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Elkin, North Carolina
Elkin NC Downtown.jpg
Location of Elkin, North Carolina
Location of Elkin, North Carolina
Country United States
State North Carolina
Counties Surry, Wilkes
Incorporated March 5, 1889
 • Total 6.84 sq mi (17.72 km2)
 • Land 6.77 sq mi (17.53 km2)
 • Water 0.08 sq mi (0.20 km2)
906 ft (276 m)
 • Total 4,001
 • Estimate 
 • Density 592.73/sq mi (228.86/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 336
FIPS code 37-20620
GNIS feature ID 0984711

Elkin is a town in Surry and Wilkes counties in the U.S. state of North Carolina, along the Yadkin River. Elkin shares its name with the surrounding township of Elkin Township. The population was 4,001 at the 2010 census.


Elkin is located at 36°15′28″N 80°51′5″W / 36.25778°N 80.85139°W / 36.25778; -80.85139 (36.257709, -80.851296).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16.4 km²), of which, 6.3 square miles (16.2 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (1.10%) is water.

Elkin is approximately 15 minutes south of Stone Mountain State Park, and 20 minutes from the entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway off of Hwy 21 (heading towards Sparta). Elkin enjoys mild weather patterns and extremely clean air. Its downtown is also situated along the Yadkin River, and offers a paddlers boat ramp and small camp site. Three local outfitters provide supplies for anyone interested in floating on the Yadkin to or from Elkin.

There are also numerous vineyards in the Yadkin Valley area (over 40 in and around Elkin), and the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival is held each May at the Elkin Municipal Park, which is situated along Big Elkin Creek, that feeds into the Yadkin River. Elkin is centrally located in the Yadkin Valley Wine Region (AVA).

Trails are abundant in Elkin, including the Overmountain Victory Trail, the NC Mountains to Sea Trail, and the Yadkin River State Park 'Blue' Trail, to name a few, and Elkin is considered an official "Trail Town" as the NC MST is now directed into Elkin onto downtown Main St. A local volunteer group ( is responsible for grooming 22 miles of the trail from Elkin to Stone Mountain State Park. They are working on the E&A Rail Trail which boasts mountain bike trails, walking trails, and trout fishing, all beginning at the Elkin Municipal Park, and there is even a golf cart rental at the Rec Center for handicapped individuals who would like to enjoy the trails too.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 137
1890 288 110.2%
1900 860 198.6%
1910 886 3.0%
1920 1,195 34.9%
1930 2,357 97.2%
1940 2,734 16.0%
1950 2,842 4.0%
1960 2,868 0.9%
1970 2,899 1.1%
1980 2,858 −1.4%
1990 3,790 32.6%
2000 4,109 8.4%
2010 4,001 −2.6%
2019 (est.) 4,011 0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Elkin racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 3,134 76.03%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 208 5.05%
Native American 4 0.1%
Asian 30 0.73%
Other/Mixed 101 2.45%
Hispanic or Latino 645 15.65%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 4,122 people, 1,618 households, and 1,087 families residing in the town.


The flowing together of the Yadkin River and the Big Elkin Creek has drawn people to the area of what is now Elkin, since the coming of the Paleo-Indians 10,000 years ago. The Sioux Indians settled along the Yadkin River as early as 500 BC. The first English colonists came in the mid-eighteenth century with some from Irish. Cherokee Indians were also in the area, although the Cherokees had been active in the French and Indian War, they had joined in treaties with the English in 1763, followed by the events of the American Revolution.

Alexander Chatham opened a small woolen mill in 1877 that grew to become Elkin’s largest industry for many decades, but as other mills in the area it has dwindled. The Northwestern North Carolina Railroad arrived in 1890; the town was ready to take the opportunities the railroad brought for commercial and industrial expansion. It’s strategic location near the Yadkin River and the Big Elkin Creek and as a stop on the railroad caused prosperity that produced brick stores, many industries, and fine houses.

