China Creek Trail is a 5.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Blowing Rock, North Carolina that features a great forest setting and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.2 miles Elevation Gain: 1,771 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

running

forest

views

over grown

hiking
2 days ago

Overall, an awesome trail, considering that it's in the backyard of a tourist destination town! Remarkable solitude--I saw a total of 5 people in 5 hours on a gorgeous spring Sunday afternoon, and found a total of 1 piece of trash (above 1/2" in size) on the entire trail. Heavily shaded--no hat necessary! Wooded trail with huge trees and flowing stream with rocky cascades, and lots of flora but only a few long-range views. This was my first time on the trail, and I benefited greatly from the reviews of my predecessors. The trail is generally in excellent shape, fairly smooth (less rocky than most mountain trails) and easy to follow. I would offer the following pieces of advice: 1. trailhead is virtually impossible to find, tucked away in a residential area on a street (Laurel Lane) with an almost-invisible street sign. I had to rely on the GPS on the Alltrails Map/Record function. No wonder no one knows about this trail! 2. Parking at the trailhead is minimal; as others before me have done, I parked across the street in the Equestrian center which has tons of available space. 3. The trail is narrow, and you are frequently brushing against vegetation, much of which looks like poison ivy. I recommend long pants for that reason; would pre-treat socks/pants with permethrin to ward off ticks although I didn't find any on myself. 4. There are approximately 4 stream crossings each way, one of which I was unable to accomplish without submerging my high-top boot, which made for soggy slogging the remainder of the trip. Consider bringing water shoes and wading across in them, then switching back to your trail shoes or boots. Or maybe extra socks. 4. At about 1.9 miles into the hike, on the descent from the trailhead, there is an intersection with another trail (marked by the waypoint on the Alltrails map) where you need to bear left to stay on the China Creek Trail. It is even more deceptive on the way back up, where you have to bear right to stay on the China Creek Trail. Thankfully, a Good Samaritan had marked the spot with orange surveyor tape. 5. I found trekking poles somewhat helpful, both on the descent but more especially the ascent back up the trail. However, I think I could have gotten by without them ok. 6. Remember, this is an out-and-back trail which is 99% downhill (with occasional level areas) going in, and correspondingly all uphill on the way back. I did not find the grade severely challenging (I'm 64 years old)--it's not like climbing stairs for hours. However, plan your time accordingly--roughly double the time coming out as going in.

hiking
1 month ago

There is no space for parking at the trail head. I parked my car on 221 and mayview road. There is a small lot to park. It is very scenic trail. Close to downtown Blowing Rock so you can check it out.

hiking
1 month ago

this is a nice trail but quite narrow in spaces and had to climb over some trees to get over the other side of trail. There was a huge tree that I had to roll over on since my legs are short. a bit steep in some areas but all worth it when u get down to the waterfall. bring plenty of water for your hike back up since it's a long steep climb back up. if you git short legs a walking stick helps you get yourself up on those high steps. I have done other 5 mile hikes before but this one kicked my butt. was feeling sore when I got to the top but indeed .a great workout and hike.

hiking
1 month ago

This was an insanely scenic trail that by far exceeded my expectations. However there is a fork in the trail with no indication of which is the right way to thunderhole falls and we ended up taking the right path which was the wrong one but still lead us to a scenic destination but added 2 more miles to trip. Going to go again to try and find the falls. Also, this trail is definitely for more experienced hikers. Great time though.

hiking
flooded
rocky
1 month ago

Trail exceeded my expectations by quite a lot! Yes - this trail is a long downhill and uphill climb, but well maintained switchbacks make this manageable. Bring plenty of water and be a prepared hiker for this one. Trekking poles help a lot. There is a fork in the middle of the downhill climb, and you need to take a left at the fork on way down. The reward is waiting for you at the bottom, where the falls of China Creek await! Wear waterproof boots, as you will need to cross some pretty deep parts of creek. Trail is very easy to see and follow, plus well maintained. Other bonus is that you will hardly see anyone on it! (We did see a black racer snake, ticks and lots of poison ivy - all things to watch out for!)

