Explore Elkin: Hikes for All Skill Levels on Well-Maintained Trails

Elkin & Alleghany Railroad Trail in Elkin NC

When it comes to trails in the Surry County town of Elkin, things are always changing. An army of local trail enthusiasts — who comprise the Elkin Valley Trails Association — love spending their time constructing, maintaining and enhancing Elkin's trail system.

“Our main objective is to build trails that improve the quality of life in our community,” says Bill Blackley, EVTA chairman. “Working for the common good just feels good. And it’s all free and open to the public.”

Elkin’s interesting location makes it the only town in North Carolina where three sanctioned trails converge. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail, Yadkin River Blue Water Trail and the Overmountain Victory Trail all pass through Elkin.

The Mountains-to-Sea Trail — a 1,175-mile footpath connecting the western tip of North Carolina to its coastal eastern edge — is a particular point of pride. The EVTA is responsible for Segment 6 of the MST, which stretches eastward from the Blue Ridge Parkway to Pilot Mountain State Park. The segment actually runs right down Elkin’s Main Street.

One of the best parts of Elkin’s extensive trail system is its accessibility to hikers of all skill levels. For visitors to the area, below are a few suggested routes based upon hiking ability.

For the casual hiker

Elkin Dam and Waterfall

Start at the Elkin Public Library, where there is a trail map for reference. Go behind the library and admire the waterfall rushing over the dam. Head north following the Elkin & Alleghany Railroad Trail toward Elkin Municipal Park. The trail continues along Big Elkin Creek on a path lined with granite dust from the local quarry. Along the way you’ll cross seven bridges. The 75-foot wooden bridge is a particularly beautiful stretch. The trail has a loop at the end, where you can circle around and head back. The trail is 3.5 miles round trip. You’ll end up back in downtown Elkin where you can toast your trek with a locally brewed pint or a tasty meal. To see this trail on a map, click this link and be sure to zoom in on the dashed green line on the left side of the map.

For the experienced hiker

Hiking Trail to Carter Falls in Elkin

Park at Isaacs Trailhead, northwest of downtown Elkin. Follow along Grassy Creek as you head north. The secluded trail presents the best of rural Surry County with no houses along the way. Hike the full three miles to reach Carter Falls. Take in the 60-foot waterfall from the top, or proceed down a series of switchbacks to the bottom for a real adventure. On the way back, take the half-mile spur to Grassy Creek Vineyard & Winery. Explore the grounds of this former dairy farm and enjoy a wine tasting in the red barn tasting room. Here is a link to view the trail map.

For the mobility impaired

The Elkin Valley Trails Association maintains a partnership with the local VFW. The trails organization has two electric golf carts and can schedule a VFW member to chauffer those with mobility issues along smooth parts of the Elkin and Alleghany Railroad Trail covered with granite dust. Those wishing to arrange a golf cart trail ride should call the Elkin Recreation & Parks Department, (336) 258-8917.

For additional details and maps of Elkin’s hiking trails, visit the Elkin Valley Trails Association.