Like the rest of North Carolina, Gaston Couinty is committed to preserving our land and water so people can discover this outdoor wonderland. Doing this requires tremendous efforts through planning, hard work and dedication from our partners. Let us shine a light on these dedicated businesses and their volunteers that work tirelessly to provide the trails we all enjoy.
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.
Blue Heron Adventures encompasses all of Catawba Riverkeeper's recreation programs, offering multiple paddling experiences plus hikes that take you around the Catawba-Wateree River Basin. Proceeds from Blue Heron Adventures go directly to Riverkeeper.
Confluence is another non-profit of the Catawba Riverkeeper that gives people a rare opportunity to enjoy the South Fork River. Confluence is a gathering space where visitors can paddle, bike, enjoy a cold beer or purchase art created by local artists. Confluence also has an artist in residence program, where artists and musicians host classes and workshops, music nights, and open mic nights. Profits from Confluence go to the South Fork River Health Project, a joint project between the municipalities along the river, the Catawba Riverkeeper and several other organizations.
Catawba Lands Conservancy
Catawba Lands Conservancy is a land trust, non-profit, community-based conservation organization that permanently conserves and manages land for public benefit in the Southern Piedmont of North Carolina. They are dedicated to saving land and connecting lives to nature. Their six-county land protection area includes Catawba, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg and Union counties. They permanently conserve over 190 properties, totaling nearly 17,000 acres of land.
Through generous donations, grants, private and public funding, they are able to preserve the environment for future generations.
Carolina Thread Trail
CLC is also the lead agency for the The Carolina Thread Trail. The Thread Trail is a 15-county, two-state initiative designed to inspire and facilitate the creation and development of a regional network of trails, blueways and conservation corridors that will link more than 2.3 million citizens. Today, over 250 miles trail and 90 miles of blueway are open to the public.
Tarheel Trailblazers is a non-profit organization that works directly with local land managers to build and maintain over 110 miles of 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.
Piedmont Area Singletrack Alliance
PASA strives to both secure land for trail development as well as manage and maintain them throughout the Central Piedmont region of North and South Carolina.
They advocate for public use of natural spaces in our local communities to promote recreation and are responsible for creating the 13 miles of single track trail for mountain biking, hiking and running at Poston Park in Lowell.
NC State Parks
In Gaston County there is one state park, Crowders Mountain State Park. The beauty of this park can be appreciated from the miles of hiking trails that lead along the ridges to the summit, through pastoral surroundings, along narrow creeks and one that circles the lake. Bring a pair of binoculars for bird watching or tote a camera to capture the beauty of wildflowers in bloom and spectacular views.
Friends of Crowders Mountain
Friends of Crowders Mountain is a non-profit public charity that works to find volunteers and donations for park improvement – something that park staff, as government employees, are not permitted to do. Some projects funded thus far include trail signs, an insect collection storage system, cameras, a video production computer, program materials and meals for emergency workers.
Municipal Trails & Parks
The Gastonia Parks and Recreation Department provides active and passive recreational opportunities for all ages and preserves valuable open space for its parks, trails and greenways.
A recent lease agreement allows Gastonia to develop the site of the former Linwood 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.
Rankin Lake Park features an 80 acre lake with a 1.5 mile paved trail that runs the perimeter. The park office rents 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, with 13 miles of trails built by Piedmont Area Singletrack Alliance (PASA). The park is also home to the first asphalt pump track in North Carolina.
Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park is located on the Catawba River in Belmont and offers a kayak launch, 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 Fork Catawba River.
A popular recreational park in Belmont is Rocky Branch Park. When finished, this park will offer an extensive trail system for hikers and mountain bikers of all skill levels providing easy, moderate and challenging trails.
Discover the waterways and natural wildlife of the Whitewater Center by paddling the calm waters of the Catawba River. This 1,300 acre property also offers over 50 miles of trails for hiking, runs and mountain biking.
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 while providing a place for outdoor experiences. Currently under construction, it will open to the public in the near future.