Getting Here

Gastonia is the largest town in Gaston County, North Carolina and can be found just south of I-85 off of exit 17 in the center of the county. Hwy 321 runs north and south straight through town giving even better access to this booming metropolis.

Things to Do

A three-time All-America City and recipient of the U.S. Conference of Mayors top Livability Award, Gastonia is recognized as one of the area’s best places to live and work with an ideal combination of location, size, and quality of life. The city’s slogan: Great Place, Great People, Great Promise.

Located a little outside of the downtown but a "Must SEE" is the Schiele Museum of Natural History and Planetarium. This museum is one of 70 museums in the U.S. designated as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and features the largest collection of mounted land mammals in the Southeast. Experience galleries with vivid natural history exhibits, plus outdoor recreations of a Catawba Indian Village and an 18th Century Farm. Discover our planetarium, Stone Age site, nature trail, live animal enclosures and many other interactive exhibits.

Other museums include the Alfred C. Kessell Center and the African American Museum of History & Culture both located in the renovated Loray Mill as well as the American Military Museum.


Gastonia began in 1873 as a small railroad depot. The combined effect of the realignment of the Atlanta & Charlotte Airline Railroad (now Norfolk Southern) from its original intended path several miles to the north of the City, and the Chester and Lenoir Narrow Gauge Railroad (now CSX) and the introduction of the steam powered textile mill. It was the crossing of these two railroads and the beginning of the City's textile industry which brought opportunity to the town.

Explore all there is to do in



Nature Trail at Schiele Museum

Natural Surface


0.7 mile loop

This nature trail is free for all visitors with access to the Play'Scape. Pets must be leashed.

Rocktop Trail at Crowders Mountain

Natural Surface


1.4 miles one way

This trail crosses several rock ledges and requires good footwear and careful attention to staying on the trail.

River Loop at Warlick YMCA

Natural Surface


1 mile

River Loop is roughly a one-mile loop, marked in blue signage, and is considered the flattest, shortest, and easiest of the three loops. Highlights include Catawba Creek views and forest views.

Styz Trail System at Warlick YMCA

Natural Surface


About 4 miles

The trailhead for the system is located just off the northeast corner of the Y parking lot. You’ll spot a large kiosk there that will show you a map of the three connecting trail loops.

Fern Trail at Crowders Mountain

Natural Surface


0.80 miles loop

This loop trail connects with a portion of the Turnback Trail and follows a creek for some portions of the trail.

Pinnacle Trail at Crowders Mountain

Natural Surface


2 miles one way

The Pinnacle is the highest point in Gaston County at 1,705 feet.

Quarry Loop at Warlick YMCA

Natural Surface

Easy, Moderate

1.66-mile circuit

This 1.66 mile circuit is the longest and steepest loop. Marked with green signs you’ll follow along the Catawba Creek and passes by a rock quarry and certainly some wildlife along the way.

Avon-Catawba Creeks Greenway

Paved, Sidewalk


2.4 Miles One Way

This greenway is paved for its entire length, and much of it is lined by mature trees on both sides of the trail.

Tower Trail at Crowders Mountain

Natural Surface


1.8 miles one way

Begins at the Linwood Access Area and ends at the radio towers on Crowders Mountain.

Lake Trail at Crowders Mountain

Natural Surface


0.8 miles loop

The trail circles the park lake.

Power Loop at Warlick YMCA

Natural Surface


1.39-mile circuit

This 1.39-mile circuit is marked with yellow signs. The power loop both begins and ends with the Power Line marker.

Highland Rail Trail Downtown Sidewalk Connection



.5 Miles One Way

This 0.5-mile downtown sidewalk trail connects downtown Gastonia to the Highland Rail Trail.