Discover Burke Trails Any Season

Burke County, NC
March, 2023

On August 10, 2021, the NC Legislature passed HB 554 designating 2023 as the “North Carolina Year of The Trail.” This historic designation underscores the tremendous energy behind showcasing, promoting and celebrating North Carolina’s trails both in terms of their incredible positive impact on quality of life for North Carolina residents as well as significant economic impact on individual communities who benefit from “trail tourism.” As part of this celebration, Burke County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) is hosting a “Discover Burke Trails” event on Saturday March 11th from 12 noon to 5pm at the City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium (CoMMA).

Activities will be held both indoors and outdoors during the event. Food trucks will be on site. This event is free to the public and will feature talks and activities for people of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you are very familiar with the outdoors and recreate regularly or you have never been on a trail before but are interested in learning more about being outdoors, this event is for you!

Keynote presentations during the event will include Jennifer Pharr Davis, the fastest woman thru-hiker of the Appalachian Trail; Earl Hunter Jr, Founder and President of Black Folks Camp Too, a marketing driven business whose mission is to increase diversity in the outdoor industry; Randy Johnson, author of “Grandfather Mountain- The History and Culture of an Appalachian Icon”; and Dr. Seth Hawkins, an anthropologist, writer, and physician based in Burke County who teaches wilderness rescue classes among his many other roles. The symposium will be emcee’d by Deborah Holt Noel of North Carolina Weekend on PBS-NC. 

In addition to the speakers there will be more than 20 exhibitors and vendors at the event including inflatable obstacle courses for kids. There will be lots of information from the outdoor partners in Burke County including Lake James State Park, South Mountain State Park, Foothills Conservancy and more. There will also be group hikes led on days surrounding the festival. Lastly, for those who stay the whole day, there will be a Hobie Kayak door prize (winner must be present) supplied by CBS Sports, an outdoors outfitter in Morganton.

Come see why Burke County is deemed “Nature’s Playground.”  Plan your visit today!

The Burke County Tourism Development Authority is located in Morganton, North Carolina, and serves the tourism interests of Burke County, NC.  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

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