Elkin trails through town... Hiking, biking, paddling, bird watching... we have it all!

Elkin has a beautiful, historic downtown with various trails flowing along and through it.

  • For a list of Elkin Trail Markers from downtown toward the municipal park heading to Stone Mountain State Park, please click here.
  • For a  list of trails, parks and historical markers in downtown Elkin, please click here.

This photo to the right is of Elkin's trail system that begins in Elkin's Municipal Park near the Hwy 268 overpass. The trail starts behind the Rec Center and continues up Big Elkin Creek...and was groomed by the amazing volunteers from the Elkin Valley Trails Association. 

Learn about the Elkin Valley Trails Association and visit their informative website by clicking here

Elkin's Mountain Bike Trail loop
Mountain Bike Trails are ready!

If you enjoy mountain biking, strap your bikes to your vehicles and come to Elkin!   Two of three mountain bike courses have been groomed and are open for your enjoyment.  

We have lots of hikers on our trails at times, so be courteous to those ahead, and give them a warning you are approaching. Once you exit the hiking trail to enter the mountain bike trails, enjoy the adventure and the challenge of this gorgeous ride!  There are two entrances. 
  • Cyclist, use the entrance that says OPEN.
  • Hikers, choose the entrance that says CLOSED, so you can head in the direction against bike traffic. You will see them coming and can get out of their way easier.
Road Cycling options: 

Cycling in / around Elkin: 

Five beautiful bike rides in the heart of Yadkin Valley Wine country during the Tour de Vino in May each year:

 1.  31 mile loop south through Swan Creek area vineyards with rolling terrain and a few strenuous hills

 2.  50 mile loop north through Mountain Park area vineyards with rolling terrain and numerous strenuous hills and one mountain.

 3.  71 miles east and north of Elkin passing numerous vineyards, rolling terrain with a number of strenuous hills.

 4.  100 miles north, south and east with rolling terrain and numerous strenuous hills.  7,000 feet of climbing.

 5.  Elkin's own hiking trail (starting at the Rec Center) leads to a 4-mile mountain bike trail (mountain bike use recommended), but you can use trail bikes along the town hiking trails, as bicycles are permitted. This is a smooth, flat path for families to enjoy with a 10-foot width.  

 Go to:  http://yvtdv.com/theRide.html  for details and maps of each ride.

Surry Scenic Bikeways: 

Ride in the rolling foothills of the Yadkin Valley Wine Region. The bikeway can be accessed in downtown Elkin and takes you along a journey throughout Surry County with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains along rolling hillsides. Choose 5 different looped routes totaling over 500 miles! For more information and a route map, go to surryscenicbikeway.com,  email info@visitsurrync.com or call 1-877-999-8390.

Paddling options and outfitters: 

Paddling on the Yadkin River

Yadkin River Trail

The Yadkin River Trail is a Blueway Trail.  A blueway or water trail is a water path or trail that is developed with launch points, camping locations and points of interest for canoeists, paddle boarders and kayakers. Blueways are typically developed by state, county or local municipalities to encourage recreation, ecological education and preservation of wildlife resources.

The Yadkin River is designated as a State Blueway Trail and including High Rock Lake, Tuckertown Reservoir and Lake Tillery, with a connected series of river access points from Wilkes County to Montgomery County.

In the Elkin area there are river access points at Ronda in Wilkes County, downtown Elkin, Mitchell River and at Rockford in Surry County, and in Yadkin County, Shoals, Donnaha, Huntsville and Shore accesses. The Elkin access is at Crater Park with camping and facilities available. There is easy access to Elkin's Main Street with restaurants, post office, library (with internet) and resupply.

Here are a few options you might try next time you paddle in Elkin: 

  • Ronda to Elkin – Enjoy a leisurely 7 mile float (3 to 4 hours) on the Yadkin River with take out in downtown Elkin.
  • Elkin to Burch Station – Enjoy a 6.5 mile float (3 hours) on the Yadkin River. Combine with the Ronda to Elkin float for a 13.5 mile (6 hour) float.  For a short float, call Rocky Forrest River Run, where you can launch at Elkin's boat ramp and dock at their river access, a 1-1/2 hour float. 
  • Burch Station to Rockford – Enjoy a 12 mile float (6 hours) on the Yadkin River. Start at Elkin for a full day, 18.5 mile float.

