TRAILS

Gaston County provides outdoor explorers with  natural spaces found in our state parks, county parks and city parks. Use these trails for an easy stroll or a strenuous hike. Some are great for jogging and biking as well.

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Hiking
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The Carolina Thread Trail is a network of trails and blueways across 15 counties in North and South Carolina offering people a place to hike bike and paddle. Currently it has more than 300 miles of trails and 170 miles of blueways. Once complete, the system will total 1,600 miles. Gaston County’s distinct towns and its proximity to the Catawba and South Fork Rivers make it a great place to explore via their trails and blueways. 

Carolina Thread Trail Interactive Trail Map 

Avon-Catawba Creeks Greenway

This greenway is paved for its entire length, and much of it is lined by mature trees on both sides of the trail. The trail winds alongside Catawba Creek and Avon Creek with a few small bridges crossings along the way. Small benches are spaced throughout the greenway and usually come with good views of the creek as well. There are also numerous informational plaques placed along the trail regarding common bird species that can be found in the area.

You can easily walk to the Schiele Museum of Natural History from this greenway along sidewalk for .25 miles

Paved, Sidewalk

Easy

2.4 Miles One Way

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Belmont to Cramerton Sidewalk Connector

Starts at Stowe Park in Belmont and connects almost to Cramerton. Users take Eagle Road and follow the sidewalk until it stops in front of Pinebrook Swim Club.

Sidewalk

Easy

1.3 Miles

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Bessemer City Park Trail

This looped trail offers rolling topography in a heavily wooded setting. Not only does the trail provide an opportunity for leisure but three access points provide transportation connections for surrounding neighborhoods to access the city park, pool. See historic remains of the city lake style community pool and bath house built in 1923. Wild muscadine grapes grow along the trail.

The trail leads you out of the park across the street onto W Alabama Avenue where there is a gas station and into downtown Bessemer City. Turn left onto N 12th Street. You'll pass historic brick buildings and cross the train tacks as you enter the main part of town. Take a left onto W Virginia Avenue and continue down N 14th Street until the sidewalk ends. This is where the trail ends.

Paved, Boardwalk, Natural Surface

Easy

1.3 Miles One Way

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Catawba Riverfront Greenway

This 1.2-mile paved greenway connects to 0.7-mile paved loop in Tuckaseege Park and 0.3-mile paved segment at the Municipal Complex. The greenway works its way along the picturesque Catawba River between the two trailheads. From the Municipal Complex trailhead, you can easily walk along Catawba Avenue sidewalks for 0.3-miles to downtown Mount Holly where there are shopping and dining options.

Paved

Easy

1.5 Miles One Way

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Fern Trail at Crowders Mountain

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

Natural Surface

Easy

0.80 miles loop

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Goat Island Greenway

The Goat Island Greenway is .7 miles of paved surface trail, including two pedestrian bridges that go over two sections of the South Fork Catawba River onto Goat Island Park.

Paved

Easy

.7 Miles One Way

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Highland Rail Trail

The Highland Rail Trail is a ten foot wide, paved surface trail constructed along the historic Carolina and Northwestern Railway. This urban trail meanders through residential neighborhoods and industrial areas, linking downtown Gastonia with Sims Legion Park and beyond. The Carolina Thread Trail sign marks one entrance to the trail at the intersection of Broad Street and Long Avenue. From this point, the trail continues northwest past Sims Legion Park toward I-85. The paved trail ends just short of Rankin Lake Road. There is a gravel path which connects Rankin Lake Road to the paved surface of the Highland Rail Trail.

Paved, Gravel

Easy

1.5 Miles One Way

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Highland Rail Trail Downtown Sidewalk Connection

This 0.5-mile downtown sidewalk trail connects downtown Gastonia to the Highland Rail Trail. Walkers and runners can follow this trail from the intersection of Marietta Street and Franklin Boulevard, along Long Avenue until they reach the trailhead for the Highland Rail Trail, which is located at the intersection of Broad Street and Long Avenue. The rail trail is clearly marked by a Carolina Thread Trail marker and is visible from the road.

Paved

Easy

.5 Miles One Way

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Kings Mountain Gateway Trail

This trail is planned to connect the City of Kings Mountain to Crowders Mountain State Park, Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park. Hikers and bikers can enjoy the 8 miles of trail, 5 of which are designated Thread Trail, which is comprised of crushed stone, boardwalk, and sidewalk. The trail is ADA compliant. The Kings Mountain Gateway Trail parking lot and trailhead features a restroom/office facility, a bike rack and kiosk, and a picnic shelter that includes nine picnic tables and two large grills. There is also an interpretive nature trail for children to explore.

Kings Mountain Gateway Trail's trailhead is located on a one acre site about ½ of a mile south of Downtown Kings Mountain and is connected to downtown via sidewalks. The Carolina Thread Trail starts in the downtown of Kings Mountain, runs through the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail parking lot, on to the entrance of the Rail Trail at the Gateway and then turns right onto the loop trail then right again onto the Foote Trail that heads south to I-85 and on past to Galilee Church Road. The new section of trail on the south side of I-85 is great for flat surface walking and biking. You can park at the trail entrance at the end of Industrial Drive just off of hwy. 161. Go south over I-85 and Industrial Drive is to the right.

