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The Trail Towns of Gaston County

Updated: May 15

Gaston County is on a mission to be the Piedmont's premier outdoor recreation destination. Our trails are helping to revitalize this region, providing opportunities for exploration and connection, and our towns create places for rest and enjoyment. As our communities embrace their trails, they find new ways to serve trail travelers, providing dining, shopping, and other recreational activities.


Safeguarding Our Outdoor Paradise

A crucial element in the success of our trail towns lies in the unwavering commitment of businesses and organizations dedicated to preserving the land and crafting and sustaining the trails. Together, these entities conserve the land and sculpt and maintain trails, creating a cherished haven in Gaston County for all nature enthusiasts.

  • The Catawba Riverkeeper safeguards the Catawba-Wateree River Basin

  • The Carolina Thread Trail, fosters a regional network of greenways

  • Catawba Lands Conservancy protects numerous properties

  • Crowders Mountain State Park showcases an array of trails

  • Whitewater Center offers outdoor adventures with over 50 miles of trails

  • Tarheel Trailblazers construct and maintain miles of mountain bike trails

  • Municipal parks and recreation departments maintain greenways, and recreational spaces

  • Piedmont Area Singletrack Alliance constructs trails at George Poston Park


Fostering Connectivity: Trail Towns in Gaston County

In recent years, our towns have experienced a remarkable resurgence, evolving into vibrant hubs that offer accessible accommodations, dining experiences, shopping, and entertainment options. Throughout Gaston County, our trails are more than scenic pathways; they act as unifying threads connecting our towns. This interconnection transforms the region into a compelling destination for travelers and residents alike.


Here, we've curated a list of trail towns that epitomize the essence of community connectivity, seamlessly blending residents, visitors, and multi-use trails into a harmonious tapestry of outdoor wonder and vibrant urban experiences.


Crowders Mountain Stop on Trail Town Gaston County
Crowders Mountain State Park


Trail Town: Kings Mountain

This charming town offers miles of great hiking trails and loads of historical significance. Here's why Kings Mountain makes for the perfect trail town escape:


Hike Crowders Mountain Gaston County Trail Town

Kings Mountain Trails

  • Kings Mountain Gateway Trail: At the south entrance of the town is this trailhead, where hikers and bikers can enjoy the miles of trails from the parking lot with public restrooms, bike rack, picnic shelter, and large grills. There is also an interpretive nature trail for children to explore.

  • Kings Mountain State Park: A treasure trove of natural beauty and historical significance. Its trails, such as the Kings Mountain National Recreation Trail, offer a blend of scenic vistas and insights into the area's rich past. As you hike, you'll traverse rolling hills, dense forests, and meandering creeks while immersing yourself in the stories of the American Revolution.

  • Kings Mountain National Military Park: Follow in the footsteps of Revolutionary War soldiers as you explore the Battlefield Trail, which winds through the battlegrounds of the pivotal Battle of Kings Mountain. Along the way, informative markers and monuments provide a glimpse of this crucial chapter of American history.

  • Crowders Mountain State Park: This State Park boasts a stunning collection of hiking trails. Among the highlights is the challenging Crowders Trail, leading to the summit of Crowders Mountain. At the top, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views, making the ascent worth the effort. Additionally, the park features the adventurous Pinnacle Trail and numerous other paths that wind through its lush woodlands.

Kings Mountain is a Gaston County Trail Town


Downtown Kings Mountain

After a day of hiking, Kings Mountain's downtown area welcomes you with open arms. The town exudes Southern charm, with tree-lined streets and historic architecture. It's the perfect place to unwind and refuel.


  • Dining: Explore local eateries serving up a delectable array of cuisine. Kings Mountain has something to satisfy every palate, Be sure to try some regional specialties for a truly authentic experience at 133 West and grab a sweet treat at The Sweet Station.

  • Shopping: Downtown Kings Mountain is a shopper's delight, featuring quaint boutiques and specialty stores. You'll find unique gifts, artisan crafts, and outdoor gear to enhance your hiking experience. Don't miss Patriot Jack's, where you can stock up on outdoor gear and apparel.

  • Things To Do: Kings Mountain isn't just a haven for nature lovers; many great family-friendly destinations, including the Kings Mountain Little Theatre and the Kings Mountain Historical Museum can also be found there. You may also choose to relax and overlook Crowders Mountain from Veronét Vineyards, or try your luck at Two Kings Casino.


