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May 17, 2021, 9:26 a.m.

Coming Soon: New Blue Ridge Trails Under Construction

Hiking in McDowell County

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The Blue Ridge Mountains are overflowing with ways to explore, including hundreds of miles of trails for hiking, trail running, mountain biking and horseback riding. From easy to strenuous routes, and paths that lead to mountain summits, rushing waterfalls or majestic forests, trails connect people with our towns and natural attractions across the region.

Check out our hiking and waterfalls guide to learn more.

Three new trail systems are in development that will add nearly 200 miles of trail access to the area. These are all in early planning stages — although a few miles of trails are ready for you to enjoy now!

Look out for these trails coming soon:

Fonta Flora State Trail

When completed, the Fonta Flora State Trail will connect Morganton to Asheville, looping around Lake James on the way. It will offer approximately 100 miles of new hiking and biking trails and will connect with the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail and the Mountains-to-Sea State Trail. Also planned is the Fonta Flora Trailhead Park, which will be located in the center of the trail in Old Fort.

There's a lot of buzz around this new trail, but as of right now it's still in the planning stage. It's estimated the project will take about 10 years to complete so we all have something to look forward to in the coming years. Completed sections that are open now include the Point Lookout Trail near Old Fort and the Joseph McDowell Historical Catawba Greenway in Marion.

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Old Fort Trails Project - G5 Trail Collective

A non-profit partnership with supporters across five counties, the G5 Trail Collective has proposed 42 miles of new, sustainably constructed trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use in Pisgah National Forest. Coupled with existing trail systems, this project will result in more than 70 miles of trails accessible from the Old Fort area!

Plans include connectors to Curtis Creek Campground, the Newberry Creek Trail and the future Fonta Flora State Trail. Two new parking areas at Jarrett Creek and Bernard Mountain will provide access to trailheads.

Wilderness Gateway State Trail

One of the newest trail systems to be authorized in North Carolina, the Wilderness Gateway State Trail will connect the Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail near Lake Lure and Chimney Rock State Park with the towns of Valdese and Hickory, crossing South Mountains State Park along the way.

Expected to stretch more than 150 miles when complete, the trail system’s many recreational areas will be easily accessible from Interstate 40. Part of the trail will follow the same route as the Overmountain Victory State Trail.