Paddle shuttle and outfitter services:

Hometown River Company
474 North Bridge Street
Jonesville, NC 28642
336.404.1616 (Cassius & Amanda)

Jonesville Kayak & Tube Rental
1917 NC Highway 67
Jonesville, NC 28642

NC River Riders
210 Big Bend Road
Ronda, NC 28670
336.244.6220 (Tim Main)

Roaring River Canoe & Kayak
462 Cotton Mill Road
Roaring River, NC 28669
336.957.6147 (John Alexander)

Rocky Forest River Run
172 Rocky Forest Trail
Elkin, NC 28621
336.835.3890 (leave message)
336.469.8651 (Mark Combs)
336.469.8652 (Cindy Combs)

*Rocky Forest River Run does offer a float that is under 2 hours, from Elkin's Crater Park to their boat ramp, if you use their outfitter services. This is great for families with smaller children or elderly kayakers desiring a shorter float. 

Yadkin River Adventures
104 Old Rockford Road
Dobson, NC 27017
336.374.5318 (Paul Carter)

Hiking Trails in Elkin and in the region
Overmountain Victory Trail (from the Revolutionary War)

Elkin is proud to be a part of two great trail systems, the historic Overmountain Victory Trail and the North Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail (see maps above). Please scan below for more information on these trails. 


View from Wells Knob
Stone Mountain Trail/MST

New Trail Descriptions for Open EVTA Trail Sections 

Mountains to Sea Trail
aka: E & A Rail Trail in the Elkin city limits; a part of the developing Stone Mountain Trail/MST

Our Elkin "in Town" Trail - from Elkin "tree sign"on Main Street to Gong

  • Trail length: 2 miles
  • Difficulty: easy, level grade
  • Surface: Sidewalk and granite dust

The Westbound trail starts at the "tree sign" at the intersection of Main Street and East Market Street.  Proceed west down Main Street passing through the charming center of Elkin for 1/3 mile (The sidewalks are marked with "MST").  Most conveniences, including restaurants, hardware and drug stores, banks, post office, and quaint local interest shops can be found on both sides of the street.  Make a right just after crossing the Big Elkin Creek at the library (internet available).  Follow the creek on grass upstream for 700 feet to West Market Street.  Turn right and re-cross the creek on West Market Street.

Enter the Elkin Municipal Park on left via granite dust path. Proceed 1/4 mile and bear right or left on loop trail.  Follow the granite dust trail past the tennis courts and swimming pool for .4 mile to the "100 strong" railroad sculpture. At this point continue upstream on the old Elkin and Alleghany Railroad bed for 1/3 mile to the "shoe factory dam". As you go under the Hwy 268 highway a more pastoral setting will flood your senses and lower your blood pressure. Pause a moment to reflect on the viewing platform above the dam before continuing over the bridge.  Immediately after the bridge on the right is a wild flower meadow which nature paints in profuse colors during spring and summer.  On your right is a rustic trail .4 miles long, leading down and across a small bridge and then meandering along the creek before looping back.  Continue to follow the granite dust path for another 1/3 mile. Look up as you pass under the Hwy 268 bypass to see the cliff swallow nests at the top of the bridge pilings.  A short distance further brings you to the E&A Railroad Gong.  Tradition dictates that first timers ring the gong three times for luck.

Grassy Creek Trail

Grassy Creek Vineyard to Byrd's Branch Campground

  • Trail length:        1 1/2 miles
  • Difficulty:            Easy to moderate
  • Surface:             Natural surface

The Westbound trail starts at the Grassy Creek Vineyard tasting room 235 Chatham Cottage Ln, State Road, NC 28676.  Parking is available behind the tasting room. The marked trail enters the woods just east of the tasting room. There is a moderate and continuous downhill through a hardwood forest for about 1200 feet where the trail makes a sharp right at the creek. The trail continues upstream for 500 feet through an inviting fern-covered creek bottom to a bridge.  Cross the bridge and turn left.  Here the trail narrows and proceeds on a moderate uphill climb with two switchbacks for 900 feet.  Near the top of the hill the trail bears right heading west.  It meanders some 1800 feet through large hardwood trees, paralleling a tobacco field to Martin Byrd Road.

