Last week we took a camping trip to the Highlands of Roan in eastern Tennessee. We always like to find new places to explore en route to our destination (the AllTrails app is great for this). Our drive from Charlotte took us through Morganton, NC, which is only about an hour and a half from uptown. There, we decided to check out the Fonta Flora County Park Loop Trail.
This 3.7-mile, double track, natural-surface loop is part of the larger Fonta Flora state trail system, which will someday connect downtown Morganton to downtown Asheville. Ultimately, the trail will form a 29-mile loop around Lake James. As of last year, more than 20 miles of this project have been completed. The County Park is on the northeastern side of Lake James, directly across the lake from Lake James State Park.
Here's why the Fonta Flora County Park Loop Trail makes for a perfect day trip.
It's near other fun things to do. Burke County's motto is "Nature's Playground." So if you're up for more outdoor exploration, there's plenty to choose from nearby. But might I suggest you also check out historic, picturesque downtown Morganton, NC. Grab a bite to eat or (in normal times), plan your trip around events or activities. Or, here's a fun idea if it's apple-picking season.
As an aside, when we went, we had our fishing rods handy and the kids thoroughly enjoyed fishing along a trail-side cove. If you're a fisherperson or have little ones who enjoy tossing a line in the water, this is a good place to do it.
see trail map), I think you'll find this to be an excellent daytrip (or longer!) destination.
How to get there: The trailhead for the Fonta Flora County Park loop is located at the Fonta Flora County Park located at 126 NC-126, Morganton, NC, 28655.
Don't forget to take:
- Comfortable walking shoes: Sneakers will do.
- Water: You can refill bottles at the parking area.
- Snacks: There are a number of benches to take a break along the trail.
- Hats, sunglasses and sunscreen: The trail is mostly shaded, but not entirely.