5 Can’t Miss Outdoor Activities In Burke County

June, 2024

Burke County is called “Nature’s Playground” because there are so many opportunities to get outside and play! Here are 5 can’t miss outdoor activities for you and your family in Burke County this summer.

Table Rock in the Linville Gorge Wilderness: The Linville Gorge was the first Wilderness Area in North Carolina and is 12,000 acres of stunning views and native plants. Table Rock is one of the prominent peaks in the Gorge. The hike is roughly 1.4 miles there and back but the 365 degree views from the top are worth the moderate hike. Due to its wilderness area status, there are no trash cans and only a few compost toilets in the parking area below. Plan to pack out your trash, bring lots of water and practice leave no trace principles.

Valdese Lakeside Park Swinging Bridge: Valdese Lakeside Park is one of our newer parks in Burke County. Located right outside downtown Valdese, this park is made up of 300 acres along Lake Rhodhiss, featuring beautiful trails, a kayak launch, a dog park and public restrooms. One of our favorite new additions is a 160 ft swinging bridge on the Green Trail that connects Valdese Lakeside Park to McGalliard Falls Park. 

Morganton Greenway: The Greenway in Morganton is the perfect place to get in a run after work or walk to burn off some calories after dinner. The 3.8 mile paved greenway follows the Catawba River and features beautiful wooden overlooks, boardwalk, stationary exercise spaces and various historical markers so you can really get the most of your stroll or bike ride.

Fonta Flora State Trail, Lake James: If you like the sound of the greenway but want something a little more challenging, the Fonta Flora State Trail is for you. Currently the trail encompasses 20 miles of natural surface trail around Lake James, but will eventually connect downtown Morganton to Asheville, NC spanning 100 miles. The trail features stunning views of Lake James and Linville Gorge as well as neat man-made structures like the new boardwalk by the Wolfpit access or the Covered Bridge.

Lake James State Park Holly Discovery Trail: If you are a family with small children, hiking can sometimes be more of a daunting experience than you would like it to be. The Holly Discovery Trail is a
.7 mile easy loop hike that features different interactive exhibits for kids to engage them with nature and their surroundings. Perfect for ages 1-7.

We hope to see you exploring Nature’s Playground this summer- check out our new visitor center in downtown Morganton for maps, trail information and more at 140 N Sterling Street, Morganton.

Morganton is hailed as, “The Trailhead of Western North Carolina”, centrally located in Burke County. Our Visitor’s Center is full of information about unique attractions and activities in the area. Stop by and visit us or visit www.discoverburkecounty.com