Turn left, go 200 feet and cross the road at the trail sign.  There you will enter a white pine forest of planted trees.  Follow the flagging as it is easy to get off trail.   After 400 feet exit the pines and continue another 400 feet along the field's edge to a small pond. Cross the dam and continue to the right (follow the pink flagging) 600 feet along the field's edge. There you will re-enter the "enchanted pine forest".  Follow the flagging 900 feet. Walk slowly and soak in the inviting but eerie landscape where a thick bed of pine needles soften every step you take.

As you exit the forest, turn left on Martin Byrd Road and walk 100 feet then cross to path going west over the field.  In the distance, 500 feet, you will see Byrd's Branch Campground store building.  Inviting porch chairs may call your name to sit a while, while enjoying their many flavors of ice cream. Byrd's Branch Campground: http://byrdsbranchcampground.com

The Eastbound trail starts at Byrd's Branch Campground store (225 Martin Byrd Road, Elkin, NC 28621.)  Parking is available.  The trail goes east across the open field for 500 feet to Martin Byrd Road.  Cross the road and go north, uphill for 100 feet.  There you will enter the "enchanted pine forest".  Follow the flagging as it is easy to get off trail. For the next 900 feet, walk slowly, soaking in the inviting but eerie landscape where a thick bed of pine needles soften every step you take. When you exit the pine forest go right 600 feet follow the flagging along the field down to a small pond.  Cross the dam and turn left. Follow the edge of the field for 400 feet where you will enter a second group of white pines.  Another 400 feet through the pines brings you to Martin Byrd Road.

Turn left and go 200 feet before crossing the road at the trail signs.  Upon entering the woods, the trail now meanders some 1800 feet through large hardwood trees, paralleling a tobacco field.  Near the end of the field the trail turns left and starts a downward path through two switchbacks for 900 feet to a bridge.  Cross the bridge and turn right.  For the next 500 feet you pass through an inviting fern covered creek bottom on a now wider trail.  Bear left and start a moderate uphill climb through a hardwood forest for 1200 feet.  Upon exiting the woods, the Grassy Creek Vineyard tasting room will be on your left with wine and drinks.

Grassy Creek Vineyard:  http://grassycreekvineyard.com  

Wells Knob Section of Stone Mountain Trail (MST) 

Mining Ridge Church Rd. to Roaring Gap Rd.

  • Trail length: 3 miles
  • Difficulty: easy to strenuous
  • Surface: Most natural surface, some gravel road

The Eastbound trail head can be found on the right side of "Wit's End Eventing" gravel driveway 700 feet from Roaring Gap Road.  The driveway is located 1/2 mile east of the junction of Roaring Gap Church Road and Roaring Gap Road.  The clearly marked trail leads 1/8 mile to a bridge crossing a tributary of the Elkin Creek.  The trail follows this creek crossing a second bridge for another 1/4 mile where it makes an "S" turn away from the creek.

For the next 1/2 mile the trail continues a moderate to easy climb.  As you near the base of Wells knob you encounter six switchbacks as you rise to the top of the knob.  This next 1/2 mile ends in a strenuous uphill section before reaching the top.  The trail continues to the right and straight down for approximately 500 feet before turning left onto a long flat 1/8 mile forest road.  Make a right where it dead-ends into another forest road and go 700 feet to a gate.  The trail leads around the left side of the gate and continues down the forest road following the power line for 1/4 mile.  Take a right on the gravel road for 1/2 mile leading down to Mining Ridge Church Road.

