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Preserving our land and water

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Welcome To The Outdoors! Gaston County is committed to preserving natural spaces, not only to sustain the environment but to offer unparalleled access so everyone can enjoy them.

Visitors can paddle our rivers, bike under a canopy of towering trees or hike to the tops of quartzite peaks. From kayaks, paddleboards and canoes to mountain bikes, hiking shoes and climbing gear, if you have the passion we have a place to engage it.

Gaston County preserves the land and water so people can discover this outdoor wonderland located right inside metro Charlotte.

Catawba Riverkeeper

The Catawba Riverkeeper is the only non-profit, on-the-water advocate for the waterways in the Catawba-Wateree River Basin that protects and enhances rivers today for future generations.

They offer a variety of ways to experience the water with kayak rentals available at three locations in Belmont and McAdenville during the spring and summer months and through Eco-Tours that feature on the water and near the water trail experiences.

Mountain Island Educational State Forest

Soon to be newest of seven educational state forests across North Carolina, Mountain Island Educational State Forest will showcase the benefits of forest management in action and will provide a wonderful spot for educational outdoor experiences. Currently under construction, it will open to the public in the near future.

This non-profit organization works directly with local land managers, building and assisting in the maintenance of over 110 miles of carefully constructed, sustainable mountain bike trails, in the Charlotte metro region.

They are the voice of advocacy for mountain bikers, building and maintaining trails for people to enjoy for generations to come.

Gaston County trails include Mountain Island Park in Mount Holly and Rocky Branch Trail in Belmont.

Municipal Trails & Parks

The Gastonia Parks and Recreation Department provides a variety of active and passive recreational opportunities for all ages and preserves valuable open space for the enjoyment of the public at its parks, trails and greenways.

A recent lease agreement allows Gastonia to develop the site of the former Linwood Springs Golf Course. Currently owned by the State for public recreation, the existing concrete golf cart path will potentially add dozens of miles to Gaston County’s trail network.

Lineberger Park is home to a trailhead for the Avon/Catawba Creek Greenway, offering a series of paved walking trails.

Rankin Lake Park features an 80 acre lake with a1.5 mile paved trail that runs the perimeter, as well as an office to handle boat rentals including jon boats, canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats. The park is also a connector to the Highland Rail Trail.

George Poston Park is situated at the base of Spencer Mountain in Lowell and features 13 miles of trails built by Piedmont Area Singletrack Alliance (PASA). The park is also home to North Carolina’s first asphalt pump track.

Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park is located on the Catawba River in Belmont and offers a kayak launch ramp which serves as a beautiful location to start a day on the water.

The City of Mount Holly provides access to greenway trails and mountain bike trails. The 1.2-mile greenway trail that connects Tuckaseege Park to the Mount Holly Municipal Complex is a paved trail that takes visitors along the picturesque Catawba River.

Mountain Island Park in Mount Holly is home to a 1.6-mile natural surface trail that meanders through the woods and is home to many types of wildlife. This trail starts at the parking lot below the dam and continues into the woods.

The Cramerton Parks and Recreation Department maintains 10 greenways and trails totaling over three miles and is responsible for six access points to the South For