Burnsville Quilt Block Trails
Burnsville and Yancey County are home to nine quilt block trails in the North Carolina mountains. These self-guided driving trails take folks into the countryside to view colorful quilt blocks adorning barns, buildings and churches.
Quilt block trails are a great social distancing activity for exploring the scenic byways and country roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Burnsville’s nine trails showcase approximately 150 blocks, one of the largest concentrations anywhere in the United States.
Of course, people often ask – what are quilt blocks?
They are large wooden squares designed, built and painted by volunteers. They are patterned after the colorful squares which adorn traditional mountain quilts.
Each block’s design is inspired by its location. For example, the “Sneakers” block on Burnsville’s old gymnasium features a flower with sneakers for its petals.
Below are brief descriptions of all nine trails in and around Burnsville, along with links to a basic driving map for each trail.
Meanwhile, spiral bound driving maps with detailed descriptions of all blocks are available for purchase at OOAK (One Of A Kind) Gallery, 573 Micaville
Loop, Burnsville, NC 28714. Gallery phone number is 828) 675-0690.
Consider an overnight stay to enjoy multiple trails and explore other activities available in and around Burnsville. View a comprehensive lodging listing by clicking here.
Arbuckle Trail – Just a few miles east of downtown Burnsville, this trail features 18 blocks with an
estimated drive time of 1.5 to 2 hours. Arbuckle Road is on this trail. The road was named by a local who
loved Arbuckles’ roasted coffee from Arizona. The Arbuckle Coffee Pot block honors that connection.
Bee Log Trail – The shortest of Burnsville’s trails, this one features 9 blocks with an estimated drive time
of 1 hour. It follows US 19W along the Cane River and goes through the Bee Log community, with a
block on Bee Log Elementary School. View map
Burnsville East Trail – This trail covers the eastern sections of Burnsville, featuring 21 blocks with an
estimated drive time of 2 hours. Several blocks adorn businesses, like the “Circular Saw” block on
Heritage Lumber and the “Amish Star” on Ye Olde Country Store. View map
Burnsville West Trail – The most urban of the trails, this one includes the heart of downtown and the
western half of Burnsville. There are 28 blocks with an estimated drive time of 2 hours. A highlight is the
“Burnsville Sundial” block on the Yancey Times Journal building. It is the only quilt block sundial in the
world, and accurately tells time. View map
Celo and Parkway Trail – This trail focuses on the artists’ enclave of Celo and moves on out to the Blue
Ridge Parkway. There are 25 blocks with estimated drive time of 3.5 to 4 hours. Several blocks are on
artist studios in Celo and the Toe River Valley. View map
Green Mountain and Relief Trail – One of the most scenic trails, this one follows the Toe River north
from Burnsville into the mountainous communities of Green Mountain and Relief where the Toe River
becomes the Nolichucky and flows into Tennessee. Other communities include Tipton Hill and Buladean.
There are 25 blocks and estimated drive time is 3.5 to 4 hours. View map
Lickskillet to Westside – West of town and including Lickskillet and Westside roads, this trail features 17
blocks with an estimated drive time of 1 to 1.5 hours. The Cane River is predominant and there’s a block
on Cane River Middle School. View map
Mt. Mitchell Scenic Byway Trail – This trail begins (or ends) at Mt. Mitchell State Park, the highest point
east of the Mississippi River. It features 50 quilt blocks that can be seen in an estimated 3 hours or so.
Follow the scenic byway via the Blue Ridge Parkway. N.C. Hwy. 80 and U.S. 19E. Six quilt blocks are not
on thoroughfares and require a short side trip. View map
Pensacola Trail – This trail also interacts with the Cane River and flows through the Pensacola
community. There are 19 blocks which can be viewed in an estimated 2 hours of drive time. The “Fish”
block on Pensacola Road was the 100th block erected in the Burnsville area. View map