Hiking Project Logo

The Raiders of the Pines Fitness Loop

 3.9 (14)

A crazy route with diverse terrain, and gorgeous views in the Wilson Creek Area. This route was made for hiking.

Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key






2,835' 864 m


1,412' 430 m


2,217' 676 m


2,231' 680 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (18°)

Dogs Unknown

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


This loop in the Wilson Creek Area has it all on very navigable terrain. There are good views through the woods and an epic view of South Harper Falls and Grandfather Mtn from an amazing perch on a cliff. Minus the first half mile, the entire route can be easily negotiated, and you could pick up the pace for that first half mile if you really wanted to red line off the bat.

Need to Know

This loop is located within a Wilderness Area, which means keep you group size down to 10 or less.


The route starts behind the Wilson Creek Visitor Center on the Pine Ridge Trail. Take the Pine Ridge Trail to the Pine Ridge Connector, and turn left to follow this very nice stretch of easy gradient hiking. Take this trail to FS198 and turn right. Follow this road with good views of Brown Mountain until you reach the Mountain to Sea Trail.

Continue straight onto the MST until you reach the yellow blazed Raider Camp Trail. Turn left for a short out and back to the epic view of South Harper Falls. Return back to the intersection and the continue onto the MST (also Raider Camp). This section is an epic downhill with some technical spots to a mandatory creek crossing of Harper Creek.

Once across the creek, turn right (stay straight really) onto the Harper Creek Trail and follow this flatish trail back down to Brown Mountain Beach Road. Turn right onto the road and work your way back to the visitor center where you started.

If you'd like to add some additional length and scenery to your hike, you can extend the loop by taking the Harper Creek Trail. You can even make this trail your starting point, and it will add similar views to your journey.


Shared By:

Brandon Thrower with improvements by Go Hike

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 14 votes


in Wilson Creek


  3.9 from 14 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Recommended Route Rankings


in Wilson Creek


in North Carolina


34 Views Last Month
5,790 Since Jan 16, 2017



Largest of several waterfalls along trail.
Jun 13, 2020 near Linville, NC
Crossing Harper Creek on Raider Camp / Mountains to Sea Trail.
Mar 21, 2020 near Linville, NC
View of Grandfather Mountain from Raider Camp Trail
Mar 21, 2020 near Linville, NC
Take a breather at the South Harper Falls Overlook and truly enjoy the falls' majesty.
Jan 16, 2017 near Linville, NC


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jul 31, 2022
Daniel Smith
A good 24 hour hike.
Jun 5, 2021
M Roman
I started the loop on the Pine Ridge side. I found the trail to be too over grown for my liking. Got better on the Harper Creek side. 15.2mi
Nov 27, 2020
Henry Ricca
Camp site the end of Pine Ridge Connector trail and many sites after the trail crosses over Harper Creek. Only one river crossing (knee deep) at end 14.2mi — 6h 40m
Jul 3, 2019
Amy Lynn Kelley
Saw a bear!!!!!!
May 25, 2019
James Papke
Jan 31, 2019
Richard Scarborough
Dec 29, 2018
Mick Berry
a spectacular view. lots of down trees but all navigable. 10.3mi
Dec 2, 2018
H Diaz
This loop I finished with 15.77 miles. Terrain was ok, muddy and tons of trees on the ground. Views were spectacular, surely is not for the beginners.