Moses Cone Hiking Trails, Blowing Rock, NC
Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is the estate of the late Moses H. Cone in Blowing Rock, NC. It is located right off the Blue Ridge Parkway with access at Milepost 294 and if you love to walk in the outdoors it is a must-visit location. The park is operated by the National Park Service and is open to the public year round, with about 225,000 visitors per year.
It has 3,500 acres of land, a 16-acre trout lake, a 22-acre bass lake, and 25 miles of gentle "carriage trails" for hiking and horseback riding. Bertha Cone left the estate to the Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, NC, and in 1950 the hospital gave the estate to the U.S. Government.
Wildflowers Found at Moses Cone ParkClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Carriage Trails
The Flat Top Mountain Carriage trail leads to the Fire / Observation Tower. It is 2.8 miles one way and offers some magnificent views.
This trail has a slight elevation gain and zigzags all the way to the tower at the top. It also passes the Cone Family cemetery where family members are buried.
This is a really good trail for beginner hikers, children, and dogs. I always wear hiking boots but you could wear a good sturdy pair of tennis shoes and be okay. Hiking poles are not needed on this trail.
All of the photos in this article were taken on this trail. I have visited this trail on three occasions: the first trip was a bright and sunny day, the second trip was a drizzly foggy day, and the third trip was a sunny winter day.
Another trail is the Craftman's Trail, a 20-minute loop around the Manor. It is said that the Cones walked this loop together every morning.
The Trout Lake Carriage Trail is an easy 3.6 mile loop trail for hiking and horseback riding, said to be best in the fall. It has an elevation gain of 338 feet.
Sights Along the Carriage Trail at Moses Cone Park in Blowing Rock, NCClick thumbnail to view full-size
Even Foggy Days Can Have a Certain Beauty to ThemClick thumbnail to view full-size
Moses H. Cone
Moses H. Cone was a prosperous textile entrepreneur, conservationist, and philanthropist back in the 1800s. He was a self-made man. His textile mills produced high quality denim which earned him the nickname “Denim King.” He left his family business in Greensboro, NC, Cone Export and Commission Company, to start a business on his own.
He and his wife Bertha designed and built the manor which is known as Flat Top Manor. His interest in nature led him to plant extensive white pine forests and hemlock hedges and transported Sugar Maples from New England. He also built several lakes and stocked them with trout and bass. He and his wife were staunch naturalists before the term ever came into being.
Moses Cone Manor
Photos From a Sunny North Carolina Winter DayClick thumbnail to view full-size
Flat Top Manor
This mansion was built in 1901 by Moses Cone. It is a 23-room, 13,000 foot home with a Colonial Revival style architecture. This manor is beautiful and has large white columns on the wide front porch, leaded glass windows, and high dormers.
Currently it is home to the Parkway Craft Center, featuring arts and crafts of hundreds of local artists. Local artists demonstrate their skills in quilting, embroidery, weaving, pottery, glass blowing, and wood carving on the front porch of the manor.
Photos of Flat Top ManorClick thumbnail to view full-size
Where to Stay
There is no camping or lodging at Moses Cone Park. Camping is available at Julian Price Park three miles south on the Parkway. The scenic Bear Den Cabins are less than an hour south on the Parkway.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2012 Michelle Dee