Moses Cone Hiking Trails -- Blowing Rock, NC
Moses Cone Manor
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 “Demin King.” It is said that 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 Carriage Trails – Blowing Rock, NC
The Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is an estate honoring 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 all year round, and has 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 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.
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.
Wildflowers found at Moses Cone ParkClick thumbnail to view full-size
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The Carriage Trails
Trout Lake Carriage Trail is a 3.6 mile loop trail and is used for hiking and horseback riding. The trail is accessible from September until November and is rated as moderate and has an elevation gain of 338 feet. I have not hiked this trail yet but it sure is on my bucket list. There are so many spectacular trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway that are on my bucket list.
The Flat Top Mountain Carriage trail leads to the Fire / Observation Tower and is 2.8 miles one way and offers some magnificent views (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.
This trail has a slight elevation gain and zig zags all the way to the top where the Fire / Obeservation Tower is located. It also passes the Cone Family cemetery where family members are buried. Another trail is the Craftman's Trail which is a 20-minute loop around the Manor. It is said that the Cones walked this loop together every morning.
Sights along the Carriage Trail at Moses Cone Park in Blowing Rock, NCClick thumbnail to view full-size
Photos from a sunny North Carolina winter dayClick thumbnail to view full-size
Photos of Flat Top ManorClick 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, embrodiery, weaving, pottery, glass blowing, and wood carving on the front porch of the manor. The next time I visit I plan to get better photos to post.
Even Foggy Days Can Have a Certain Beauty to ThemClick thumbnail to view full-size
Other Helpful Resources
- Bear Den Cabins
Bear Den Cabins is within a short drive to Blowing Rock NC where you can enjoy the beauty of the NC Mountains at Moses H Cone Memorial Park.
- Moses Cone Park — Trout Lake Carriage Trail | Blowing Rock North Carolina Hikes | Trails.com
General Hiking information, features, and statistics for Moses Cone Park — Trout Lake Carriage Trail in Blowing Rock, North Carolina
- Moses H. Cone Memorial Park & Flat Top Manor
Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and Flat Top Manor make up one of the most prevalent historic attractions on the Blue Ridge 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.
© 2012 Michelle Dee