Parks & Forests
Catawba River Greenway
Catawba River Greenway Park features 3.8 miles of paved walking trail following the river through wooded and open areas. Along the trail are picnic shelters and open tables, accessible restrooms, a playground, fishing piers, canoe launches, a gazebo, multi-level observation decks, and pedestrian bridges which cross the river and its tributaries.
Chestnut Knob Trail
Located in South Mountains State Park, Chestnut Knob Trail leads you to the Jacob Fork River Gorge Overlook.
Fonta Flora Trail
Fun beginner, well-maintained double track trail with beautiful scenery and views of Lake James. The Trail will ultimately circle Lake James. As of April, 2019 more than 20 miles of trail have been completed including a scenic covered bridge near the Linville Boat Access.
At the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains not far from the charming towns of Morganton and Marion in Western North Carolina lies Lake James, a pristine lake fed by three rivers. Surrounded by ancient forest. Over 6,500 surface acres and 150 miles of shoreline. Lake James State Park offers a public beach for swimming, plus picnic areas, canoe rentals, rest rooms and nature trails. Camping facilities are also available.
Lake James State Park Paddy's Creek Area
Tucked away in rolling hills at the base of Linville Gorge, Lake James includes 6,510 surface acres with more than 150 miles of shoreline. Swimming, canoeing, fishing and hiking. Picnic areas, bath house and rest rooms. Trails, camping and guided ranger tours and activities. 83 campsites range from boat-in only to car and walk-in sites.
Linville Gorge Wilderness Area
The Linville Gorge Wilderness at nearly 12,000 acres is the third largest wilderness area in North Carolina and one of only two wilderness gorges in the Southern United States.
Martha's Park & Splash Pad
Located in downtown Morganton, the 1.4 acre park features: •Fenced and gated play area •Multi-featured playground equipment •3 picnic shelters (large shelter may be reserved) •Children’s water splash pad •Swing sets •Handicapped accessible restrooms
McGalliard Falls Park
Venture out to this hidden treasure to enjoy a volleyball court, picnic facilities and restrooms in addition to the natural attraction of the 40 ft. high McGalliard Falls.
Mt. Mitchell State Park- Highest Peak east of the Rocky Mountains
A museum explains the mountain’s cultural and natural history, and its trail network allows visitors to explore up close, offering short hikes near the summit and challenging treks leading to adjacent wilderness areas.
Pisgah National Forest
Comprised of over 500,000 acres, the Pisgah is primarily a hardwood forest with whitewater rivers, waterfalls and hundreds of miles of trails.Dispersed campsites along pristine streams are found here. Stop by the Burke Visitor Center in downtown Morganton for maps and more local information about the National Forest.
South Mountains State Park
The largest state park in North Carolina with more than 40 miles of trails and an 18-mile mountain bike loop. Elevations up to 3,000 feet and an 80-foot waterfall provide excellent views. Located just south of Morganton and Valdese. Activities include equestrian camping, primitive camping, trout fishing, mountain biking, picnicking and hiking.
Table Rock Mountain Picnic Area & Hiking Trails
Table Rock is a prominent mountain on the east rim of Linville Gorge and part of Pisgah National Forest (Grandfather Ranger District).It features a unique rock formation, and can be seen from over 30 miles away. The summit is accessible and makes for a quick hike from a nearby parking area, and is also very popular for rock climbing. No services at Table Rock. Take everything you need with you!