Posts Tagged ‘Blue Ridge Parkway’

There are many trails in the Moses Cone system that are well worth your time, but the trail leading up to Flat Top Tower is one of my favorites.  That’s because this trail offers something that will please almost any type of hiker.

It’s a Sunday afternoon and Charles and I are in no rush. We walk up the Flat Top trail at our leisure, stopping to snap photos and admire wildlife.  While the entire trail is beautiful, it’s the first few hundred feet that I love best.  Not only do I find the rolling meadows and views of Grandfather aesthetically inspiring, but more importantly, these views remind me of the childhood days I spent hiking the Moses Cone system with my grandparents.  It was these two wonderful people who taught me how to love the Blue Ridge mountains.

Above: view of Grandfather from trail

As we work our way up the trail, we move through wooded copses and out onto an open field.  The sun is high overhead and it’s one of those spring days where all you want to do is lie in the sun and not move.  Charles and I somehow resist this urge and continue up the trail, knowing the best is yet to come.

Above: meadow adjacent to Cone Manor graves

After moving through a mile and half of gravely, switch-backed trails, we make it to the top of the mountain where the fire tower rests.  I’m initially hesitate to climb the tower as it seems thin and shaky, but the sound of voices from the top boosts my confidence and I head up.  (Plus, I know I can’t wimp out after coming this far; what would my fellow hikers think of me?)

At the top, it feels like I can see the whole world.  To the north, Boone stretches out before me and to the south lies Blowing Rock.  In the distance, I can even see Table Rock, Price Lake, and Mt. Mitchell.  Knowing that common words are a poor substitute for scenes such as this, I record the vista, hoping to in some way preserve its magnitude.

Above: panorama from fire tower

Hike it: The Moses Cone Trail systems are among the most popular in the High Country.  Most of the trails are extremely accessible as they were once carriage trails commissioned by Mr. Cone.  Today thousands of walkers, joggers, hikers, and horseback riders frequent these trails and rest assured that should you hit one during the high season, you won’t be alone!  But if you’re comfortable with a general lack of solitude, then one of the many Moses Cone trails is for you.

The Flat Top Tower trail, in particular, is very popular.  From the Cone Manor to the top is 2.8 miles.  The trail is listed as “moderate” and you’ll gain a good bit of altitude as you hike.  The trail itself, however, is very accessible as it is switch-backed and gravelled.  The trail also offers a wide variety of experiences from meadows to woods to vistas, making it the perfect “please all” kind of hike.

For more information on the Moses Cone Trail system, please visit the following:  CNY Hiking & Blue Ridge Parkway Guide

Entry by Lori Beth

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