If you are in the area, (Gaston County located just west of Charlotte, NC) and looking for quick and easy trail to hike, look no further than the Lake Loop at Crowders Mountain State Park. This short eighth of a mile loop circling the perimeter of the lake, won’t disappoint!
The Lake Loop Trail is made of natural terrain making it perfect for both joggers and hikers although you may find a few roots along the way so keep a look out. Also, you will find a couple of step to navigate located at the far side from the fishing pier. Since this trail is short, and doesn’t have any major climbs it could be a an ideal trail for pets and those not up for anything overly strenuous.
What to See
The views from all sides are quite lovely with every turn offering something new to behold. Starting near the fishing pier veer right heading counterclockwise around the lake. As you walk through the woods with the lake to your left take a gander to your right to see a forest full of maples, beech and varieties of oak.
Once you reach the back corner of the lake, the trail will dip into the woods and briefly through a small bog. Keep your eye out and you may spot a great blue heron. Take another dip back into the woods and over a small foot bridge covering a babbling brook below.
Now you will be on the far side of the lake from the pier. Look up to see the Pinnacle. Crowders Mountain is a monadnock rather than a mountain, defined as an isolated erosional remnant that rises abruptly from the surrounding land.
Make another turn and walk the long straight away bringing you back towards the fishing pier. To your right, in the woods look for ferns peppering the ground. If you need a rest you will find a bench nestled below a few pine trees, located right before you make the final turn in the loop. Straight across the lake here you will see more of the monadnock popping up along the skyline.
As you finish your lap notice how the lake is dammed then head out onto the pier to look overlook this nine-acre lake filled with bluegill and largemouth bass.
Where is the Lake Loop Located
To access the Lake Loop you can either park at the lake and follow signs from the Sparrow Springs entrance or you can park at the visitor center and hike the Turn Back Trail to Fern Trail. This will make your hike a little over 2 miles. Sparrow Springs entrance can be found at 522 Park Office Lane, Kings Mountain, NC 28086.
Restrooms are located both at the parking lot at the lake and at the visitor center.
About Crowders Mountain State Park
Crowders Mountain State Park offers two challenging hikes the Pinnacle and Crowders Mountain, both giving way to steep climbs, followed by a final push up multiple stairs, before reaching the top. Towering cliffs and spectacular views of the surrounding area can be found at the top of both. There are eleven trails in the park, rock climbing and bouldering and a visitor center with its museum-quality exhibits showcasing the history and ecology of the area. Dogs are welcome to the park but must be kept on leash.
Crowders Mountain State Park is open daily from 8 am to 6pm and the visitor center is open from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
Similar Hikes in Gaston County
George Poston Park and Rankin Lake Park both located in Gastonia also have lakes as well as several trails. You are sure to find the perfect fit. Also, located just outside of Gaston County is Kings Mountain State Park. Check out the Historic and Bridle Trails located there.
So there you have it! A quick hike that will get you outside in the fresh air with some spectacular views making it really worth it! So, the next time you are in the area, check out the short and sweet Lake Loop at Crowders Mountain State Park in Gaston County, NC.