For outdoor recreation, few places rival Western NC. 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. Tame the back nine or tennis court at Mimosa Hills Golf & Country Club, ride a horse by a mountain stream, watch wildlife at Grandfather Mountain, or seek treasure at nearby gem mines. If you can do it outside, you can do it just minutes from our front door.

Hiking/Biking Trails

When you live in Morganton, you quickly learn why it’s called the “Trailhead of Western NC.” Hiking and biking trails abound, and here are just a few.

  • 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)



Fine Wine & Good Spirits

Nature’s Playground also happens to be home to several notable wineries, microbreweries and distilleries. A resident favorite, the celebrated Catawba Valley Wine Trail includes five of our local wineries! Here are some of the nearby places to find fine wines and good spirits:

  • Belle Nicho Winery
  • Carolina Mist Winery
  • Carolina Distillery
  • Catawba Brewing Co.
  • Lake James Cellar*
  • Linville Falls Winery
  • Raintree Cellars*
  • Silver Fork Vineyard & Winery*
  • South Creek Vineyards & Winery*
  • Waldensian Heritage Wines*

* Winery is on the Catawba Valley Wine Trail


A Walk in the Park

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)!



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.



Thrill Seeking

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.