12 Must-Hikes Near Wilkes, NC

From free-flowing waterfalls to spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wilkes County and surrounding areas offer hundreds of trails that should be on your hiking bucket list. Whether you're a long-time resident of Wilkes, or you’re passing through the Wilkesboro(s) on the way to Boone and Blowing Rock, do not pass up the opportunity to hike these hills and mountains. 

Grab a cup or bag of coffee and hit these twelve trails you must hike whenever you are in Wilkes, NC:

12 Great Hikes in or Near Wilkes County, NC

1)  Flat Rock Ridge Trail with Grassy Gap Fire Road

Combined with the Grassy Gap Fire Road, the Flat Rock Ridge makes a lengthy eleven-mile loop through the Doughton Recreation Area. This hike features vast views, creeks, and waterfalls, as well as camping options. Adventurers can combine this trail with the Doughton Park Loop for a backpacking weekend. 

2) Doughton Park Loop Trail

The Doughton Park Loop is a combination of the Flat Rock Ridge, Cedar Ridge, and Mountains-to-Sea trails. This route crosses several other trails, explores incredible terrain, and is accessible to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Stone Mountain area. Permits for backcountry camping are available at the ranger station nearby: 49800 Blue Ridge Parkway, Laurel Springs, NC 28644. 

3) Bluff Mountain Trail

Bluff Mountain Trail is a relatively lengthy out-and-back in the Doughton Park area. It follows Section 5 of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and can be combined with some of the loops listed above for a weekend adventure. The trail is parallel to the Parkway and features several great views, wildflowers, and potential wildlife. 

4) Kerr Scott Trails

Known primarily for mountain biking, the Kerr Scott trails are accessible for hiking and backpacking as well. With well over 40 to 50 miles of trails, from Dark Mountain to Warrior Creek, Kerr Scott has more trails to explore than most could accomplish in a weekend. Hikers are treated to wildlife, lake views, creeks, waterfalls, and views of the Blue Ridge. 

5) Widow’s Creek and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

This is one of the most difficult hikes on our list. Shortly after the hike begins, the trail climbs steeply till the end. Hikers are treated to great views, forest settings, creeks, and wildlife. After a few miles, the Mountains-to-Sea trails forks to the right for the remainder of the trip; however, the Widow Creek Trail provides access to a waterfall and several backcountry camping places. 

6) Downtown North Wilkesboro & Wilkesboro Greenways

  • Length: Loop – 1-5 Miles - 5 miles
  • Elevation Gain | Loss: 100-300 Feet
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: Anchor Coffee Company, 949 D Street, North Wilkesboro, NC
  • More Information: http://anchorcoffeeco.com

Both Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro are beautiful places to walk. You can park at Anchor Coffee and follow the Yadkin River Greenway all the way to downtown Wilkesboro, Memorial Park, and Cook’s Outfitters. You can also cross the D Street Bridge and walk to the Jefferson Turnpike Trail, a 2-mile out-and-back.  

7) Stone Mountain Loop Trail 

  • Length: Loop - 4.7 Miles
  • Elevation Gain | Loss: 1,070 Feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
  • Location: 3042 Frank Parkway Roaring Gap, NC 28668
  • More Information: http://www.ncparks.gov/stone-mountain-state-park

The Stone Mountain Loop trail is an intense hike featuring beautiful views of the Blue Ridge Escarpment atop Stone Mountain’s unique rocky summit. Additionally, you will find emerald forests and a large waterfall.

8) Stone Mountain Middle and Lower Falls Trails

Before you leave the Stone Mountain area, make sure you hike the trails to the Middle and Lower Falls. These cascading waterfalls are the perfect place for a picturesque picnic before you return to North Wilkesboro for dinner and coffee.

9) The Yadkin River Greenway

  • Length: Out and Back - 7.5 Miles
  • Elevation Gain | Loss: Very Little
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: Kerr Scott Lake, River’s Edge Park, Downtown Wilkesboro, and North Wilkesboro, Cub Creek Park
  • More Information: https://www.yadkinrivergreenway.com/

The Yadkin River Greenway follows the Yadkin and Roaring Rivers from W. Kerr Scott Lake through the Wilkesboro(s). The Yadkin River Greenway Council is working hard with the towns to complete the sections; however, there are currently over seven miles of greenway to enjoy.

10) Rendezvous Mountain Educational State Forest

  • Length: Loops and Out and Backs - Over 8 Miles
  • Elevation Gain | Loss: Some
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Location: 1956 Rendezvous Mtn. Rd. Purlear, NC 28665
  • More Information: http://www.ncesf.org/rendezvousMt.html

 

In addition to views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Rendezvous Mountain offers trails with talking trees. Who can you trust more to tell the unbiased history of Wilkes than the trees?

11) Mountains-To-Sea Trail: Devil’s Garden to Hutchinson Homestead

Join the thousands who hike North Carolina’s Mountains-to-Sea trail as it plunges from the Blue Ridge Parkway near Devil’s Garden to the Hutchinson Homestead in Stone Mountain State Park. This hike is difficult. You would do well to park a vehicle at each trailhead.

12) Doughton Park: Basin Creek Trail

A difficult out-and-back trail, Basin Creek features a significant climb to incredible views, as well as several creek crossings, a waterfall, and a historic cabin. Bring your camera and plenty of water.

Don’t Forget to Grab Some Coffee 

If you’re camping in Wilkes or Boone, we’ve got your coffee needs covered. We sell our single origins and blends by the bag, and we can grind it right here in the shop. We’ll make sure you’re ready for a warm cup of coffee when you set up camp. If you’re here to hike, stop by for a latte or pour over. We would love to hear about your adventure. Don’t forget; we ship our coffees all over, so you can try it at home before you head this way


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