Last Updated on September 28, 2021
Last Updated on September 28, 2021
If you plan to visit Western NC, please check beforehand to see if the area is safe following the recent flooding. Officials have closed some sections of Pisgah National Forest (including Forest Heritage Scenic Byway and Blue Ridge Parkway stops) to keep visitors out of danger. Please respect signage and local guidance.
The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is a one-of-a-kind North Carolina attraction that belongs on everyone’s bucket list. Located in the rugged Hickory Nut Gorge, the former road has found a new repurpose as a lovely flower garden.
It’s one of our favorite things to do in Lake Lure for a few reasons. For starters, you’ll find several native plant gardens and installations here.
The best thing of all is that it’s FREE to visit. So everyone can enjoy this wonderful place, and we certainly love it for that reason, too.
We share all of it with you in this guide, including info about how you can visit the bridge, its history, and more.
Here’s how we’ve organized the guide:
- Where is the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge?
- Background and History
- Tips for Visiting
- Things to Do Nearby
Scroll ahead to the info you need or keep reading about where this wonderful garden is located.
This post is part of our series on Rutherford County and more of our favorite places to visit in Western North Carolina.
Where is the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge?
US 64, US 74A, and NC 9 all converge at Bat Cave in Henderson County, and these highways continue west through the Hickory Nut Gorge and the Town of Lake Lure.
The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge lies along this stretch of road (also known as Memorial Highway), and its official address is 3070 Memorial Highway in Lake Lure.
If you’re coming from Chimney Rock, you’ll make a left turn and a right turn if you’re driving from Lake Lure. Keep an eye out as you approach the bridge because if you miss it on a busy day, you’re likely to wait a while before backtracking.
Lake Lure Flowering Bridge History
Long before Lake Lure was established in 1927, Cherokee and Catawba People occupied the area. They believed the Hickory Nut Gorge was sacred ground and didn’t fight over it.
European settlers came to Western NC, and a road was built in the 1810s through the Gorge to connect Rutherfordton and Asheville. The area continued to grow, and the NC DOT eventually built a 155-foot bridge here in 1925.
The bridge’s original purpose was to carry traffic over the Rocky Broad River. Travelers used this bridge until 2011 when the NC Department of Transportation closed the bridge after building a replacement 50 yards upstream.
Today’s Lake Lure Flowering Bridge (and Why You’ll Love It!)
Instead of demolishing Historic Bridge #7, as it was then known, the Town of Lake Lure enlisted a group of locals to repurpose the bridge. As a result, the Friends of the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge was formed in 2013.
Since then, these Friends have maintained the bridge as a beautiful space, drawing locals and visitors from all over North Carolina and beyond. Their dedication is one of the many reasons we love this place and why any visitor will, too.
With a mission to create a “Gateway to Somewhere Beautiful,” a stone walkway weaves between native plant gardens and beautiful views. From Lake Lure below and Chimney Rock above, visitors to the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge can escape to a magical flowering land.
Volunteers come together and continue to nourish and cultivate both the plants but also the community. You’ll often see a volunteer working in the garden during your visit.
Feel free to ask them questions about the garden!
Whimsical sculptures, various themed gardens, and interactive areas for tiny humans are what make visiting the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge so special.
In 2015, the Friends expanded the gardens on both ends of the bridge to become North Carolinas largest “Sensory Garden for the Blind and Visually Impaired.”
Tips for Visiting the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge Today (Parking Info and Donations)
The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge is accessible and free to enjoy. However, donations are graciously accepted, and the Friends of Lake Lure Flowering Bridge has placed QR codes throughout the attraction.
Because it is a bridge, you can start from either end. There is parking available on both sides at either the parking area or the Lake Lure Welcome Center.
As we mentioned, keep an eye out as you approach the bridge because it’ll come out of nowhere, and backtracking could take quite a while.
Ready to Fall in Love with the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge?
With all the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge offers (history, beautiful flowers, and more!), it’s easy to see why we love this place. If you’ve ever been lucky enough to spend time here, we’d love to know what you think of it.
Any first-time visitors are welcome to share their impressions with us, too. We’re always happy to discuss this special spot in Western NC.
Things to Do Nearby
Beyond those great mountain towns, the bridge sits between Chimney Rock Village and Lake Lure. There are plenty of things to do nearby, and we’ll share the closest ones with you here.
We do suggest getting as early a start as possible, as this is a bustling area. Expect traffic to build up around the village on weekends.
As we mentioned, Lake Lure is an easy day trip from Asheville and is known for its beautiful cool weather. In addition, there are 27 miles of shoreline, including a swimming beach.
Speaking of that beach, we think you should take a moment (or day) to enjoy this place. It’s a great way to soak up the lake and get lost in those beautiful surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains.
Admission to the beach is $10 for adults and includes the water park. Warm days are perfect for bringing your tube, renting a boat, and relaxing on Lake Lure.
Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock State Park is a must-visit before or after the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. The 535 million-year-old namesake monolith towers over the gorge and is marked by the flag that beams out of the top.
You can hike or ride an elevator up to Chimney Rock and continue to Exclamation Point and beyond. We also love the Hickory Nut Falls Traill, which leads to a 404-foot waterfall.
Admission is $17 per adult, which we think is worth it for the Gorge views, the Chimney Rock, the waterfall, and more!
The Village of Chimney Rock
Below the State Park in the Gorge is The Village of Chimney Rock—a quaint shopping and restaurant district. There are more than a few ways to kick back along the Rocky Broad River and Memorial Highway.
Beers and food at Hickory Nut Brewing are a great start, but you’ll also love the Chimney Rock location of Burntshirt Vineyards. It’s one of our favorite wineries, of course.