The China Creek Trail, located on the Grandfather Ranger District in Avery County, is reopened to hikers following trail relocation and restoration work. The 2-mile trail begins in Blowing Rock, NC and passes through both Pisgah National Forest and National Park Service land.
The China Creek Trail was relocated to follow portions of the historic Upper Thunderhole Trail. According to the Blowing Rock Historical Society, the Upper Thunderhole Trail was built in the 1920s by the (now demolished) Mayview Manor Hotel to enable guests to access pristine China Creek and Thunderhole Creek for hiking, hunting and fishing. The China Creek area contains rushing streams and majestic forests, with trees over 300 years old.
Work on the trail was completed through a partnership with The Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) as part of the Grandfather Restoration Project. The YCC is a comprehensive youth development program that uses the natural world as a platform for teaching environmental stewardship, job and leadership skills, community service and personal responsibility. For seven weeks the YCC crew cleared the trail, installed water bars, switchbacks, and rock steps, making the trail more accessible and safer for families to enjoy.
The Conservation Trust for North Carolina and Grandfather Ranger District held a dedication and ribbon cutting for the historic China Creek Trail in late August. More than 60 people came out to celebrate and dedicate this historic U.S Forest Service trail.
The China Creek trail can be accessed from the trailhead in Blowing Rock, located on Laurel Lane across from the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve at 1500 Laurel Lane.