Willson Creek Area
Wilson Creek was designated as a National Wild and Scenic River by Congress on August 18, 2000, after years of support from local governments and environmentalist groups. As a result, this river has become the centerpoint for a visit to the Grandfather Ranger District, so named for Grandfather Mountain, the highest point in the district and on the Blue Ridge at 5964′.
Grandfather Mountain is also the headwaters for this beautiful stream. While Forest Service lands in this part of the district are somewhat fragmented, it is threaded with state and forest service roads leading to dozens of trails, which lead to scenic waterfalls, river gorges, and clifftop vistas.
For the purposes of this site, the Wilson Creek trailhead includes all National Forest areas between the Linville Gorge, the Blue Ridge Parkway, US Hwy. 321, and the Piedmont. This roughly diamond-shaped area is draped across the Blue Ridge Escarpment between the Piedmont and the high peaks along the Parkway. This area includes Wilson Creek itself as well as trails around the streams north and south of Wilson Creek draining the Blue Ridge.
A new visitor information center, opened in October 2002, is located on Brown Mountain Beach Road upstream of the Gorge section of Wilson Creek. You will want to stop in here and buy or at least look at one of the maps for the area.