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Difficulty III-IV(V)
Length 5 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 03/03/2008 2:40 pm

River Description

Pristine Wilderness Creeking!


Trail 464A is over a 2 mile hike-in and permits you to run the entire 5+ miles or so.  This upper section is mainly technical boulder gardens with many strainers.  2.5 miles in is a steeper section less than 1 mile in length that starts with Hunt Fish Falls (Class IV+/V-) and culminates with Air Baker.  Hike back up the MTS trail (TR262) and huck it again.  Nice hike & huck!


If you want a shorter hike-in, less strainers, and get right to the hike & huck you should use down Trail TR263 (Hunt Fish Falls trail) to trail TR262 and put-in a drop or 2 above Hunt Fish Falls.  There are strainers in the class II/II paddle out -  but at last check in February 2008 only 2 required portages at low water.


Watch the water level because you don't want to run the 2 miles class II/III paddle out at low water.  Very beautiful, with many "Lost Coves" along the way.  You may bump into boaters coming down from their Dragstrip induced adrenaline rush.  If so, too bad you missed out on Gragg Prong (GP) which has a much smaller watershed/window than LCC.


From this point just cardio it down to the bridge by Wilson Creek.


Please send visuals, and the date and time of your trips with a comment about the level to (L,M,H,VH...) Thanks!

Rapid Descriptions

Hunt Fish Falls

Class - Mile - 2.5
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This 18 foot double-drop is the most difficult drop on the creek.


An 8 foot vertical into a very short but deep perpendicular-left flowing ledge & eddy followed by a steep ten foot slide with a bottom left piton flake and ending in a big pool.  At low water we run the top drop right to right center. At higher water you can land a sweet boof on the far left and stay in control to slide on the right and avoid the piton flake on river left.


You tell us, some say it is IV, some say IV+ and some say V-, some guidebooks say V.

Hike & Huck Slides and Slots

Class - IV Mile - 2.75
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Below Hunt Fish there is another half mile or so of fun slides, troughs and slots before Air Baker.  We don't know if they have names but immediately below the Hunt Fish falls pool is a 12 ft slide, then a tight slot/trough type of drop followed by a boulder garden.

Air Baker

Class - IV Mile - 3.25
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Since it has a name it must be a IV - someone please share the story of the name.


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Eric Owensby
6 years ago

Ran this creek today, Wilson was at 18" when we drove by on the way up, and 21" when we took off, it might have been higher at some point based on the water on the bridge. We hiked in the Hunt Fish Falls trail (Mainly just not knowing any better) but I think it is a shorter hike. All major rapids below Hunt Fish falls were clear of wood, there was a few pieces in some class 2 run out, mostly below the confluence with Gragg prong. The level was not to low but more water would have been nice.

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Garrick Taylor
10 years ago

Ran this on 9/20/09. Wilson was +14 and falling. We hiked in on the Hunt Fish Falls trail and found the creek low but doable. As with most small creeks, there is a lot of wood. The mile or so starting with Hunt Fish Falls was fun and probably worth a hike back up to run an extra lap or two. After Gragg Prong comes in, it mellows out to Class II for the most part. A good option when Wilson is too high but you don't want to tackle Gragg or one of the other Gnarly runs up that way.

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Gary Mitchell
12 years ago

2.18.08 - LCC Hike & Huck was scrapy runnable 12 hours after a 1" rain. 1 strainer portage above Hunt Fish Falls and 2 strainer portages on the paddle out. Hike & Huck section was gtg but on the low side. Not a soul around.

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Christopher McFadden
15 years ago

Lost Cove has the most beautifull and pristine class III-IV gorges i've ever seen on any run in the southeast. Unfortuately it's only a half-mile long and sits in the middle of a 5-mile class II run with a 2 mile hike-in(serious 4WDrivers can make it shorter). Most of the lead-in is a mess of trees, islands and shallow shoals, with most of the paddle out about the same but deeper. I counted about three class IIIs, and two IV's. The first is a IV+ called Hunt-Fish Falls, a stunning 8 ft drop onto a 6 footer. Definately the highlight of the trip. The run kinda reminded me of the Upper Green; alot of hard work for just a few drops but mayby a little more difficult run overall. IF you like wilderness runs, picturesque waterfalls and a full body workout this might be your cup of tea.

