Brown Mountain Lights
Described as a glowing ball of fire or a bursting skyrocket and sometimes as a pale almost white light. At times they seem to drift slowly, fading and brightening and at other times they seem to whirl like pinwheels, then dart rapidly away. Visible on clear nights from vantage points along N.C. 181 and from Wisemans View in the Lineville Gorge Wilderness area. From Morganton, travel 14 miles north on Highway 181 and the Brown Mountain Overlook will be located on the right hand side of the road.
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.
Henry River Mill Village
From it’s days making cotton yarn to its more recent adaptation as District 12 in the Hunger Games films, the Henry River Mill Village offers visitors a step back into the last century and a peak into the rich heritage of western North Carolina mill towns.
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.
Courteous and experienced guides take you into a subterranean world, giving you the history of the caverns and allowing you to view the grand work of nature.
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.
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.
Valdese Lakeside Park
Valdese Lakeside Park: Lakeside Park is a natural park in Valdese, NC that consists of 300 acres of land bordering Lake Rhodhiss. While it is not fully developed, there is plenty to do and see while visiting. There are 4-5 miles of trails for hiking and mountain biking, you can fish from the bank, picnic at the tables, launch a kayak from the shore and enjoy the views. More is being added all the time so stop back regularly to see all of the progress!