Trail Guide: The Headwaters Hub at Warrior Creek
We love coffee, community, craft beer, and finding ways to get out and enjoy the Great Outdoors. If we’re not at the shop, you can find the Anchor team out in nature, often shredding the world-class mountain biking trails at W. Kerr Scott Reservoir, Cub Creek, Rocky Knob, Moores Spring, and more.
Generally, the trail systems in our area are comprised of well-marked loop trails and out-and-backs, so if you’re traveling from out-of-town, you can park in any lot and have a great time. For those who want a more targeted attack to ensure you’re hitting all the highlights, we are going to be breaking down the best trails near our Anchor Coffee Wilkes and Winston-Salem locations.
The Headwaters Hub at Warrior Creek from Buffaloe Creative on Vimeo, filmed by Dustin Serrano of Serrano Film Co.
In this trail guide, we are talking about one of the newest collections of spectacular flow trails in an area known for spectacular flow trails - The Headwaters Hub at Warrior Creek.
How to Use This Guide
We are providing as much information as quickly as possible. We are providing some real pictures of trail signage, embedding maps from Trailforks, and linking to trails we mention.
Headwaters Hub Sampler on Trailforks.com
The Headwaters Hub
Also known locally as simply The Hub, the Headwaters Hub is a collection of loops adjacent to the larger, famous Warrior Creek Trail. Engineered by trail mastermind Jim Horton, each loop features big, sweeping berms, big jumps, and speed. For those who like to send it, big air is available. For those who prefer to stay on the ground, all the jumps are rollable, and there are no mandatory jumps. Riders are also treated to half-pipe like wall rides, rock drops, rock gardens, and other features. The loops include:
Each loop brings you back to The Hub, where you can take a beat on the bench and utilize the bike hanger for quick mechanical adjustments. With shorter sessions available on each trail, especially Whipporwhirl and Great Escape, this area is made for skills progression.
How To Get To The Headwaters Hub
Here’s how you get to The Hub:
Where To Park
The best place to park for easiest access to The Hub is at the Pump Track near the back entrance to Warrior Creek Campground. The Pump Track Parking is accessible from Highway 268 on Boomer Ferguson School Rd. It’s about thirteen miles and twenty minutes from Anchor Coffee in North Wilkesboro.
How to Ride to The Hub
From the Pump Track, you’ll cross the campground road
toward the sign for Drop, Hop and Roll. A formidable flow and jump trail in its own right, Drop, Hop and Roll, descends over 100 feet in just half a mile. In addition to big, fast berms, you’ll find tables, drops, step-ups, a few doubles, and some small gaps. Everything is rollable.
Drop, Hop and Roll will intersect with Warrior Creek. You’ll go clockwise (to the right) on Warrior Creek*, cross a campground road, and take a left on Happy Jack.
*Note about Warrior Creek: While Warrior Creek is multi-directional, most people ride it counterclockwise. However, the shortest route to the Hub is clockwise. Be mindful of oncoming bike traffic.
Happy Jack is a little over 1,000 feet of connector trail that reduces your trek along Warrior Creek by about 3/4 of a mile.
Pro Tip: You can session Drop, Hop and Roll by taking a right on the campground road to the next campground road, where you’ll take a right toward the gate and Pump Track.
You’ll rejoin Warrior Creek, taking a left to continue traveling clockwise. It’s about a half-mile and 100 feet of elevation before you reach the Headwaters Hub Entrance Trail. You do have to traverse one of the most prominent and challenging rock gardens on Warrior, going the “wrong direction.” It’s a highly technical climb through the rocks, and most choose to hike-a-bike this section.
If you successfully clean the rock garden going up, let us know!
There is a sweeping right turn after the rock garden. Carry some speed so you can clean the log bridge. You’ll pass the intersection with Old Head on the left. Do not turn there. The trail will cross a logging road and you will see the sign for the Headwaters Hub.
Now, you’re on your way to the Hub. The Hub Connector is about 1/3 of a mile of switchbacks and climbing berms. There’s a brief taste of flowy descent. You’ll turn right at the first fork, descend a little more, then climb some more, snaking up the hill, and cross the logging road a couple of times. Enjoy the climb because once you get to the top, the next thing you’ll do is bomb downhill.
In total, the route to the Hub is about 1.75 miles and about 250-feet of elevation gain.
If you want to pile of the miles and sample one of the premier flow trails in North Carolina, you can get to the Hub the hard way by taking Warrior Creek counter-clockwise.
Looking at the Pump Track, you’ll hang a right on the Warrior Creek - OVT Section for half a mile of fun descent, climbing slightly to the intersection with Warrior Creek. There is a sign for Warrior Creek, but if you get to the road, you’ve gone too far.
