If you like water crossings, solitude and North Carolina history, the Basin Creek Trail in Doughton Park is for you.

A treasure in North Carolina that doesn't get as much attention as it should, Doughton Park has some of the best trails around. It is the largest park operated by the Blue Ridge Parkway and has over 30 miles of trails available. 

The parking area for the Basin Creek Trail is small, but rarely crowded. Park across the street from the trail head in the gravel parking lot and follow the right trail next to the river. A little less than 2 miles into the trek is the Basin Cove primitive camping area - this is the only camping allowed in the park.

The trail follows Basin Creek into the gorge all the way to the old Caudill Cabin - the only remaining living quarters to survive the flood of 1916. Multiple old home sites and chimneys can be seen throughout the hike, as well as two waterfalls. A little over 1800ft of elevation gain is had on the way to the cabin. Caudill Cabin can also be seen from the WIldcat Rocks Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway (MP 241.1). Once you've made it to the cabin, go inside and sign the "guest book". There is also a family tree with photographs.

There are 15 stream crossings (30 total as an out-and-back) so trekking poles or water shoes will be handy. The total trip time could take as long as 6 hours, depending on how long you stop for lunch and picture taking, so plan accordingly. The hike out is less strenuous, but the water crossings can still be slippery - avoid the green mossy rocks if you can. 

Doughton Park

Caudill Family Cabin

Pack List

  • Water and/or water filter
  • Trekking poles
  • Water shoes
  • Camera
  • Fly fishing rod
  • Trail food/meal
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RT Distance 11 Miles
Elevation Gain 1800 Feet
Activities Chillin, Camping, Fishing, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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