Fonta Flora Trail
Destination by Design partners with NC State Parks and local government organizations to plan and create the 60+ mile Fonta Flora State Trail, connecting Morganton to Asheville. In 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly approved legislation to establish the Fonta Flora State Trail (FFST). Upon completion, the trail will extend from Morganton to Asheville, connecting Lake James, Marion, Old Fort, and Black Mountain. Destination by Design has completed three of the seven section master plans.
The Fonta Flora State Trail finds its origins in the desires of Burke County citizens to increase quality of life for residents while providing a regional recreation and tourism asset that allows public access to the area’s cultural and natural resources. From Lake James to iconic Asheville to the charming downtowns of Morganton, Marion, Black Mountain, and Old Fort, the region has no shortage of recreational and cultural amenities. By linking these assets, the FFST, a significant amenity in its own right, will further leverage mountains, waterways, and main streets which have made the region a destination for adventurers both near and far.
“Our team is passionate about adding long-term value to the communities we work in, beyond the tangible master plans that we often produce.”
The FFST: Lake James to Morganton Section Master Plan was completed in the summer of 2018. This section, linking Lake James to the city of Morganton, stretches over 21 miles and features 11 trailheads and 20 miles shared with the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail. This section of the FFST will provide critical connectivity between the trail’s hallmark outdoor asset—Lake James—and a major population center in the area.
Completed in the Spring of 2016, the FFST: Lake James Section Master Plan marks the beginning of the trail’s planning process. Totalling 29.4 miles of greenway, this section encircles Lake James. Ten miles of trail as well as a new trailhead with custom facilities and artistic signage were constructed in 2017. While realizing the full construction of the FFST will take years, the progress made in Burke County is a testament to the community’s commitment to making the FFST a success.
The FFST: Lake James to Marion Master Plan was completed in winter 2019. This section totals 23.5 miles from Lake James to the City of Marion. Key connections include the Fonta Flora Brewery, Black Bear Boat Access, Big League Camp, and the Joseph McDowell House in downtown Marion.