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail, pretty significant downhill. Nice waterfall too!

running
rocky
scramble
washed out
4 months ago

Steep!

hiking
4 months ago

I’m still winded, the hike back up is rather rigorous.

hiking
Mon Feb 25 2019

Beautiful hike. Very well cleared and a beautiful creek down at the bottom. Perfect for eating lunch and relaxing by. Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of diversity; You hike down and then back up with a lot of switch backs and pretty steep climb back up. A great hike but be ready for a challenging climb if you aren’t used to exercise.

hiking
Sun Feb 10 2019

I haven’t been in this trail, yet. I’ve seen it developed of the years. Small entrance, really no parking, but, knowing the terrain it is correctly straight down and straight up. Not for the casual hiker. Currently, a 67 year hiker from Charlotte is missing while on this trail. Praying this ends with him found alive and well.

hiking
Thu Aug 30 2018

I'm going to start with some quick info if you don't feel like reading my whole review: The trail is narrow, overgrown and there are snakes so stay alert. The hike down is deceptively easy while the climb back can be brutal if you're only a casual hiker. Phone service is non-existent because of the valley so don't rely on that to get help. Firstly, there's really only a small parking spot for maybe 2 vehicles, but the equestrian place across the way doesn't mind you parking in their area. Second, I recommend bringing some sort of walking stick for crossing the creek and the hike uphill coming back. The waterfall was okay, but it seams small and the trees have grown in front of it. The trail itself is narrow so watch your step; there's a lot of overgrowth and we very nearly stepped on a rattlesnake we didn't see at first. We actually ended up going 3 miles down and 3 miles back just to explore. The climb coming back is not for the casual hiker and it's a pretty consistent fight the whole way. Loved the challenge, but again, be prepared for a difficult hike.

hiking
Sat Jul 14 2018

Rewarding falls at the end! Trail is tight in the beginning but opens up for a nice decent to the bottom. Waterfall is beautiful and great for a mid hike rest! Trail diverges towards the end, stay left. If you go right, you’ll navigate over/under/through fallen trees. Not the right way! Overall: great hike! Be prepared for the assault back up to the top!

hiking
Mon May 28 2018

Very steep trail with amazing flora and an awesome water fall at the bottom called thunder hole. additionally if you continue past thunder hole you can connect to the lower china creek trail a 4.5 mile loop with plenty of river crossings a few waterfalls and a couple good spots for swimming.

hiking
Sat Aug 12 2017

This trail starts at the kiosk on Laurel Lane across the road from the sign for the equestrian center in Blowing Rock. Although in existence for many years, the trail has been restored and improved through a partnership between The Conservation Trust for North Carolina and the Youth Conservation Corps. Now well groomed and maintained, the trail is narrow and literally carved out of the hillside with switchbacks and steep dropoffs along most of its length; so be careful. No panoramic vistas here, but the local flora and many rock outcrops along the way make this an interesting hike. At GPS coords N36.124 W81.696 another trail comes in from the right which goes back to the US 221 rest area, although it is not as well maintained. Either way back up will be strenuous. If you continue on the China Creek trail (left at this junction) you will meet fire road 4071 in about half a mile, and according to the trailhead kiosk, continuing on another half-mile will bring you to Thunderhole falls, although I never actually found that. My GPS track stops at FR4071. The trail is not marked and there is no signage, but it is well defined and blazes really are not needed. What is not obvious is where the trail continues on at FR4017. It's directly across the road, but you will have to look for it. Note: Alltrails calculated an elevation "gain" of 45 feet from the GPX file - very wrong. Actual elevation change by GPS is 1688 feet from trailhead to FR4071.

hiking
26 days ago

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running
1 month ago

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