Rising over 1,600’ in Gaston County sits a beautiful mountain offering plenty of outdoor activities. Hop on a hiking trail, fish or canoe on a scenic lake, and discover plenty of stunning vistas. For a more extreme adventure, go rock climbing or camping inside this state park. Whatever suits your interest, Crowders Mountain is worthy of your time spent among a beautiful piece of preserved land.
Get your bearings
Head to the Visitor Center to get the lay of the land. A well-maintained facility houses exhibits where visitors can learn about the history of the mountain, its flora, fauna and geology. Pick up an information sheet listing trail descriptions and a park map to determine where you want to explore. If you’re still unsure, ask a park ranger for more information.
Park and Visitor Center Hours
Dec.-Feb., 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
March, April and Oct., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
May-Sept., 7 a.m.-9 p.m.
Nov., 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Address: 522 Park Office Lane, Kings Mountain, NC 28026
Parking: There are 500 parking spaces located throughout the state park. On Saturdays and Sundays, parking is often full by morning, so make plans accordingly. Be an early bird to avoid parking delays.
Whether you want a nice stroll or a workout, there are over 20 miles of scenic hikes ranging from easy to strenuous. Walking among nature is where you will truly experience the variety of the mountain plant and animal life. Most parts of the trails are shady, but have water on hand to keep everyone hydrated.
Hike to the top
Backside Trail takes you to the top of Crowders Mountain. This direct route is only 0.7 miles one-way, but is rated strenuous, finishing with 337 steps to reach the summit. Take advantage of the benches along the way.
Another hiking option is the Pinnacle Trail, which takes you to the top of Kings Pinnacle. It’s two miles each way with a steep switchback and a boulder to maneuver around to reach the summit. It’s a longer route, but not as challenging.
Spectacular views await hikers at the top. Watch hawks soar in the wind currents above the beautiful countryside. On a clear day, Charlotte’s Uptown skyline can be seen. Be careful and stay away from the edge, there are sheer cliffs down below!
Tip: A note of caution for selfie takers, there is not a barrier around the sheer cliffs and a single misstep could be lethal. Please pay attention to what you’re doing at all times.
Rated easy, Lake Trail circles a beautiful wooded lake makes for a leisurely 20-minute walk. Keep your eyes and ears open to the sights and sounds of the forest. Look for evidence of the beavers’ nightly work chopping down trees to build a dam, frogs guarding the entrance to their lakeside homes and lizards scampering around.
If you’re interested in fishing for bass, bream and catfish, throw a line from the banks or the fishing pier – a NC fishing license is required. For those looking to get out on the calm lake, rent a canoe from the Visitor Center. Canoe rentals are reasonable at $5 per hour. Private boats and swimming are not permitted.
Currently, canoe rentals are unavailable due to low water levels. Once sufficient rain has fallen, this restriction will be lifted. Check the park website for updates.
Experienced climbers can scale Crowders Mountain’s vertical cliffs from 100 to 150 feet in height. You will need to stop by Linwood Road Access to fill out a permit before you get started. Bring your own equipment. The state park only furnishes the granite cliffs.
Linwood Road Access is located at 4611 Linwood Road, Gastonia. Here climbers can pick up a map showing where the climbing cliffs can be found.
Only accessible by a one-mile trail from the park office, campers can find secluded campsites. Each campsite has a grill, picnic table and tent pads. Outside firewood is not allowed, though firewood is available for purchase. Campers must register at the Visitor Center and campsites can be reserved in advance.
Firewood costs $5 per box. Family camp sites are $13 per night/per site. Group campsites are $28/$35 per night/per site.
Photo: Corey Inscoe