The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge

bridge
In 1926, the dam that created the idyllic Lake Lure was built. An entire new road system was built to fit around the growing lake. Three bridges were constructed along U.S. Highway 64. In 1927, the roadway opened, and the rest is history. The westernmost span crossing the Rocky Broad River connected the older village of Chimney Rock with the new town of Lake Lure. For 84 years, the bridge was a gateway to the Hickory Nut Gorge. In 2011, a new modern bridge was opened just south of the old span, and for awhile, the old bridge was used as a pedestrian walkway to nowhere. The image below is from the web, so I can’t take credit for this spectacular photograph.

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Soon, a group of motivated residents drew upon an idea that had been successful in similar circumstances. Create a spectacular garden of plants and flowers on the bridge that would encourage people to visit and enjoy the unique location. Built with private donations and town grants, The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge opened in 2013, and has surpassed all expectations of the volunteers who planted and maintain its wonderful gardens. Below is the view from the Lake Lure side, with Chimney Rock Mountain in the background.

Flowering Bridge

The ornate entrance on the east end, below,  makes the perfect place to rest and reflect.

Lake Lure Bridge

The individual gardens along the stone walkway, below, ,include most flowering plants that have grown in this area for decades, especially native wildflowers.

Flower Beds

The original bridge retaining walls have been preserved with their stone balustrades reminiscent of the ones found at villas along Italy’s Lake Como.

Ballastrades

The western end of the bridge features a succulent garden, and a tropical area, with Birds of Paradise and similar plants. Chimney Rock is visible in the upper left, behind the green spears.

Tropical Garden

Looking toward the western end, the carefully tended plots fill the space once occupied by passing cars.

Wildflower Path

Back at the east entrance, below, a Laurel and Rhododendron bench faces Lake Lure and Rumbling Bald Mountain. When you visit Lake Lure, and you must, you’ll be treated to a rare collection of colorful flowers and plants, and, in the process, you’ll see a preserved historic bridge that deserved to live.

Laurel Bench

11 thoughts on “The Lake Lure Flowering Bridge

  1. Goodness that is spectacular! A MUST see and visit. I haven’t been in that area since my son was young and going to Camp Chimney Rock, so I must have drove over that same bridge. Kuddos to those who came up with such a wonderful way to not only preserve the bridge, but to make such a beautiful garden for all to enjoy. Van, you’re definitely a knowledgeable guide for the area, You could make it a part-time business. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and information. Enjoyed as usual

  2. Thanks so much for the wonderful and very creative blog on Lake Lure Flowering Bridge. It is spectacular and well worth the visit. It was envisioned, created and maintained by community volunteers. As one of those volunteers we welcome all visitors to this place of peace and beauty. Bill Miller

    • Thank you so much Bill. I intend to bring everyone I know to the bridge. It’s the perfect classroom for learning the diverse plantlife found in the Lake Lure basin. Please add your name as a follower on my blog. That way you’ll be notified automatically when I post something new. We are so blessed to live in the most beautiful part of the Mountains….. Vann

  3. You’ve captured the beauty of this place — only the second “flowering bridge” in the United States — in both words and images. It’s always fun to watch the bridge work its magic on passers-by and inspire conversations between them and the volunteers. The grand opening is October 19, when a wholly different color palette will be in place, so ya’ll come. — Alice Garrard, Chimney Rock resident and bridge volunteer

    • Thank you Alice. I am in awe of the work that you volunteers have done to make this project such a wonderful reality. I look forward to meeting you at the Grand Opening. Sincerely, Vann Helms Otter Creek north of Lake Lure.

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