Crowders Mountain State Park
Climb rugged peaks rising 800 feet above the surrounding countryside and 1,600 feet above sea level. Rocky ledges and outcrops are the perfect seats from which to view the panorama below. A visit to Crowders Mountain might include hiking more than 20 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, backcountry camping, picnicking and fishing. Additional features include a visitors center with restrooms and exhibit hall. Educational programs are also offered. Crowders Mountain is free.
Mother Nature blessed Gaston County with a pop-up mountain range in the heart of the Carolina Piedmont. This small range is anchored by Crowders Mountain and Kings Pinnacle, the centerpieces of Crowders Mountain State Park. Crowders is an adventure lover’s dream — 5,210 undisturbed acres just 15 minutes from downtown Gastonia and easily accessible by Interstate 85.
The park, one of the most popular in the North Carolina State Parks system, was founded in the early 1970s thanks to an effort by Gaston Conservation Society to preserve this unique mountain range from the threat of a large-scale mining operation. More land was acquired in 1988, and in 2000, an additional 2,000 acres were added to connect Crowders Mountain State Park with Kings Mountain National Military Park just across the state line in South Carolina.
ACTIVITIES FOR ALL HIKE, BIKE OR FISH
Within the park’s confines are adventures big and small. Hike the short but steep trail to the summit of Crowders Mountain to view Charlotte’s modern skyline in the distance, or stretch it out with the 12-mile (round trip) Ridgeline Trail that connects Crowders Mountain to Kings Pinnacle. Softer adventure can be had on several other trails, or enjoy paddling and fishing in the park’s secluded seven-acre lake.
Park staff hosts events and volunteer workshops throughout the year, and primitive camping is available in two areas. A family camping area has 10 sites, and a group camping area (ADA accessible) has 11 sites. Each area offers grills, picnic tables, tent pads, drinking water and vault toilets.
Many outdoor enthusiasts are satisfied with the strenuous hike to the “top of the world” at Crowders Mountain’s rocky peak. Conquering this steep, rocky ascent is a worthy achievement, and the payoff is a spectacular view of the North Carolina Piedmont.
Heartier souls prefer another method of conquering Crowders: scaling the 150-foot sheer rock cliffs to the summit. Rock climbing is allowed by park permit, and climbers must bring their own equipment. An even stiffer challenge is bouldering, which is also allowed by park permit. Park at the Boulders Access Area and hike one mile to the Boulders.
DOGS ARE CLIMBERS TOO
Crowders Mountain State Park allows dogs on all 11 trails, provided they are on a leash no more than six feet in length. The 11 trails vary in difficultly from easy to strenuous, so be sure to pick the right route for your pup (and you).
Please note the trails at Crowders Mountain are quite popular with humans, particularly during weekends, so keep that in mind when planning a hike with your dog. If you visit during a peak time, you will likely encounter a lot of two-legged and four-legged traffic along the way.