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Hiking the Duncan Road Trail in the High Country

No cabin fever here! The mild winter has given me the chance to get out of the house and visit some local trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Living in Blowing Rock with access to some of the most beautiful hikes in the country is quite a treat and a privilege. 

This week I walked from Cone Manor at milepost 294 on the Duncan Road Trail which winds lazily down to Bass Lake. Cone Manor was built by textile magnate Moses Cone and his wife at the turn of the 20th century. Cone was ahead of his time consulting conservationist and forestry pioneer Gifford Pinchot on the types of trees to plant on his sprawling estate. It is a gorgeous white Victorian house that is now home to a North Carolina Craft Center during warmer times of the year. Beautiful panoramic views abound from the covered porch as you are able to sit in a rocking chair and taking in the scenery.

The trail is wide, and has a gradual decline dropping 420 feet over 1.6 miles. As we walked the trail we passed many friendly faces and several riders on horseback. There are about 25 miles of trail associated with Cone’s Flat Top Manor for riding and hiking and I have only scratched the surface. 

Over the coming weeks I hope to tackle all of the trails on the property. Bass Lake, which is also easily accessible from Highway 221 outside of Blowing Rock, is a .8 mile long loop trail around the 22-acre lake. Nestled in a valley, there are nice views back up toward Flat Top Manor from the banks of the clear, cold mountain water. During warmer times of the year it is not uncommon to see people fishing the waters in hopes of landing a big one.