Wilson Creek FS 45 to Burke CR 1438 Bridge over the Johns River

Collettsville, North Carolina

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A recent addition as a National Wild and Scenic River, Wilson Creek has its headwaters on the eastern slopes of Grandfather Mountain. With its watershed primarily within the Pisgah National Forest, it has exceptional water quality. This quality often fools even the experienced paddler into underestimating water depth. Section A, which is quite technically challenging, can only be run after heavy rains, and has a small window during which it can be paddled. Sections B and C drop over the occasional ledge and stubble field and are suitable for low-intermediate skill levels. Section D drops through a ruggedly beautiful gorge with several memorable rapids. It is one of the more popular advanced runs in the Southeast. After leaving the gorge at Brown Mountain Beach, the creek slows down considerably upon its confluence with the Johns River. The gorge, as well as most of the creek, can be enjoyed by everyone, not only those with the skill to paddle it. Wilson Gorge is highly recommended to all—whether boating, mountain biking, or just driving. Be aware that the creek, especially through the gorge, has become a very popular area. The traffic on the narrow road is quite heavy on weekends from late spring through the summer.

Wilson Creek: FS 45 to Burke CR 1438 Bridge over the Johns River Professional Review and Guide

"A recent addition as a National Wild and Scenic River, Wilson Creek has its headwaters on the eastern slopes of Grandfather Mountain. With its watershed primarily within the Pisgah National Forest, it has exceptional water quality. This quality often fools even the experienced paddler into underestimating water depth. Section A, which is quite technically challenging, can only be run after heavy rains, and has a small window during which it can be paddled. Sections B and C drop over the occasional ledge and stubble field and are suitable for low-intermediate skill levels. Section D drops through a ruggedly beautiful gorge with several memorable rapids.

It is one of the more popular advanced runs in the Southeast. After leaving the gorge at Brown Mountain Beach, the creek slows down considerably upon its confluence with the Johns River. The gorge, as well as most of the creek, can be enjoyed by everyone, not only those with the skill to paddle it. Wilson Gorge is highly recommended to all—whether boating, mountain biking, or just driving. Be aware that the creek, especially through the gorge, has become a very popular area. The traffic on the narrow road is quite heavy on weekends from late spring through the summer."

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Collettsville
Distance: 22.8
Elevation Loss: 267 feet
Duration: 5 sections that take 13 hours to paddle
Class: Class I-IV
Local Contacts: Pisgah National Forest
Local Maps: Grandfather Mountain, Chestnut Mountain, Collettsville (USGS); Avery, Caldwell (County)
Driving Directions: Directions to Wilson Creek: FS 45 to Burke CR 1438 Bridge over the Johns River

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May 2018