Big Creek Trail #102

4.9 mi - Difficult - The Big Creek Trail is not only pretty, but offers many reminders of the rich history of the area. Over half of the trail is on an old railroad grade, which follows Big Creek. Railroad ties and remains of railroad camps can be seen along the course of the trail. Some of the creek crossings don’t have bridges, so be prepared to get your feet wet. After leaving Big Creek, the trail climbs to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a strenuous climb of 2,000 feet in elevation over the course of approximately 2 miles; horses are not allowed on this section of the trail. * Near the end of the trail you will cross onto Parkway land, where bikes must be carried or walked. The trail ends at a service road and rock dump, through which you will have to pick your way before reaching the Parkway itself.

Approximate Elevation Change: 2,300 feet
Blaze: Yellow 

At a Glance

Open Season: Year-round
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Hiking trail: Foot traffic (sections open for mountain bike and/or equestrian use).
Water: yes
Restroom: none
Operated By: US Forest Service

General Information

Directions: Leaving the Pisgah District Ranger Station/Visitor Center parking lot, turn left (south) onto US 276. At the first traffic light, turn left (east) on NC 280. Proceed approximately 12.3 miles (past the intersection with NC 191 South) to a traffic light about 200 yards short of the intersection with NC 191 North. Here an official brown and white sign for “Nat’l Forest Recreation Area, N MILLS RIVER” directs you to your left. Turn left onto North Mills River Road, and then approximately 5 miles to Wash Creek Road (FS 5000), near the North Mills River Campground. Turn right onto FS 5000 and proceed 2 miles to the first left turn, a gravel road. Turn left, cross the low concrete bridge, and drive to the Trace Ridge Trailhead parking area at the gated end of the road. Take the Hendersonville Reservoir Road, which is the leftmost of the two gated roads that leave the parking area. Follow the road for 1.5 miles to Spencer Branch Trail (#140), just to the right of the dam. Big Creek trail intersects Spencer Branch Trail after 100 yards. (The trail’s upper end is at the Little Pisgah Tunnel on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but there is no parking there.)


Mountain Biking

Day Hiking