Hiking, live music, parks, fine dining, art shows, camping and festivals.  Learn why Burke County is a great place to work – and live


Central Burke County offers a moderate climate all year round.

Average Temperatures Annual Precipitation
January 30° – 40° F Snow 8 in.
July 75° – 80° F Rainfall 50 inc.

Outdoor Activities and Recreational Facilities

Burke County offers some of the most stunning outdoor recreation opportunities in the Southeast. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous weekend of camping and rock climbing or a day at the park with little ones we have it all!

South Mountain State Park
The largest state park in North Carolina offers hiking, horseback riding, camping and picnicking with clearly marked trails and a magnificent waterfall.

Linville Gorge
The largest canyon east of the Grand Canyon offers hiking, backpacking and rock climbing with trails leading to majestic overlooks and waterfalls.

Lake James and Lake Rhodhiss
These man-made recreation areas offer fishing, boating, swimming, canoeing and picnic facilities. Lake James State Park has two public access areas.

Catawba Meadows Park and the Greenway System
A park system with over 4 miles of handicapped-accessible, paved walking trails with overlooks, public rest rooms, playgrounds and picnic shelters. The park also has a recreational facility with a variety of sports fields, a disc golf course and a zip-line course.

Fonta Flora State Trail
This 26-mile loop trail is currently under construction and will circumnavigate beautiful Lake James. Composed of a natural mineral soil surface the trail will provide opportunities for walking, hiking and mountain biking. Once fully developed it will feature parks and other amenities.

Blue Ridge Parkway
One of the most visited sections of the National Park System. The Parkway incorporates numerous campgrounds, picnic areas and trails.

Parks, Recreation Centers and Community Activities

Burke County is home to numerous town parks, recreation centers and aquatic centers with year-round swimming. Phifer Wellness Center is a 26,000 square-foot comprehensive fitness center. Various community groups sponsor adult softball and basketball, youth soccer, basketball, football and baseball.

Cultural organizations, entertainment and venues

There is never a shortage of things to do in Burke County! On any given weekend there are opportunities to see performances, live music and art shows at some of the following events and venues…

Catawba Valley Brewery and Fonta Flora Brewery – local craft breweries offer a wide range of entertainment options
CoMMA – 1,000 seat auditorium showing Broadway, dance, comedy and music performances. The CoMMA features the fresco project of “Sacred Dance & the Muses,” by Benjamin F. Long, IV, which is a permanent art piece located on the gallery ceiling
The Old Rock School – auditorium that features plays, national entertainers and local performers
The Great Waldensian Festival – the oldest annual street festival in Burke County
The Historic Morganton Festival – one of the largest street festivals in North Carolina
TGIF – weekly outdoor summer concert series
The Western Piedmont Symphony – 60 professional musicians serving four counties
The Jail House Gallery – art museum featuring local, regional and national artists

Organizations include:

  • Burke Arts Council
  • Art League of Burke County
  • Burke Choral
  • Burke Community Concert Association
  • Burke Cultural Arts Coalition
  • Morganton Community Board
  • Morganton Youth Theater
  • Old Colony Players
  • Schubert Music Club
  • Valdese Music Club
  • South Mountain Hand weaver’s Guild
  • WPCC Drama 120
  • WPCC Portfolio Art Club
  • Waldensian Church Museum