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The Raiders of the Pines Fitness Loop



13.3 mile 21.4 kilometer loop
87% Runnable


Ascent: 2,217' 676 m
Descent: -2,231' -680 m
High: 2,835' 864 m
Low: 1,412' 430 m


Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)


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Trail shared by Brandon Thrower

A crazy route with diverse terrain, and gorgeous views in the Wilson Creek Area. This route was made for running.

Brandon Thrower

Features 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.

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Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background


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Oct 13, 2018
Drew Cheney
Pine Ridge trail was severely overgrown hard to follow in spots! overall lots of fun besides that! 14.3mi
Jun 23, 2018
Jessica Matthews
First 3-4 miles were super overgrown. Last mile and a half is on dirt rode with cars 12.5mi

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 10 votes


in Wilson Creek


  3.9 from 10 votes
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in Wilson Creek


98 Views Last Month
3,805 Since Jan 16, 2017



Take a breather at the South Harper Falls Overlook and truly enjoy the falls' majesty.
Jan 16, 2017 near Linville, NC
View of Grandfather Mountain from Raider Camp Trail
Mar 21, 2020 near Linville, NC
Crossing Harper Creek on Raider Camp / Mountains to Sea Trail.
Mar 21, 2020 near Linville, NC


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