn right. Follow this road with good views of Brown Mountain until you reach the Mountain to Sea Trail.
Continue straight onto the MST until you reach the yellow blazed Raider Camp Trail
. Turn left for a short out and back to the epic view of South Harper Falls. Return back to the intersection and the continue onto the MST (also Raider Camp). This section is an epic downhill with some technical spots to a mandatory creek crossing of Harper Creek.
Once across the creek, turn right (stay straight really) onto the Harper Creek Trail
and follow this flatish trail back down to Brown Mountain Beach Road. Turn right onto the road and work your way back to the visitor center where you started.
If you'd like to add some additional length and scenery to your run, you can extend the loop by taking the Harper Creek Trail
. You can even make this trail your starting point, and it will add similar views to your journey.