The Westbound trail starts at the junction of Mining Ridge Church Road and a gravel private road with a sign "Wells Knob Road".  Follow the road 1/2 mile up hill to where it levels and enters the woods.  Take a left continuing uphill on the old power line road for 1/4 mile.  The trail leads to the right around the gate.  Continue 700 feet and take a left on a marked forest road.  Go straight and level for 1/8 mile.  Then bear right and uphill for 500 feet to marked trail on left.  The next 1/2 mile starts with a strenuous downhill followed by six switchbacks.  The trail continues for another 1/2 mile to a creek crossing.

The next 1/4 mile follows the creek with two bridge crossings before a short climb to "Wit's End Eventing" driveway.  Turn left and proceed 700 feet to Roaring Gap Road (1/2 mile east of the junction with Roaring Gap Church Road).

Overmountain Victory Trail 

Thanks to the hard work of the Town of Elkin and volunteers, Elkin can boast a segment of the historic Overmountain Victory Trail, a federal linear park, which follows the route of the Overmountain Men as they made their way to the Battle of King's Mountain in the Revolutionary War.  This trail begins at Elkin Municipal Park, crosses Elk Spur Street and then runs along Elkin Creek between the historic Galloway Episcopal Church and Elkin Public Library; look for OVT trail signs to lead you west along the Yadkin River.  EVTA is working with the Overmountain Victory Trail Association to enhance and extend this trail. Access to the section of this trail along the Yadkin River is provided by generous landowners. Please stay on the trail and be respectful of private land.

Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail


Trail Town Mural...

Make sure to stop and see the Trail Town Mural located in downtown Elkin on W Market Street. You can see if from Bridge Street and there is parking along the street for easy access. 

Walk up to the mural to see all the fine detail and the legend showing you the numerous trails that intersect in downtown. 


Spreading Magic on the Trail...

Looking For Local Trail Angels

Trail Angel: A kind and selfless person who provides trail magic; someone who does a good deed to a hiker in need, usually to long distance hikers.

Now that Elkin is host to the Mountains to Sea Trail, we should begin seeing MST thru hikers. Elkin saw five thru hikers in 2015. Those amazing people that start in the Great Smokey Mountains will have hiked approximately 325 miles by the time they reach Elkin. From the eastern terminus at Jockey's Ridge, they will have hiked approximately 800 miles. From east or west, that's a long way to walk. It's so nice to see a trail angel who can deliver some unexpected trail magic!

Trail magic can take many forms. We are looking for kind volunteers to assist thru hikers with transportation to restaurants, grocery stores, banks, laundry services, mail drops, and emergency assistance. If you are interested, you can even host a thru hiker in your home... providing a meal, hot shower, a bed, and good conversation. It is up to you to tell us what magic you are willing to provide. Thru hikers appreciate any small act of kindness.

If this is something that interests you, please contact Cynthia Beane at beanesbees@gmail.com . We are hoping to have a list of angels so that one may be available when thru hikers arrive. The nearby MST task forces generally let us know when a thru hiker is on the way and their approximate arrival date. Cynthia will be the contact person and filter the information to the angels on the list.

Becoming an Elkin Trail Angel is a nice way to spread our hospitality and kindness. Remember, trail magic goes both ways.

Some great links for the trail angel experience.

New Section of In-Town Trail Opens in Elkin...

Hopefully you have been able to enjoy the new section of in-town Elkin trail connecting Municipal Park and downtown Elkin. Thanks to a grant from the Winston-Salem Foundation and a partnership with the Town of Elkin Recreation & Parks Department, EVTA volunteers have built the new section of trail and applied the granite dust surface, including a second layer of surface materials on the upper end of the trail, a drainage gutter and cement work at the beginning of the trail. Four permanent multi-modal QR coded historical and wildlife signs have been placed along the trail, and the bank by the dam has been cleared for viewing. We have added two beautiful "Peace" benches along the trail in partnership with the Yadkin Valley Rotary Club, alongside the Episcopal Church "Peace Pole". This location is now the confluence of several of Elkin's trails...the Mountains to Sea Trail/Stone Mountain Trail, the E&A Rail Trail and the Overmountain Victory Trail. What a powerful spot for peace through hiking!

New trail benches overlooking the Elkin library dam at the Galloway Episcopal Church Peace Pole.



