Fonta Flora State Trail

Fonta Flora State Trail
Length19 miles (31 km)[1]
LocationNorth Carolina, United States
DesignationState Trail (North Carolina)[2]
TrailheadsAsheville, Morganton
UseHiking & Bicycling
SightsLake James
SurfaceAsphalt, Natural
Maintained byNorth Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation

The Fonta Flora State Trail is a unit of the North Carolina state park system in Buncombe, McDowell, and Burke Counties, North Carolina in the United States, and it consists of 90 acres (36 ha)[1] of conservation land and 19 miles (31 km)[1] designated multi-use trail. The State Trail is planned as a continuous route for hikers and cyclists[3] from Asheville to Morganton, with a loop around Lake James. The trail is a collaboration between local governments, local land conservancies[3] the US Forest Service, and the state, with development coordinated by the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation (NCDPR).[4]


In 2004, Duke Energy's Crescent Resources made a deal with NCDPR to sell undeveloped land around Lake James for an expansion of Lake James State Park, and they offered trail easements for the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail on their properties.[5] Two years later, Duke Energy started the process of re-licensing their hydroelectric dams on Lake James with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Public comments during the re-licensing encouraged Duke Energy to develop a loop trail around Lake James, which would connect all communities, recreational, commercial and residential properties, the Overmountain Victory Trail, and local/state parks along the lake.[5]

The loop trail concept was initially called the Lake James Loop Trail, but it was later renamed after the community of Fonta Flora, which was submerged with the creation of Lake James.[6][3]

On June 15, 2015, the General Assembly of North Carolina established the Fonta Flora State Trail, and directed NCDPR to coordinate its development.[2]

During the master planning process for the state trail, its concept was expanded with connections from Lake James to Asheville and Morganton.

On April 17, 2018, the Foothills Conservancy donated 90 acres (36 ha) of undeveloped land near Old Fort to NCDPR for the trail.[7] The conservancy also obtained trail easements from adjoining property owners for future construction of the trail.[3] The property follows a ridge near Camp Grier, and the Foothills Conservancy will manage it on NCDPR's behalf.[3]

List of designated sections[edit]

NCDPR has designated several existing trails as part of the Fonta Flora Trail (from west to east):

Oaks Trail in Black Mountain[4]
Point Lookout Trail in Pisgah National Forest[4]
Fonta Flora State Trail at Greenlee Park in McDowell County
Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway in Marion[4]
Fonta Flora County Park in Burke County[4]
Catawba River Greenway in Morganton[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Size of the North Carolina State Parks System" (XLS). North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation. January 1, 2019. Archived from the original on July 21, 2019. Retrieved July 21, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Session Law 2015-113". Raleigh, North Carolina: General Assembly of North Carolina. June 24, 2015. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e Chávez, Karen (April 25, 2018). "New Fonta Flora State Trail system connecting Asheville to Morganton grows". Asheville Citizen Times. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Fonta Flora State Trail – Designated Sections". North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Fonta Flora State Trail". Burke County. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  6. ^ Henderson, Bruce (February 12, 2019). "NC farm valley Fonta Flora was a 'magical place.' Now it's at the bottom of a lake". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved July 23, 2019.
  7. ^ "Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina purchases 90 acres for Fonta Flora State Trail expansion". Morganton New Herald. April 17, 2018. Retrieved July 23, 2019.

External links[edit]