The Catawba River Greenway in Morganton is one of the nicest biking/walking paths I have ever experienced. The trail is listed the at 3.80 miles, we logged 10 miles on it. There are some side paths to take.
I parked at the Catawba Soccer Complex, there are five other parking areas that I saw, Greenlee Ford, River Village (NC 181), Catawba Meadows (Sanford Drive) ,Rocky Ford (US 64/NC 18), and Freedom Park (NC 126)
My recommendation, and this is what I am going to do the next time, because I will definitely go back, is to park by the restaurant named Judge's Riverside. The parking there is shaded and right on the path.
I would estimate that ninety percent of the path is shaded, the path runs right along the Catawba river and has numerous decks with seating that have been built and they hang out over the river. Nice places to stop, relax and listen to the water, additionally, there are distance markers every tenth of a mile. On the eastern end of the trail is a native american village interpretive center, it is located in Catawba Meadows Park. We will check it out on the next trip. There are also a couple of restaurants located along the path and I guess we will have to check them out on subsequent trips. I have a bunch of pictures on my facebook page, here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/BikesBeerandGrub/