North Carolina’s Mountain Treasures
Help Protect the Vulnerable Wildlands of the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests

Upper Wilson Creek Complex

Sub-cluster map including the Upper Wilson Creek, Lost Cove, Harper Creek and Upper Creek area.

Upper Wilson Creek, Lost Cove, Harper Creek, Sugar Knob Complex

These four wild areas are clustered to the northeast of the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area and to the south-east of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Each is separated from its neighbor only by an unpaved forest road. Though we include brief descriptions of each separately, the four areas share natural features and values and for conservation purposes should be considered as a single, essentially unbroken wild area. All consist of the ridges and valleys that fall some 2,000 feet from the Parkway southeast to Wilson Creek.

Upper Wilson Creek

Approximate size: 9,316 acres

Roadless acreage: 4,990 acres

Old growth acreage: 1,094 acres

Location: Avery and Caldwell Counties, NC, 10 miles southeast of Blowing Rock; Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest

USGS Topographic Maps: Chestnut Mountain, Grandfather Mountain & Linville Falls

The northwest boundary of Upper Wilson Creek adjoins the Grandfather Moun-tain section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Wilson Creek and its tributaries–Little Wilson, Stackrock and Andrews Creeks–are all designated as part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Strewn with boulders and plunge pools, they offer endless pleasure to visitors’ content.

The hellbender - Cryptobranchus alleganiensis - is a giant salamander which inhabits large, fast-flowing streams with rocky bottoms. It is native to North America.

The headwaters of Little Wilson Creek, north of the Gragg Road (SR 1514), extend to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The stream falls in a nearly continuous cascade. Upper Wilson Creek is a Forest Service-designated roadless area, which gives it some protection from logging and roadbuilding.

The Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, a regional land trust, is in the process of acquiring 649 acres of pri-vate land along four miles of Wilson Creek to protect it from development. When the sale is complete, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission will man-age the land. Wilson Creek is a magnet for anglers because of its world-class trout fishery, and for kayakers because of its challenging white water. It is also classified as an Outstanding Resource Water by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality.

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