The Morganton Greenway System includes the Catawba River Greenway and the Freedom Trail Greenway and currently has five pedestrian access points with parking. In 2009, the Greenway System was included as part of the North Carolina Birding Trail. Information about the trail and the types of birds on the trail was published in the NC Birding Trail Mountain Region Guide.
Use the addresses and GPS coordinates below to map directions to the Greenway access areas.
- Greenlee Ford - Greenlee Ford Road, Morganton, NC - 35.740360, -81.718058
- Freedom Park - Liberty Drive, Morganton, NC - 35.749459,-81.716867
- River Village - 300 Sanford Drive, Morganton, NC - 35.748787, -81.704790
- Catawba Meadows Park - Catawba Meadows Drive, Morganton, NC - 35.760748, -81.706278
- Rocky Ford - 35.771087, -81.691568
Catawba River Greenway
The Catawba River Greenway Park offers at total of 3.8 miles of paved, fully accessible walking trail. The Catawba River Greenway runs along the Catawba River from the Rocky Ford Access area off Lenoir Road/NC 18 N. to the Greenlee Ford Access adjacent to the Catawba River Soccer Complex Loop located off Greenlee Ford Road.
Along the trail there are picnic shelters and open tables, ADA compliant rest rooms (open year round), a playground, fishing piers, canoe launches, a gazebo, multilevel observation decks and pedestrian bridges which cross the river and tributaries.
The National Park Service formally certified the Greenway as part of the Overmountain Victory Trail. The Park Service placed historical markers along the Greenway walking trail commemorating the historic King's Mountain March.
Freedom Trail Greenway
The Freedom Trail Greenway connects Freedom Park and Freedom High School to the Catawba River Greenway. Freedom Trail extends .6 miles from the Freedom Trail Access Point adjacent to Freedom Park and is highlighted by a 226-foot, 90-ton pedestrian bridge that crosses the Catawba River.
The 10-foot wide pedestrian bridge links the northern and southern sides of the city providing access to what has become a very extensive pedestrian and bikeway system along the southern side of the Catawba River. Approximately 17,000 people use the Catawba River Greenway trail each month.
In the early 1990's, the City of Morganton acquired large amounts of property along one of western North Carolina's most cherished natural resources, the Catawba River, which meanders nearly 8 miles through the corporate limits of the city. Through aggressive grant writing campaigns the City was able to acquire nearly 6 miles of river front in the early 1990s.
Morganton was able to develop an extensive regional bikeway and pedestrian greenway system along its river front to provide recreation to its local citizens. The greenway soon attracted thousands of users per month from areas well outside the City of Morganton. It has become one of Morganton's calling cards and been highlighted numerous times in regional and national conferences.
Upper Catawba River Trail
The Catawba River Greenway and Catawba Meadows Park are part of the Upper Catawba River Trail which extends from Black Bear Access on Lake James to Lookout Access on Lake Lookout Shoals. The 82-mile river trail has 24 boating access points and four portages along the route.
The PDF brochure linked below was produced by the Western Piedmont Council of Governments in 2004.