People flock to the Wilson Creek area of the Pisgah National Forest for one main reason: to frolic in the creeks, streams and pools that snake though this catchment at the base of the Blue Ridge escarpment below Grandfather Mountain. A most popular spot on a hot summer’s day. But there’s a way to beat the crowds. Two, actually:
- Go during Wilson Creek’s shoulder seasons (spring and late fall), when the water remains brisk for most people’s taste.
- Visit the creeks and streams that are a little less accessible.
That’s the strategy for our April visit to the Wilson Creek area, a backpack basecamp trip that involves 5 miles of hiking in full pack, about 14 in day packs. Here’s how the weekend will unfold:
Friday: Arrive at Wilson Creek Visitor Center at 3 p.m. We’ll drive 20 minutes to the Hunt-fish Falls Trailhead and hike a mile to our camp for the night.
Saturday: We will take a 7.1-mile day hike up Gragg Prong, checking out the great falls and pools along the way, and practicing our water crossing skills. We’ll continue up to Bee Mountain, then return to camp down Lost Cove Creek. Back at camp, we’ll pack and move on to our destination for the evening, Big Lost Cove Cliffs. There, we’ll hang out atop a spacious rock outcrop, have dinner and enjoy one of the best sunsets in the state and a sweeping view that includes Grandfather Mountain.
Sunday: After breakfast atop the outcrop, we will pack up and head back to the cars. Then drive to the western trailhead for Harper Creek Trail and hike a 7-mile loop that takes us to South Harper Falls, Harper Creek and Harper Creek Falls and Persimmon Ridge.
What this trip includes:
- Planning meeting via Zoom on Monday, April 19 at 6 p.m. We will go over logistics for the weekend as well as aspects of a solo trip that make it different from camping with a group. You will be sent an invitation to the meeting upon signing up.
- Trip eguide with custom map of the hikes we’ll take, camping spots, water sources, and additional information.
- GetBackpacking! Water Crossings. Our quick-hit guide to water crossings
- GetBackpacking! Finding Your Way. Our quick-hit guide to navigating off trail and in areas where trails can be hard to follow.
- The trip
Trip size is limited to 8