The busiest weeks for the Blue Ridge Parkway—fall color season—are almost here. If a drive along the scenic roadway is on your calendar, here's a fine stop for an easy walk to stretch your legs and enjoy the view at a slower pace.
Moses Cone Park at Milepost 294 near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, is a popular destination in its own right, and the 25 miles of carriage roads on the former estate offer plenty of opportunities for a hike.
It's possible to spend a day or more on the trails at Moses Cone Park, but if your time is limited or if you need a short hike that's suitable for travelers of almost any age or fitness level, the loop trail around Bass Lake should fit the bill. The level trip around the small lake covers only 0.8 mile and has a well-packed crushed rock surface that would even be suitable for strollers.
This is a route that's ideal for either a leisurely stroll or a brisk hike, and the trail is popular with residents of the nearby towns of Blowing Rock and Boone. Part of the way around the lake you'll have a fine, distant view of Flat Top Manor, the magnificent house that now houses the Parkway Craft Center.
The parking area for the Bass Lake Trail isn't accessible directly from the Parkway. To get there, turn south off the parkway at the marked exit for US Highway 221, which is near Milepost 294.5. That turnoff is on the Parkway about half a mile south of the parking area for the Moses Cone Park. Shortly after leaving the Parkway, you'll come to a "T" intersection for US 221. Turn left, toward Blowing Rock, on US221. It's about a mile to the Bass Lake entrance, which is on the left. This map of the Cone Park Carriage Trails also shows the route to the Bass Lake Parking Area.