Fonta Flora Trail links foothills, mountains near Asheville

It was a sleepy little town where farmers worked the rich land along the Linville River. The Burke County town of Fonta Flora was also once home to a post office, the Rhyne School and Old Sardis Church of 1838.

But starting in 1916 the residents were dispersed and displaced to higher ground as the Catawba and Linville rivers and Paddy’s Creek were dammed to create Lake James and produce hydroelectric power for the growing region.

A century later, the little lost town is being honored by the creation of the Fonta Flora Trail.

The newest unit of the North Carolina State Parks System, the Fonta Flora Trail aims to unify Western North Carolina towns from the foothills to the mountains, stringing together spots from Morganton to Asheville. The planned 70-80-mile foot and bike trail will bring back to life, if only in name, the little lost town.

The signature piece, now under construction, is a loop around the 6,800-acre Lake James, nestled in the foothills of the Pisgah National Forest, with views into the Linville Gorge Wilderness.

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