NATURE AND OUTDOORS

 
For nature-lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, few places rival Western NC. There are so many opportunities to step outdoors for fresh air and invigorating activities.

Our trails lead you to stunning bluffs and waterfalls, clear lakes for canoeing, greenways, and mountain overlooks that have made the Blue Ridge Mountains legendary. Pick apples at an orchard, explore caverns in Linville, ride a horse by a mountain stream, watch wildlife at Grandfather Mountain, or seek treasures at nearby gem mines.

Just steps from our door, you’ll find Catawba Meadows Park, complete with a municipal greenway that meanders along the picturesque Catawba River. In addition to special seasonal events, the park houses a 17-hole disc golf course, sand volleyball courts, softball and baseball fields and picnic shelters (your grandkids will thank you)!

Grace Ridge residents also enjoy membership to Morganton’s own Mimosa Hills Golf & Country Club, offering rounds of golf, tennis matches and dining with friends.

Scenic Drives

  • Blue Ridge Parkway, one of America’s most iconic scenic drives
  • Brown Mountain Overlook and mysterious Brown Mountain Lights
  • Wiseman’s View Overlook with stunning views of the 1,200-foot deep Linville Gorge
  • Grandfather Mountain featuring the Mile-High Bridge (37 miles)
  • Lake James State Park (no better place for a picnic!)
  • Lake James Loop
  • Mount Mitchell State Park, home to the tallest peak east of the Mississippi! (55 miles)
  • South Mountain State Park with enchanting waterfalls
  • Table Rock Mountain, extending views of our entire region
  • Pisgah National Forest

Hiking/Biking Trails

  • Catawba River Greenway Trail (4.2-mile paved walking & biking trail)
  • Grandfather Mountain Trail (Linville)
  • High Shoals and Shinny Creek Loop Trails (South Mountain State Park)
  • Linville Falls Trail (Linville)
  • Shortoff Mountain Trail (Lake James State Park)
  • Table Rock Trail (Morganton)
  • The Western Burke Classic (bike trail through the South Mountains)
  • Upper Lake James Loop (bike trail around Lake James)

 

 

Water Recreation

Should you enjoy boating, kayaking or just dipping your toes in a lake, Burke County features many rivers and lakes. Don’t miss Lake Rhodhiss, Lake Hickory and Morganton’s own jewel, Lake James at Lake James State Park. Or stop by the Catawba River Outpost for whitewater rafting, fishing or a canoeing expedition down the Catawba River.

Off the Beaten Path

Looking for something really different? Fly below the trees with The Beanstalk Zip Line or hit the ski slopes in Boone and Banner Elk just 40 miles north of Morganton. Mine for gems and emeralds at Spruce Pine Gem Mines or Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite, NC, both less than an hour away. Or try your hand at prospecting at Thermal City Gold Mine in nearby Union Mills.