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Moses Cone Hiking Trails, Blowing Rock, NC

Efficient Admin (aka Michelle) has been hiking for eight years on the wonderful mountain trails of North Carolina and South Carolina.

This day it was foggy and drizzling, but I was still able to get some good photos.

This day it was foggy and drizzling, but I was still able to get some good photos.

Moses Cone Park

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 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.

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.

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, hemlock hedges and Sugar Maples transported 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.

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 the 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.

Where to Stay

There are no camping facilities or lodging at Moses Cone Park. Camping is available at Julian Price Park three miles south on the Parkway, and for lodging the scenic Bear Den Cabins are less than an hour south on the Parkway.

Other Helpful Resources

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.

© 2012 Michelle Dee


Kaycee on January 23, 2015:

I watned to spend a minute to thank you for this.

Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on December 10, 2012:

hello MsDora - Thank you very much. The mansion is an awesome house and when I go back there I want to take more photos of it. Thank you for stopping by and reading and the vote.

hello shiningirisheyes - Thank you very much. This is a great day trip indeed and an easy trail to hike and I was surprised the fog / photos came out well. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on December 10, 2012:

Thank you for another fine adventure my friend. I must also commend you for taking some thrilling and fantastic photos of the mist rolling in. What a character it has.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 10, 2012:

Your pictures are awesome. I'd really love to visit the mansion. Thanks for sharing these beautiful views of the Moses Cone Carriage Trail. Voted Up and Interesting!

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