 

Mount Holly - Gaston County Trail Town
Mount Holly - Gaston County Trail Town

Trail Town: Mount Holly

South of Mountain Island Lake along the Catawba River, Mount Holly offers a perfect blend of outdoor exploration, rich history, and a downtown filled with dining, shopping, and craft beverage options.


Trails in Mount Holly

  1. A & E Riverfront Trail: This paved greenway connects Tuckaseege Park to the Municipal Complex near downtown. The greenway works along the picturesque Catawba River between the two trailheads. From the Municipal Complex, you can easily walk a short distance to downtown Mount Holly, where shopping and dining options exist.

  2. Dutchmans Creek Greenway: is a paved and gravel connector trail connecting to the CaroMont Regional Medical Center and River Street Park in Mount Holly.

  3. Whitewater Center: Just a stone's throw away from Mount Holly, the Whitewater Center is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. While it's renowned for whitewater rafting, it also features an extensive network of hiking and mountain biking trails. Take a hike here and enjoy scenic views along the Catawba River and the thrill of exploring rugged terrain.

Downtown Mount Holly

  • Dining: Mount Holly invites you to satisfy your taste buds as local eateries offer diverse menus. Take advantage of the opportunity to eat on the river at JR Cash's Grill and Bar, and experience additional restaurants downtown.

  • Shopping: Explore downtown's quaint boutiques and shops, like The Vintage Nest, Catalyst Mercantile, or Planet Vintage Clothing, where you can find unique gifts, art, and clothing. Discover hidden treasures and support local artisans while indulging your shopping desires.

  • Attractions: Mount Holly is a stop on the Ridgeline Craft Beverage Trail, which includes Firehawk Pub and Traust Brewery. These establishments offer an array of craft beers and beverages, allowing you to unwind and savor the local flavors after your hiking adventures. Visitors on Saturday can explore the Mount Holly History Museum to gain insights into the community's heritage, which adds depth to your visit.


 

Belmont - Gaston County Trail Town
Belmont - Gaston County Trail Town

Trail Town: Belmont

Belmont is a true trail town gem along the banks of the Catawba River and beckons outdoor enthusiasts and seekers of small-town charm. Here's why Belmont should be your next trail town adventure:


Trails in Belmont

  1. Rocky Branch Park: Begin your journey at Rocky Branch Park, where scenic trails await. These trails offer an invigorating hike and connect you to the charming town of Cramerton, creating a seamless outdoor experience.

  2. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden: For a different kind of natural wonder, venture slightly away from downtown to the awe-inspiring Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. This botanical haven is a must-visit attraction in the area and features several trails that are part of the Carolina Thread Trail System. Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Catawba River and the garden's exquisite landscapes as you explore its pathways.

Downtown Belmont

  • Dining: Belmont's downtown area is a culinary haven with so many great restaurants we can't list them all here, but many recommend Nellie's Southern Kitchen, or Old Stone Steakhouse. There are great coffee shops, sweet shops, and nightlife locales as well.

  • Shopping: Stroll through downtown Belmont and discover charming boutiques and shops and a great outdoor gear shop, Catawba River Outfitters. You'll find other unique treasures, from antiques to handmade crafts, for perfect souvenirs or gifts. A great bike shop, South Main Cycles, can be found in the restored railroad station.

  • Craft Beverages: Belmont is a hotspot on the Ridgeline Craft Beverage Trail. Four establishments: Muddy River Distillery, Primal Brewery, Belmont Brewhouse, and Jekyll and Hyde, invite you to savor craft beverages that reflect the region's flavors and creativity. Unwind with a cold brew or artisanal spirits after your outdoor adventures.

  • Attractions: Outside of town is Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, one of the area's must-see attractions. Grab a kayak from Riverside Marina on the Catawba River. Belmont also has two great parks and an Escape Room.


 

Cramerton - Gaston County Trail Town
Cramerton - Gaston County Trail Town

Trail Town: Cramerton

Cramerton is a small town on the South Fork River but offers tremendous opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.

  1. Goat Island Greenway: The Greenway is a paved surface trail with two pedestrian bridges over two South Fork Catawba River sections onto Goat Island Park.

