Trail Run Project Logo

Isaacs Trailhead to Grassy Creek/Carter Falls



6.8 mile 10.9 kilometer loop
95% Runnable


Ascent: 538' 164 m
Descent: -538' -164 m
High: 1,171' 357 m
Low: 1,005' 306 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

A run in the woods on a trail that leads to a wine tasting room, ice cream shop, and/or a waterfall is a must.

Keith Sidden

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Waterfall · Wildlife


The trail system between Isaacs Trailhead and Carter Falls offers something for everyone. The trail is mostly wooded and flat, and it is well marked. A spur trail leads to Grassy Creek Vineyard's tasting room. The trail follows mostly along the North Carolina Mountains to Sea Trail. This section includes an Enchanted Forest, ice cream options at Byrd's Campground, and a run down to the base of Carter Falls, a hidden treasure just outside of Elkin, NC.

Need to Know

If you plan to visit Grassy Creek Vineyard or Byrd's Branch Campground store, make sure to check in advance for hours of operation.

Runner Notes

The smooth surface of this trail makes is ideal for trail running.


The trail starts at Isaacs Trailhead on Carter Mill Road. After parking, you'll cross Carter Mill Road and connect with the trail. The trail is well-blazed with white circular blazes representing the North Carolina Mountains to Sea Trail.

The trail follows along Grassy Creek crossing several bridges, eventually leading to Brookfall Dairy Road. You'll turn left and run briefly along the road before turning right into the woods at the trail sign showing Stone Mountain to the right. Follow this trail through the woods and uphill. It will exit the woods and follow along a field on your left.

The trail enters back into the woods where you have the option of turning right to visit Grassy Creek Vineyard or left to continue to Carter Falls. The vineyard trail comes out at the tasting room. Check with Grassy Creek Vineyard for operational hours.

By taking a left turn, you'll continue toward Carter Falls. The trail will cross over Martin-Byrd Road and then go through the first of two enchanted forests. You'll pass beside a pond and then uphill to the second forest. Make sure you follow the white blazes in these forests. The trail will cross Martin-Byrd Road once more and take you through Byrd Branch Campground. Stop by the camp store to enjoy some ice cream on the run.

The trail will then head up Martin Byrd Road for a small distance to the Carter Falls Trailhead parking area. Pass through the parking area, and rejoin the woods as you travel to Carter Falls. As you run through the woods, you'll hear the roar of the falls.

The trail emerges at the summit of the falls with beautiful views. Continue on the trail to the base of the falls. Make sure to use caution and follow the switchbacks as you descend to the base of the falls. This is the end of the path. Retrace your steps back to your vehicle at Isaacs Trailhead. This easy run of approximately 6 miles is an excellent running option close to Elkin, NC.

Flora & Fauna

Be on the lookout for deer on this run. You may even see heron and other beautiful birds along Grassy Creek.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

History & Background

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.

Rate This Run

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In



Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 3 votes


in Elkin


  4.0 from 3 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Run Rankings


in Elkin


in North Carolina


93 Views Last Month
1,627 Since Oct 24, 2018



The rewarding ending to this hike takes place at the base of Carter Falls.
Nov 29, 2018 near Elkin, NC


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running