The beginning of industry with the cotton mill, the Civil War involvement, the coming of the railroad, the town’s coping with the depression of the Thirties, and the two world wars heavily influenced the town's development. For example, Chatham Manufacturing was famous for making World War II wool blankets for the troops. There is a Civil War marker on W Main Street across from the Elkin Library.

The Elkin Municipal Park was the location during the Revolutionary War of a mustering field. Troops gathered to march on the Overmountain Victory Trail towards Wilkesboro then on to Morganton, NC, before they headed south to victory. There is a viewing site along Hwy 268, just west of the Rec Center that tells the story on an information panel.

Cedar Point, Downtown Elkin Historic District, Gwyn Avenue-Bridge Street Historic District, and the Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, (former) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Elkin had the biggest cruising community on the east coast during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. USA Today once featured Elkin and its cruisers on the front page of the national newspaper. However, a crackdown by local police in the late 1990s temporarily ended the once-vibrant weekend cruising scene leaving downtown Elkin deserted on weekend nights for some time.

On Saturday, October 10, 2009, cruising life returned to downtown Elkin for the first time in almost 20 years. A fundraiser was held to raise money to restore the historic Reeves Theater in downtown Elkin. For a $5 donation, participants would be given a decal for their car and then be allowed cruise the former downtown cruising loop. Many people both young and old participated, with many parents who were cruisers in their younger days bringing their children out to show them how much fun downtown Elkin used to be.

Since 2012, Cruise! events have become a summertime monthly event and continue each year. Cruise events involve parking along Main Street as well as cruising around the downtown streets. Events are scheduled May through August each year. Many shops and restaurants stay open late for the crowds. The event starts around 3 pm and lasts till around 9 pm.

Elkin is also famous for the annual Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival on Main Street during the 4th Saturday in September. Record breaking pumpkin and watermelon weight records are made on regular basis during this all day long family event which also includes a car show, quilt show and more.



Interstate 77 passes along the eastern side of Elkin. Exit 85 provides the midpoint entrance into Elkin via Hwy 268, or CC Camp Road.

North Carolina Highway 67 You can also enter Elkin by exiting off NC 67 (exit 82 at Jonesville), then heading west on NC 67 until crossing over the Yadkin River (this becomes old Business Hwy 21). At this point, you'll be entering the historic downtown district at Elkin's southern border where you'll find a bustling pedestrian friendly Main Street, with restaurants, antiques, a winery/tasting room, shops, Civil War Marker, Overmountain Victory Trail, NC Mountain-to-Sea Trail (Main Street), and a future visitor center.

U.S. Route 21 (US 21)passes through Elkin. Old Business Hwy 21 is also called Bridge Street, and intersects the entire town of Elkin from the Yadkin River up to where it joins with US 21 heading north towards State Road, then to Sparta. US 21 is the route travelers would take to access North Carolina's Stone Mountain State Park. Elkin is the best place to stock up on supplies for hikers and campers heading to Stone Mountain. There is also a new RV campground in Elkin off of US 21 called Byrd's Branch Campground, which opened in 2015. Campers looking to locate closer to evening activities and amenities may wish to look into this location, if the campgrounds at the park are filled.


The town is served by Elkin Municipal Airport. Ground transportation is also available. Aircraft Maintenance is available Along with Fixed Wing and Rotorcraft flight instruction.

Commercial flights are available through Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.


Elkin is served by the Elkin City Schools system. It currently ranks among the top 5 schools in North Carolina. It operates an elementary school (grades 1–6) with a population of approximately 700, a middle school (grades 7–8) and Elkin High School (grades 9–12) with approximately 384 students. The high school has had new developments made to the building; the construction of the new science, math, and CTE programs completed in the 2006–2007 school year, and the English and history building completed in 2011. Elkin will incorporate the STEAM program throughout all grades K-12. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math).

Elkin High School athletics is one of the most renowned 1A programs in the state. The football program captured state titles in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006. They also won one in 1967 as a 3A program. Elkin High has also produced numerous fencing, soccer, volleyball, tennis, swimming, and wrestling state championships.

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