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17 years ago

From Boatertalk:
Well Bell, You oughtta know what I ran 'cause you were with me. After meeting in Hampton and seeing the Watauga and Doe on their way to 4k cfs, Lee Belnap led us over the hill and through the woods to Cabin Cove Creek, a trib of Wilson's. A
2 mile carryin (with the open boat) to a lovely 5 mile run on the creek which drops at 100 ft per mile but with most of the drop in the middle 2 miles. Maybe 7-8 big drop/pool class IV rapids, lots of tight woody places. I walked one cause I did not like the strainer but everryone else ran everything. I swam one after coming out of my thigh straps while getting hammered in a hole. Broke my boat a little; banged up both elbows, scratched my face on trees, All in all, a great creeky run.
The carry in is a bitch, the paddle out is long, class II romp in the trees and you need a lot of water but if that is your cup of tea then this is a super run with no super hard drops but lots of challenge, at least for me.
(This was Saturday.) Chris Kelly

No Gage

Gage Descriptions


Look for at least 1 inch of rain within the last 12 hours @  AFWS-Edgemont, Grandfather Meadows and Jonas Ridge
Yes, all three should have over 1" in the last 12 hours and then MAYBE LCC will be running!  Preferably 2 inches or more in the last 12 to 24 hours.  The hurricane rule applies here - in case of hurricane approach the tribs from above (north in this case) and forget about running WC gorge. 
Most people find the Wilson Creek tribs in order to avoid the high water Class V Wilson creek hydraulics (over 6" @ Adako or the Gorge put-in).  As a result, there are not many WC trib visuals and runs.
People & guidebooks will tell you to look for the Adako bridge visual (also known as a Wilson Visual) to be 2 feet...but don't put your entire boat in that eddy, the Wilson Creek tribs run a lot more than people think. 
Adako at 2 feet guarantees water, but if you are ready, willing & able you can hit these pristine creeks when the Adako visual is quickly on the rise or not even rising yet.  Depending upon rainfall patterns and timing, water in the Wilson tribs can drop out before Adako rises.  Bottom line is that if you are at Adako bridge during or soon after a >1" rain and Adako is still low or rising --- dash for the tribs and you may catch Gragg Prong, Harper, North Harper, Lost Cove, Little Wilson, and Rockhouse Creek.  If the sandbars and waterlines tell you that Adako has peaked out below 6" and the rain is over, then don't bother with the WC tribs. From Adako bridge, you can get to most of the WC tribs in 30 to 60 minutes.
It is rare, but we have seen Little Wilson running strong over 24 hours after a 1" rain - this is because the rain gauges can fool you.  More than 1" of rain fell during that rain event - for sure.  Rain gauges and their solar panels can become obstructed by trees which is the often the case with the Edgemont gauge.  If you see dashes on the AFWS page then there is usually a communication issue with the rain gauge - frequently a blocked, missing, or broken solar panel.  If a rain gauge is reading 0" or really low and all of the nearby gauges are gathering rain, then there could be something physically wrong the gauge (broken, obstructed...). 

Directions Description

Most boaters come from Wilson Creek up Brown Mtn Beach Rd. (CR1328), turn left on NC-90 @ Mortimer, pass Pineola Rd. a bit and put a vehicle near the intersection of Roseboro Rd. (FR981) and NC-90 by the take-out bridge in Edgemont.  Then head back south on NC-90 and turn right on Pineola Rd.


Both put-in access trails TR464A and TR263 (Hunt Fish Falls trail) are on the north side of Pineola Rd (FR 464) between NC-181 (btwn Jonas Ridge & Pineola) and NC-90 (Edgemont).



No Accident Reports



article main photo

Development Proposed on Wilson Creek (NC)

Kevin Colburn

A large housing development is in the early planning stages for the banks of North Carolina's Wild and Scenic Wilson Creek.  The development, as planned, would lead to roughly 250 homes being built near the Creek on a 650 acre private lot that encompasses nearly 2 miles of Wilson Creek.

Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1193350 03/03/08 n/a n/a