Fonta Flora State Trail
The Mountains to Sea and Fonta Flora connector trail will be closed in the Linville River Tract while the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission conducts forest management restoration projects starting October 30, 2023. The connector trail in this area is marked with a blue circle. The main Fonta Flora State Trail, marked with red feathers, will be partially impacted by this closure. The Mountains to Sea Connector and Fonta Flora State trail can still be accessed through Wolf Pit Trailhead. The forest restoration efforts will increase diversity in both wildlife and plants, be a fire-wise forest, and reduce opportunities for the spread of harmful or invasive species. You can look forward to hearing more bird songs, watching trees grow bigger, and improved water quality in White Creek. The plans also include a natural lookout point over Lake James. For more information visit the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission closure page.
There are currently about 20 miles of the trail open for hiking and biking between Lake James State Park and 3-Way Supply. To see a map of the constructed trail sections:
For information on the trails in Lake James State Park, please visit:
Sections or the entire trail may be closed by the respective management agency. It is absolutely critical to remain off the trails until they have been officially reopened. A single hiker or biker can cause serious damage to the trail which slows the drying process and keeps the trail closed longer. Repairing damaged trail takes time and resources away from building new trail or adding additional amenities. Please encourage your friends, family, and community to respect the trail closures and help keep the trail healthy.
- Open sunrise to sunset
- Trails closed when wet
- No motorized or equestrian use
- Bicycles must yield to pedestrians
- Bike speed limit 10 MPH
- Keep pets leashed and clean up after
- Carry in, carry out; leave what you find
- Plan ahead and prepare
- Be considerate of other visitors
- Obey all signs and closed gates
- Any/all trail sections may be closed
due to hazardous conditions, for
maintenance, or after rains.
About the Fonta Flora State Trail
The Fonta Flora State Trail (FFST) is a recreation facility that provides an unparalleled experience for people of all ages and abilities. The long term vision for the Trail is to connect Downtown Asheville with Downtown Morganton. The first section to be built will be a 29-mile loop around one of North Carolina's premier recreation destinations, Lake James.
Primarily a natural surface trail, the FFST provides users with gentle grades and spectacular views of Lake James. It is open to hikers and bikers year-round. This public resource was made possible through the hard work and collaboration of Burke County, Duke Energy, Crescent Communities, North Carolina State Parks, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, private landowners, area residents, and volunteers.
What's Happening Now
Planning the Trail
Through a collaborative planning process, community members articulated a vision for how best to connect people and places with trails around Lake James. While this plan won't happen overnight, Burke County has made astounding progress.
Realizing the full scope of the Fonta Flora State Trail will take many years, but the loop around Lake James will serve as the spark to ignite the passions to complete it.
Burke County has several active projects in the design phase:
Canal Bridge Crossing
- The County is working with an engineering and design firm to build a bike and pedestrian crossing for the Canal Bridge at Lake James. The design process is almost complete and will include an on deck sidewalk across the bridge. The construction will be underway in 2024. This project is in partnership with NC Parks and NC DOT. When completed, this trail will serve as a major connection point for the trail, spanning the narrowest part of Lake James and connecting two sections of Lake James State Park. This project is in partnership with NC Parks and NC DOT. When completed, this trail will serve as a major connection point for the trail, spanning the narrowest part of Lake James and connecting two sections of Lake James State Park.
Harris Whisnant Trailhead
- The county is working with a contractor to build a small gravel parking lot with a paved ADA parking spot at 1410 Harris Whisnant Road that will serve as an access to the current terminus of the Fonta Flora State Trail. This trailhead will be the closest access point to the trail from the City of Morganton.
Linville Dam Boardwalk and trail
- In partnership with Duke Energy, the County is working on the design for a boardwalk that will span the Linville Dam and connect in to future trails at the Bridgewater Hydroelectric Station. The County has hired an engineering design firm to provide a design for the structure and additional elements. Construction of this project is anticipated to be several years out in the future.
Cobb Avenue/North Powerhouse Side Path
- The County is in the Preliminary Engineering phase for the trail connection from Harris Whisnant Rd/Cobb Avenue to Laurel Ridge Ct near the Linville Dam. This project was made possible through a Surface Transportation Block Grant – Direct Attributable grant through the Western Piedmont Council of Governments and a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant from NC Parks. This project is still in the early design phase.
If you have any questions about the construction of the Fonta Flora State Trail, contact Burke County Community Development at 828-764-9034. See status updates for Fonta Flora County Park.