Catawba River Greenway

North Carolina

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Catawba River Greenway Facts

States: North Carolina
Counties: Burke
Length: 3.8 miles
Trail end points: Greenlee Ford Rd. nr. Soccer Complex and Rocky Ford at Lenoir Rd./US 64/NC 18
Trail surfaces: Asphalt
Trail category: Greenway/Non-RT
ID: 6032526
Trail activities: Bike, Inline Skating, Fishing, Wheelchair Accessible, Walking

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Catawba River Greenway Description

The Catawba River Greenway meanders, along with its river namesake, through the historic town of Morganton, North Carolina. The trail encompasses wooded areas, open meadows and the quaint commercial village. Virtually in the center of downtown, the 10-foot wide, multi-use paved trail is fully handicap accessible and has many amenities.

In addition to fishing piers, canoe launches, observation areas, picnic facilities and recreation spots, you'll find restaurants, coffee houses and shops.

Parking and Trail Access

Access areas include:

*Greenlee Ford (near US 70 W)
*River Village (NC 181)
*Catawba Meadows (Sanford Drive)
*Rocky Ford (US 64/NC 18)
*Freedom Park (NC 126)

Catawba River Greenway Reviews

Great ride for my first ride in 20 years

Beautiful scenery. Wonderful condition. Not at all crowded (albeit at noon on a Monday in the middle of August). Very flat - which is great if that’s what your looking for. Definitely recommend for a quick but pleasant ride.

4.5 is a more fair rating.
Ran entire length , 8 miles.
Good, paved trail. Mostly flat, a couple small hills for some challenges.
Scenary is very nice, especially the bridges at beginning or end, depending on where you start.
A few sight seeing spots are a highlight as well.
So once again, if looking to get in a couple miles, this would be a good choice.


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:

We started at Judge's and walked to Friend's (both restaurants on the trail).very easy to walk but, you feel completely immersed in Nature!

I live a 1/4 mile from this trail and am running or biking it several times a week, as it connects my house to the grocery store, etc.

Great paved trail along a beautiful river. Note that it divides into two short routes on the western end. Do both. And bring a picnic, your golf discs, volleyball.... The trail borders a system of incredible park complexes for a town of only 16,000 people. Two very good microbrews in town also.

The Greenway trail is just over 7 miles both ways, so it was a perfect length for a leisurely ride. The path is paved with several spots to view the river from nicely built overlooks. We really enjoyed this trail!

My wife and I just purchased cruiser bikes and this trail is the first one we hit. We live within 15 miles of this trail, so we were already familiar with it as walkers. If you have a bike, bring it and enjoy the casual riding experience of this trail.

This is a great Greenway.

After moving from Texas a few months ago, I was beginning to get discouraged about finding a running trail that wasn't on main streets or at such a slope that I needed a semi to pull me up. Catawba River Greenway is the absolute best trail this area has to offer that I have found. The slopes are very manageable, the scenery spectacular, and the distance just right. The 3.7 mile ( one way ) distance is perfect for the non-pro runner like me. I was able to do 6.25 miles without much trouble on this course. Highly recommend it for runners, walkers, and family outings.

This is a great flat trail. Paved all the way. It is a real asset to Morganton.

It is probably more enjoyable to walk than ride. The trail has always been crowded with walkers and often they are with their dogs. Everyone is polite but there are often just too many people to clear the trail for riders. There is a lot of start and stop. Any speed at all is probably not going to happen.

If you have time for a walk, I certainly recommend it.

We rode this trail on November 11, 2010. It was a great day for a ride and a great trail to ride on. The scenery is very pretty. The ride is not strenuous and has restaurants, shops, and many beautiful views of the river. The whole trail is asphalt and well maintained. We parked at the Greenlee Ford Rd. access. The restaurant there, Judge's, was highly recommended, but we didn't have a chance to enjoy it. The entire ride, including the Freedom Park spur, was about 8.5 miles. I rated this trail very highly. I wished it was longer, but all in all, a very good outing.
Kathy & Don Oakes

We rode this trail for the first time -9/04/10. This is a very nice trail heading north - no traffic from the ball fields heading toward the trail head away from the Greenlee Ford area. The traffic on the trail was minimum making this a great bike ride. I would highly recommend this trail for individuals, families and anyone looking to have a wonderful afternoon. The trail was very well maintained - cut & trimmed - no branches to impede any area we rode. The view of the catawba was great with lookouts along the way. Also, there are a couple of restaurants along the path on the south end - one at the Greenlee Ford - the Judge - that was quite the nice ending to a perfect weather day during our ride.

We rode the Catawba River Greenway for the first time Saturday (8/14/10) as we made our trip from Columbia, SC to Asheville, NC. We found ample parking at the Rocky Ford access area. The trail was very pleasant w/ nice trailside amenities such as kiosks, benches, bridges & decks overlooking the river. While the majority of the trail is flat, there were a couple of rollers which managed to slow my son (age 8) down a little from his usual fast tempo, lol! While we did not stop & eat, we found a couple of trailside restaurants that we may check out the next time we make our way to Morganton. There were plenty of nice views of the river & quite a few nice greenspaces/parks along the trail. We even spotted a disc golf course & there was a host of athletic fields at the opposite end of the trail from which we started. We would most definitely recommend this trail for those who are looking for a leisurely stroll w/ the family or a nice bike ride or jog!

We had so much fun today. We rode our bikes about 4.6 miles. I would recommend this trail to anyone that is looking for a nice relaxing ride. The trail runs right along the river. I can’t wait until our next bike trip.

We really enjoyed a leisurely "comfort bike" ride on this trail. Our first time on the Greenway, we had ridden past it many times, and even strolled on the "boardwalk" years ago afte a great meal at the restaurant located on the greenway.
Parking at the "trailhead" at the US 64 entrance just before the four lane road crosses the Catawba River, we were so glad that we had driven the 50+ miles from our home to get here.
Despite a "packed" schedule for us the remainder of this month and in early October, we plan to find time to ride the greenway again soon and enjoy the fall foliage, the wildlife, the turtles basking on the sandbars of the river, and a stop at "Judges Restaurant" for their great buffet dinner before we leave.

We understand that "serious" riders would never dare to use a "comfort bike" or stop at an all-you-can-eat buffet -- but who said we were "serious riders"? We are serious about this being a great place to enjoy, relax, and "semi-serious" ride.
Don't have a bike?? -- Lots of walkers also, some were even holding hands!!

The Catawba River Greenway is a nice 45 min. ride from one end to the other and back if you are not in a hurry. The Greenway follows along the bank of the river so it is mostly flat with only a couple of minor inclines. There are still restaurants and other businesses located on the boardwalk area but the bicycle shop has closed down. I live in the area so I visit quite often and I think the citizens of Morganton are fortunate to have such a recreational area. This is a trail so there is no motor vehicle traffic to contend with, however when biking it is advised to stay alert to walkers and joggers with headsets as they will often move into your path even if you give warning due to not hearing you over their music. I recommend this trail to all.

I'm 9 years old and the thing I like the best about the greenway is all the animals and nature. My whole family ride their bikes. Something is new everytime we go. Its the best time of my life.

"This greenway is fantastic. It has everything you would want. The family rides there all the time. You can pack a picnic or eat at one of the restaurants. There's canoeing, fishing, playgrounds and beautiful scenery. I'd recommend it to anyone."

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