Starting at the east end of the FFST, you will encounter these unique downtowns as you travel west along the route.
Morganton – The largest municipality in Burke with an outfitter, 2 bike shops, hotels/motels, a county visitor center with FFST maps and expert advice on the area. Friday night music during the summer season.
Glen Alpine – Located along Highway 70 and close to Lake James, it offers gas stations, restaurants and a bike shop. A one-mile connector route will take you to FFST and the Watermill Kayak Access on the Catawba River. It was once home to the largest hotel in NC. Check out their 4th of July Main Street Parade.
In addition to these two municipalities, Burke County includes multiple trailhead parking areas for Fonta Flora State Trail with trail views of Lake James and Shortoff Mountain. Be sure to check out Lake James State Park for the state and additional trails, as well as camping and a swim beach. There is a brewery located near trail. The Overmountain National Historic State Trail overlaps FFST in the county and there is an MST connector.
Marion – Where Main Street Meets The Mountains, the perfect base camp. Woods Mountain, Tom’s Creek Falls, the McDowell Greenway (FFST), and Lake James are favorite recreation areas. Check out downtown’s 310 District with a retro arcade, music hall, restaurants, breweries, a general store, a meadery, and more.
Old Fort – Surrounded by the Pisgah National Forest, Old Fort boasts miles of hiking, mountain bike, and waterfall trails including popular Catawba Falls, Kitsuma Peak, and Point Lookout Trail (FFST). Stop by the visitor center, check out the breweries, restaurants, museum, and art gallery.
McDowell County – In addition to these two towns, explore the Blue Ridge Parkway communities including Little Switzerland. Between Parkway Mileposts 344 and 316 there are trails, waterfalls, and historic sites to discover. Other well known trails include Mountains-to-Sea State Trail and the Overmountain Victory State Trail. Don’t forget the expert level disc golf courses!
Black Mountain – The Little Town That Rocks from Sunup to Sundown! Stop at visitor center for a photo op with “Rocky” the bear. Then head over to one of the downtown breweries, craft beer locations, or an eatery just block from the Oaks Trail (FFST) hike or bike access.
Asheville — Beautiful hub of great art, music, food, beer and creativity. The FFST will end in the River Arts District which highlights all of this plus architecture and the river.
Buncombe County — In addition to the above, Buncombe is home to the towns of Biltmore Forest, Montreat, Weaverville and Woodfin – along with many townships. With the French Broad River running through the county, there is plenty of outdoor recreation. In addition to FFST, it hosts the French Broad River State Trail, Mountains to Sea State Trail, Hickory Nut Gorge State Trail (in progress).