Burke COunty TDA
Burke County, WNC Adventure Guide Destinations

Top 10 Burke County North Carolina Outdoor Adventures!

Located in the Catawba River Valley in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Burke County is situated in the rolling landscape of western North Carolina and is home to some of the area’s best outdoor adventure destinations. Get started in Morganton, where you can gear up for adventure at CBS Sports and finish the day by checking out the many restaurants and breweries that are helping breathe new life into the city’s downtown district. With adventure destinations like the Linville Gorge to the north, Lake James to the West and South Mountain State Park to the south and numerous great adventures to be found right in the heart of Morganton, there is something for everyone in Burke County.

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Lake James State Park: Tucked beneath the towering summit of Shortoff Mountain and the Linville Gorge, Lake James State Park offers visitors a number of outdoor adventure opportunities. With more than 150 miles of mostly wooded, scenic shoreline, the lake is a great destination for fishing, paddling and boating. Access areas include boat launches at Black Bear Boat Access Area, Linville Access Area, and Hidden Cove Access Area. The newest portion, Paddy’s Creek, spans over 3,000 acres including canoe rentals and a large public swimming and beach area.

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South Mountain State Park: The largest state park in North Carolina with over 20,000 acres offering equestrian trails, backpacking, trout fishing, more than 40 miles of hiking trails and an 18-mile mountain bike loop. Elevations up to 3,000 feet and the impressive High Shoals waterfall cascading 80-feet into the Jacob Fork River make South Mountain State Park perfect place to enjoy nature while venturing deep into the woods.

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TableRock2-640x390Linville Gorge Rock Climbing:  The iconic landmark of the Pisgah National Forest in Burke County is Table Rock Mountain. Located between Lake James and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mother nature has set a table fit for all to feast upon. Both a quiet place to ponder and a challenging place to rock climb, Table Rock Mountain has something for everyone. Open April 1- Dec. 31 each year. Paved parking area with picnic area and vault-style toilets. No water or other amenities.

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CatawbaRiver1-640x390Catawba River Paddling: Below Linville Dam on Lake James, the Catawba River flows through scenic woodlands, around islands, and over a series of small and exciting rapids until it reaches the nearby town of Morganton. The river features beautiful scenery with clean, cold and clear water along with a number of class II rapids that provide a good challenge for beginning canoeists and kayakers.  For those looking for a more relaxing trip bring a tube or standup paddle board and do a lazy river float.

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Bean Stalk Journey: Zip-line Tree-Top Canopy Tour at Catawba Meadows Park with numerous ziplines, rope bridges, and a new Free-Fall attraction.  Beanstalk Zip Lines make a great adventure for the solo adventurist or the entire family. This zip line adventure begins by taking you across sky bridges then from tree house to tree house all while being suspended in the air from a series of zip lines. A well-trained, educated and adventurous guide will make sure your experience is a safe and enjoyable one.

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Apple-Hill-Orchard1-640x390Apple Hill Orchard and Cider Mill: Nestled in South Mountains of Western North Carolina, Apple Hill Orchard is conveniently located only 4 miles from I -40, just south of Morganton, NC.  Apple Hill has been growing apples in this location since 1955 and their apple growing roots go back five generations.  Pick your own apples, purchase fresh cider and other baked apple goodies at this local apple orchard that offers wagon rides through the orchard and apple picking from late August through October.

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McGalliardFallsPark5-640x390McGalliard Waterfalls: Originally constructed by Fred Meytre in 1906 the Meytre Grist Mill is not only a tribute to the past but a working attraction for the present. In 1916, a flood took the original water wheel away and spurred a change to turbine power. Meytre operated the mill until 1941, grinding corn for corn meal, wheat for flour and hammer meal for livestock feed.  Today McGalliard Falls is a historic outdoor adventure for the entire family and four legged friends. The picnic shelter may be rented by contacting the Valdese Recreation Department at 879-2132.

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Linville Gorge Hiking: The gorge is formed by the Jonas Ridge on the east and Linville Mountain on the west and is bisected by the Linville River which drops 2,000 feet into the valleys below. The hiking terrain is steep and rugged with numerous rock formations.  Head out on a journey of your own or take a guided overnight backpacking trip with Hike More Adventures, a full-service, and fully licensed guide service that help make sure you get the most out of your adventure and navigate the Wilderness Area safely.

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Catawba River Fishing: The tailrace below Lake James flows east to the Atlantic Ocean and is the only Special Regulated Trout Waters in NC which requires a special trout fishing license.  The Catawba River in Burke County offers universally accessible piers, canoe, and shoreline access for fishing. Expect to have your rod bending on brown trout, striped bass, yellow perch, and sunfish.  Grab your waders, canoe or kayak and venture out to the tranquility of the Morganton area. We recommend linking up with a local guide for more info. View options at Burke County website.

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Paddy’s Creek Biking: Taking a mountain bike ride on the extensive trail system at Lake James State Park is a great way to enjoy the outdoors at your own pace.  Around 15 miles of singletrack mountain bike trails are now open at the nearby Paddy’s Creek Area on Lake James, which encompasses more than 30 miles of shoreline on the 6,812-acre lake.  Venture out to the Tindo Loops for beginners and Wimba Loops for more of an adventure challenge. Lake James State Park Moutain Bike Trail System Map

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Burke County Adventure Expert:

www.discoverburkecounty.com || 888.462.2921


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