The Wilkie Trail is accessible from Corn Mill Shoals Access Area (parking area) in DuPont State Forest. The Access Area features ample parking and a kiosk with a rather outdated map.
The troublesome trail sign
photo by A. Scott Lavender
Directions to Corn Mill Shoals Access Area:
There are three ways to access the parking area: one from U.S. 276 in Cedar Mountain, N.C. and the other two from Crab Creek Road. The two from Crab Creek Road are DuPont/Staton Road and Cascade Lake Road. The former should be chosen by those wanting ease and speed; the latter should be chosen if you want to drive a slower gravel road with less ease and more scenery.
From Cedar Mountain, N.C.: Take U.S. Highway 276. Turn onto Cascade Lake Road. Drive 1.8 miles to Corn Mill Shoals Access Area on the left. There is a large parking area.
DuPont Road from Crab Creek Road: Take Crab Creek Road (this road is also known as Kanuga Road in Henderson County should one be coming from Hendersonville). Turn onto DuPont Road. Travel 1.2 miles. DuPont Road ends and Staton Road begins (i.e. DuPont Road becomes Staton Road—this change is due to the road crossing the county line between Henderson and Transylvania Counties). At 5.4 miles, turn left onto Cascade Lake Road. Travel .7 miles to Corn Mill Access Area on the right. This route is considered the primary route.
Cascade Lake Road from Crab Creek Road: Take Crab Creek Road (this road is also known as Kanuga Road in Henderson County should one be coming from Hendersonville). Turn onto Cascade Lake Road. Travel 1.2 miles. The road turns at a confusing junction with Hart Road. Hart Road is paved and goes to the right. Cascade Lake turns to gravel at this point and goes to the left. Remain on Cascade Lake Road. Travel 5 miles; this portion of the road is graveled. Note the nice waterfall at mile 3.0. At the 5 mile mark, the road turns into pavement. Travel .9 miles. Corn Mill Shoals Access Area is on the right. This route is the secondary route and takes significantly longer to travel. It is less than two vehicles wide most of the way, so take your time and be aware. I would not recommend this route except for the interesting features along the way (and, hey, I just like gravel roads), including Cascade Lake itself, lots of forest, and the waterfall mentioned above.
A view of the trail.
photo by A. Scott Lavender
Blaze Markings: unblazed
Length: There is some confusion as to where to begin measuring the trail. I began measuring at the end of the parking lot at the edge of the boulders there. 169’ from there, the trail enters to wood where three boulders sit. It may be the trail supposedly begins at the triple boulders, but I am choosing to measure from the parking lot since this is where the hiker begins walking on a trail. From my beginning point, the Wilkie Trail is approximately .42 miles (approximately .84 miles there and back as the trail does not end at an accessible location; exactly 2228 feet one way; this is slightly longer than the .36 miles listed in the DuPont State Forest trail map published by Friends of Dupont Forest (rev. 2008). Even beginning at the triple boulders, the trail is longer than the distance listed on the map.
There are various ways to make the Wilkie Trail a loop by using portions of the Micajah Trail and Rock Quarry Road Trail combined with Cascade Lake Road. Please see the trail map or the trail reviews on this site to piece these together.
Difficulty: moderate; due to elevation change.
Like many of the nearby trails, the Wilkie Trail features a nice rock face with the trail crossing it. This is an interesting feature. The pine grove at the beginning of the trail is a pleasant introduction to a worthwhile trail. Unfortunately, there is no trail sign along Cascade Lake Road, though there is one at the trail’s end at the junction with Micajah Trail. The sign spells the name as “Wilke” with only one “i”. I am not sure which is accurate, but I have chosen to use “Wilkie” in order to comply with Forest Service literature (i.e. I am considering the trail sign to be in error). Both “Wilke” and “Wilkie” are surnames, so either could be accurate.
One of the sets of stone steps along the way.
photo by A. Scott Lavender
I hiked this trail in early March with my friend A. Scott Lavender. This was the same day we hiked the Longside Trail and Twixt Trail, so we had plenty of exercise. This was fine with us as the day was sunny and warm for the season.
Again, beginning from the edge of the parking lot at the boulders:
At 169’, the trail enters the wood where three boulders have been placed.
At 305’, power lines cross the trail. This is the only feature of the trail that is not enjoyable.
At 376’, the trail joins an old roadbed. The trail follows, diverges from, and crosses this roadbed through the pine grove entered here. Rocks placed as steps are present here and there throughout the grove. Later, the rock face itself serves as the stair to the crest of the trail.
At 457’, the rock face becomes visible.
At 473’, the rock becomes the trail most of the way until 1606’. Portions of it are wet, and there are the nice growths of moss that are present on other faces in the area.
At 1864’, the trail crests at the top of the rock face. The trail proceeds across the rock until 2087’.
At 2228’, the trail ends at the junction with the Micajah Trail.
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