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The Mortimer Trail Project

Recently, Pisgah National Forest’s Grandfather Ranger District approved the Mortimer Trails Project. Planned in coordination with local partners, this project will increase the sustainability of the trail system and add 10 additional miles of mountain biking and hiking trails to the Wilson Creek Area in Caldwell and Avery Counties.


This decision is the culmination of years of community-driven collaboration and volunteer work. In 2015 the Grandfather Ranger District began a partnership with the community of local mountain bike users and volunteers to improve maintenance of Wilson Creek trails. Over the next 5 years an amazing amount of volunteer effort went into maintaining those trails. This volunteer work was made possible through a strong partnership with the Northwest North Carolina Mountain Bike Alliance, a chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA).

In addition to the mountain bike community, a larger group of partners contributed to the project. These partners represent the local community of users, hiking groups, and watershed protection organizations working in the Wilson Creek area. Organizations include the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, Friends of the Mountains to Sea Trail, Trout Unlimited, and Wild South.

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The Mortimer Trails Project is a great example of how we can do more together,” said Lisa Jennings, Recreation and Trails Program Manager for the Grandfather District. “The partners put the hard work into making this project a reality. We are excited to bring more mountain bike trails and provide a better experience for users in this special piece of Pisgah.”

In 2021 and 2022, multiple projects were completed:


  • The newly constructed exit of Yancey Ridge Trail is now officially OPEN! This 1.2 mile section of new trail reroutes the segment that was on private property onto US Forest Service land. In addition to the new exit, maintenance work was completed on the entire trail. 

  • The refurbished final 1.5 miles of Schoolhouse Ridge Trail (TR 279) is now open. This trail, rated “most difficult,” follows the historic alignment in many places, including several steep, rocky sections.

  • The Sinkhole Trail (Holly Springs TR 273) reopened following closure of the mine shaft and trail upgrades.

Learn more about the Mortimer Trail Project, Pisgah Paradox, on the Patagonia Blog. 

The Pisgah Paradox
The Patagonia Blog

Read about the Mortimer Trail Project at the Patagonia Blog to learn more about how officials in the Grandfather Ranger District of Pisgah National Forest are using better trails to make our environment a healthier place for aquatic species. 

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