You’ll follow Warrior for about 8.5 more miles, experiencing most of the best of what the trail is known for, including wall rides, rock gardens, punchy climbs, and fast descents. One of the steepest climbs starts at about 7.75 miles in, followed by a fast descent ending at about 8.33 miles (precise mileage results will vary per device), where a trail will intersect on the right. This is the Berms and Views connector, and it only goes one way.
You’ll climb about two-tenths of a mile beyond the Berms and Views connector. There you should see signs for the Headwaters Hub. Turn right on the Headwaters Hub Connector Trail for about a quarter of a mile, and you’ll see the Hub.
To Finish Warrior Creek from the Hub
If you want to complete the remainder of Warrior, exit the Hub via Old Head. Take in mind Old Head is now sessionable. After the flowy rollers, there is now the option to turn left to complete Old Head and return to Warrior or take the big berm to the right to return to the Hub. You’ll be coming in hot toward the signage, so keep your head up.
Pro Tip: To ride Warrior Creek’s lone black diamond trail, Earthquake, you’ll need to take a left at the Old Head split and go about a quarter of a mile. The Earthquake loop will be on your right. It’s about half a mile in length.
How to Get the Best Out of the Hub
The Hub loops all offer big speed, the potential for pretty big air, bike handling challenges, and good fun. Prepare to take your time to session Whippoorwhirl, Old Head, and Great Escape multiple times, and don’t skip Berms and Views. Here’s a brief trail breakdown:
Note: This trail breakdown is from right to left, not in order of importance.
Berms and Views
Yes, Berms and Views has the biggest climb back to the top. No, that doesn’t mean you should skip it. Not only does Berms have the best views of the lake, but it also provides some of the biggest speed and largest berms in the Warrior Creek system. The climb back to the Hub is well worth the plunge.
You can shorten the climb by taking the connector near the bottom to Warrior, turning right, and then turning right again on the Headwaters Hub Connector Trail. However, you should definitely do all of Berms at least once.
Many locals will tell you this is their favorite trail at the Hub. Whip starts with a roller that you can jump if you can get some speed. Otherwise, you can pump the roller and bomb down to the first tabletop. Big speed and big air are available as you approach the first massive right-hand berm. Following the right turn is the best jump line in the entire Kerr Scott system.
After the jump line (tables, doubles, but rollable), Whippoorwhirl proper turns right and descends to a rock slab drop. Pre-ride the slab before you try it. You can also skip it.
You’ll drop some more, take a hard left, and plunge down a series of wall rides that will have you screaming like a rollercoaster.
If you want to just session the jump line (potentially over and over again), take a left after the jumps, before the big right turn. If you get to the rock slab, you’ve gone too far.
Old Head Session
The original Headwaters Loop, Old Head has some of the most unique features of the Hub loops. You kick things off with a rock drop, swing around some berms carrying good speed, eventually meeting another, sneakier rock drop.
After the second rock drop, you’ll climb a little and encounter a fun, technical rock garden. After the tech stuff, hold on tight a roller coaster of giant rolling berms. There are a few jumps mixed in this section as well.
You’ll likely be carrying some speed as you approach the exit. There is signage pointing you to the right around the big right-hand berm to the Old Head Session Connector. The connector takes you to the Whipporwhirl climb.
Great Escape (Session)
Don’t make the mistake of assuming Great Escape is simply an exit trail. There’s rock jump as soon as you drop in, then several big, fast berms, before you reach two of the biggest air potential jumps at the Hub. The second jump can be a road gap if you go full send.
Whether you gap the road or roll across it, you’re not done sending. A big right-hand berm leads to one of the longest and narrowest jumps in the system, before a left-hand berm that leads to the final jump. You can then follow the entrance trail back to the Hub and do it all again.
The Great Escape can be an exit trail if you don’t make the final left-hand berm. You’ll go back up toward the forest road, crossing it near the exit of the full-length Old Head. From there, you’ll follow Warrior Counter-Clockwise to the parking lot.
Where To Go For Craft Beer and Coffee
Nothing pairs with mountain biking quite like craft beer. Anchor Coffee Co in North Wilkesboro has sixteen beers on tap with some of the best local, regional, and national craft beers. Anchor is a coffee roaster with several single origins coffees available via pour-over, a full espresso bar with many specialty drinks, and a range of teas. There’s something for everybody.
We would love to hear how you ride the Hub and other trails in Wilkes and beyond. Let us know your favorite spots and pro-tips. Trail builders are adding onto the Hub all the time, so we will do our best to keep this updated. If you have any questions about local trails or Anchor Coffee, let us know.
Go here for more images of landmarks you'll see driving and riding to and from the Hub.