Conservation Trust for North Carolina
Milepost: 328-329 | County: McDowell | Acres: 125 | Hiking: Yes
The Orchard at Altapass, overlooking North Cove, is one of the few orchards in North Carolina that has been in continuous operation for more than 100 years. The orchard is a popular tourist destination and local music center, hosting approximately 50,000 visitors each year. A trail network, which includes a portion of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail from the Revolutionary War, provides a self-guided walking tour to highlight the orchard’s agricultural, natural, and historical significance. CTNC collaborated with orchard co-owners Bill Carson and Kit Trubey to protect the orchard and surrounding land. CTNC and the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund purchased conservation agreements on the 125-acre working apple orchard to ensure its permanent preservation.
In 1994 Kit Trubey discovered that a cultural treasure along the Blue Ridge Parkway was threatened. Fear of bulldozers and the likelihood of intensive residential and commercial development prompted Ms. Trubey’s swift decision to purchase the 276-acre Orchard at Altapass. The land contained not only a working apple orchard but also a section of the Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, taken by patriot militia on their way to the pivotal Revolutionary War battle at Kings Mountain.
With the assistance of her brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Judy Carson, Kit started a crusade to forever preserve the land, apple trees, trails, vistas, and cultural heritage at the orchard. In 2001, CTNC purchased a 132-acre forested portion of the property above the Parkway and conveyed it to the National Park Service for inclusion in the Parkway’s boundaries. In 2015, CTNC permanently preserved the orchard. “We’re absolutely thrilled that all of the ‘good stuff’ at the Orchard at Altapass – the apple trees, music and dance hall, scenic vistas, hiking trails, and values of the community – will be protected for future generations to enjoy,” said Orchard co-owner Bill Carson.
From May through October the orchard hosts Parkway travelers who enjoy live music, hayrides, fresh apples, magnificent scenic views of protected lands, hiking trails, food and souvenirs in this unique setting where history comes alive.
— landowners Kit Trubey and Bill Carson