  2. River Link Greenway: River Link Greenway is a relatively flat, asphalt greenway that will take you past streams with great blue herons, turtles, and birds before guiding you through a more wooded area where deer are often spotted. This greenway is wheelchair and stroller-friendly.

  3. Riverside Greenway: This trail winds along the bank of the South Fork River. Walkers, runners, and bikers will enjoy exercising along various surface types, including pavement, boardwalk, and community sidewalks. The trail ends at the Southern Railroad overpass, where you can make the loop around a clearing and walk back to the trailhead.

Downtown Cramerton

  • Dining: All of these options are in downtown Cramerton across from Goat Island Park. Mayworth's Public House is an upscale pub with a Classic American menu of favorites. Screamo Taco is a vibrant taco bar, and Floyd & Blackie's is a local eatery, bakery, and coffee bar with ice cream.

  • Attractions: Confluence is a gathering space where visitors can come in off of the river, grab a beer, and be able to buy a t-shirt or grab a piece of art created by a local artist. At Confluence, visitors can rent kayaks to paddle the South Fork River, rent bicycles to ride on nearby trails, grab a fishing rod, disc golf discs, cornhole bags, ping pong paddles, and more to play at Goat Island.



 

Gastonia - Gaston County Trail Town
Gastonia - Gaston County Trail Town

Trail Town: Gastonia

Gastonia is the largest town in Gaston County and offers fantastic trails, great dining, and things to do.

  1. Avon-Catawba Creeks Greenway: This paved greenway is lined by mature trees on both sides of the trail and winds alongside Catawba Creek and Avon Creek, with a few small bridge crossings. Small benches are spaced throughout the greenway and usually have good creek views. Numerous informational plaques along the trail reflect common bird species. You can easily walk to the Schiele Museum of Natural History from this greenway via a sidewalk.

  2. Nature Trail at Schiele Museum: A short natural surface trail, you'll experience a pine forest, mixed hardwood forest, and pond and stream.

  3. Trails at Warlick YMCA: The Warlick Family YMCA at Robinwood Lake is committed to helping you live a balanced life and they openly share their beautiful campus, scenic lake, and Sytz Trail System with the public.

  4. Rankin Lake Park Trail: This loop trail is generally considered an easy route and is great for running and walking. Open year-round, dogs are welcome and may be off-leash in some areas.

  5. Highland Rail Trail: Constructed along the historic Carolina and Northwestern Railway, this ten-foot wide, paved surface urban trail meanders through residential neighborhoods and industrial areas, linking downtown Gastonia with Sims Legion Park and beyond.


Downtown Gastonia

  • Dining: Downtown Gastonia offers a great steakhouse, Webb Custom Kitchen, and the culinary gem, Barrister's inside the Esquire Hotel. Viva Tequis and Pita Wheel create a casual atmosphere, and great barbecue restaurants can be found outside of downtown. Grab a sweet treat at Tony's Ice Cream.

  • Night Life: Immerse yourself in live tunes at The Rooster, indulge in arcade games and social vibes at CityCade, and savor a fine bottle of wine at Gaston Pour House. For local flavors, sip on craft brews at Cavendish Brewery. If you prefer a more upscale atmosphere, try Vintage Whiskey Bar and Cigar Bar or the laid-back Freeman Pub.

  • Attractions: The Schiele Museum of Natural History is accessible by Avon-Catawba Creek trail. Check out the amenities at Rankin Lake Park, where you can fish and rent paddle boats in the summer. African American Museum tells the remarkable stories of the people who paved the way to our future. Make time to check out the Carolina Speedway for dirt track racing.


 

McAdenville - Gaston County Trail Town

Trail Town: McAdenville

Home to Christmas Town USA, McAdenville has a couple of great trails and places to relax in town.


  1. McAdenville Greenway Park: This paved trail runs parallel to the South Fork of the Catawba River and allows trail users access to the river and downtown McAdenville.

  2. Pharr Yarns Family Trail: A historic trail used initially by the Native Americans followed by settlers of textile mills. Most of this trail runs adjacent to the river and through woods under a canopy of trees. The land surrounding this trail is part of the Pharr Yarns Preserve.

Downtown McAdenville


Attractions: Outdoor enth