EVTA is featured in UNC-TV video...

Building the Mountains to Sea Trail.



Ross's Goose - Photo by Brian Ratledge

Birder's Corner.

by Ron Storey


End of Year Birding
Activity Report

(As of December 26, 2015)

There has been good birding on Elkin's trails all year long including some exciting waterfowl reports this December!  On December 13, Brian Ratledge made the first report on the trail of a Ross's Goose (notable for western NC) and the first report of Hooded Merganser (6). The Ross's Goose was on the pond visible from Crater Park, and the Mergansers were on the Elkin reservoir.  I surmise that Brian's report drew Derek Hudgins to Crater Park on December 14.  He birded the trails for three hours; covered 1.5 miles and reported 43 species including the Ross's Goose and three Ring-necked Ducks (another first for the trail).  On December 16, Joe Mickey went out specifically to see the Ross's Goose, but instead saw three Buffleheads- the first Buffleheads ever reported in Surry County! This sequence of events serves to demonstrate the benefit of having a variety of people birding a common area and reporting to eBird.      

By number of species reported, the E & A Rail Trail eBird Hotspot has the hottest birding in Surry County. Looking at state-wide numbers of reported species for all years, Surry County is #77 (out of 100 counties). However, for 2015 the County is #48 - a good indicator of increased  birding activity in the county during 2015.  The following stats confirm increased activity on Elkin trails:

- Total species reported during 2015 = 122

- Total species reported for all years = 127

- Species first reported in 2015 = 38

Of the total 122 species reported in 2015, 31.15% are first time reports.  There is an impressive 42.7% increase in the number of species reported during 2015 over the total number of species reported in all past years.

2015 E&A Rail-Trail Top eBirders:

Brian Ratledge, 110 species 

Yours truly, 107 species

Derek Hudgins, 43 species 

Joe Mickey, 38 species 

Bill Blackley, 36 species

Ron Morris, 31 species 

Eric Harold, 24 species

With the start of 2016, the Top eBirders category is wide open so dig out your binocs; start reporting to eBird; and throw your best birding hat into this friendly, bragging rights competition. If you need some help setting up an eBird account and/or want to learn more about identifying birds, email the E&A Rail Trail's 2015 Top eBirder, Brian Ratledge at bratledge@gmail.com to arrange a birding tour of the trail. Bring your own binocs - or check them out from the Elkin Public Library. For information about checking out binocs, call (336) 835-5535. 

Elkin Trails' Birding Map

If you know folks coming from out of town who might be interested in birding Elkin, there is now a birding map posted on the EVTA website.  Here is the link to the map:

Birding Map - Elkin


If you are using the BirdsEye app for birding on your smart phone or tablet and have the "Elkin and Allegheny Rail-Trail" bookmarked in "Favorite Locations," you may need to reset your bookmark.  You will need to reset your bookmark if when you use it, there are "No Results" on the 'Elkin and Allegheny Rail-Trail" checklist page.

To reset your "Favorite Locations" bookmark for the E&A Rail-Trail:

  1. Go to "Browse by Location" on the main menu.  On the "Browse by Location" map there is a red pin approximately where Oakland Dr. intersects W. Spring St.  
  2. Select that pin to access a link to the new "Elkin and Allegheny Rail-Trail' page.  
  3. Select the "Elkin and Allegheny Rail-Trail" text at the bottom left of the page to access the species checklist page.
  4. To set a new bookmark click on the star icon at the top of the page.

The bookmarks post in the order that they are set with the first one set at the top of the page. The new bookmark will be at the bottom of your favorites list. To delete the old bookmark:

  1. Go to "Favorite Locations" on the main menu
  2. Select "Edit" at the top right of the page
  3. Delete the "Elkin and Allegheny Rail-Trail" listing that is closest to the top of the page by selecting the red minus icon to the left of the listing.

If you prefer, delete the old bookmark before adding the new bookmark.

Happy trails and good birding,

Ron Storey


2nd place - People on the Trail category - photo by Joe Mickey, EVTA
Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail Photo Contest


MST markers on Main Street, Elkin