The trail will preserve the natural beauty of Kings Mountain and provide a place for nature exploration, education in science and history, and a venue for community events and family celebrations.

Gravel, Boardwalk, Sidewalk

Moderate

5 Miles One Way

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Kings Mountain State Park Trail

The National Recreation Trail in Kings Mountain State Park is marked by a blue blaze throughout the 16-mile loop trail. Carolina Thread Trail segment is 1.6-mile that connects to the red blaze of the Ridgeline Trail that will take you north to Crowders Mountain or continue on west to the visitor's center at the Kings Mountain Military Park to learn the history of the Revolutionary War Battle site. There is a beautiful dam created by the Lake Crawford near the parking.

Natural Surface

Moderate

3.1 Miles One Way

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Kings Mountain to Town via Sidewalk

The sidewalk connects the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail to downtown Kings Mountain. Patriot Park is at the corner of Battleground Avenue and Gold Street. The newly upgraded park has an amphitheater with hillside and swing seating. There is a splash area, water fall and stream through the middle of the park. The trail continues past the historic theater, the Joy Performance Center also known as the Kings Mountain Little Theater to Beason Creek.

Sidewalk, Paved

Easy

2.1 miles, One Way

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Lake Trail at Crowders Mountain

The trail circles the park lake.

Crowders Mountain State Park’s TRACK Trail adventures were designed for use on the Turnback Trail, Fern Trail, and Lake Trail. These three trail combined make a 2.1 mile round-trip hike.

Natural Surface

Easy

0.8 miles loop

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Meadowwood Walk at DSBG

A short walk around the back of Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.

Natural Surface

Easy

0.6 mile loop

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Mount Holly Linear Park Trail

This concrete trail with decorative brick accents.runs along a CSX active railroad ROW, separated by a decorative fence. A small segment of the trail runs south along S. Alexander Street and will eventually connect to the southern leg of the Catawba River Greenway. Strolling along the Linear Park Trail, the trail features direct connections to destination points such as the Grand Hall and Municipal Complex, the CaroMont Healthy Living Center, and the Catawba River Co-Op Food Market. These destinations support local farmers in the area by offering local produce and promoting the benefits of buying local.

Paved

Easy

.3 Miles One Way

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Mountain Island Park Trail

The trailhead, parking, playground and viewing area are next to Mountain Island Lake Dam, a hydroelectric dam owned by Duke Power. Almost the entire length of the trail is shaded by mature trees. There are several foot bridges and a boat launch. The trail ends in a small loop.

Trail

Easy

1.6 Miles One Way

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Nature Trail at Schiele Museum

All within a 0.7 mile trek, you'll experience a pine forest, mixed hardwood forest, and pond and stream communities typical of the North Carolina Piedmont. On our Trail for all Seasons, every day is a good day for a walk. Play'Scape is a good play area for kids along the trail. Please note four-legged, furry, leashed friends are welcome on our Nature Trail, but NOT permitted within any of the other outdoor exhibits.

Natural Surface

Easy

0.7 mile loop

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Persimmon Trail at DSBG

Discover 3.2 miles of walking trails around the Garden! Persimmon Trail, located off the parking lot, is a short trail that connects with the Carolina Thread Trail. Maintained by the Carolina Lands Conservancy, the Thread Trail meanders along Lake Wylie and connects with Meadowood Walk.

Natural Surface

Easy

3.2 miles

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Pinnacle Trail at Crowders Mountain

The Pinnacle is the highest point in Gaston County at 1,705 feet. Begins at the Visitor Center and ends at the summit of the Pinnacle.

Natural Surface

Advanced

2 miles one way

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Power Loop at Warlick YMCA

The Power Loop is a part of the Styz Trail System at Warlick Family YMCA. The trailhead is located just off the northeast corner of the Y parking lot with a large kiosk with map of the three connecting trail loops. This 1.39-mile circuit is marked with yellow signs. The power loop both begins and ends with the Power Line marker.

Natural Surface

Easy

1.39-mile circuit

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Quarry Loop at Warlick YMCA

The Quarry Loop is a part of the Styz Trail System at Warlick Family YMCA. The trailhead is located just off the northeast corner of the Y parking lot with a large kiosk with map of the three connecting trail loops.
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.

Natural Surface

Easy, Moderate

1.66-mile circuit

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Rankin Lake Park Trail

The Carolina Thread Trail is a network of trails and blueways across 15 counties in North and South Carolina offering people a place to hike bike, and paddle. A work in progress, the Carolina Thread Trail currently has more than 300 miles of trails and 170 miles of blueways. Once complete, the 
system will total 1,600 miles. Gaston County’s distinct towns and its proximity to the Catawba and South Fork Rivers make it ripe for 
exploring via their trails and blueways.

Walking, Jogging

Moderate

1.9 miles

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Ridgeline Trail at Crowders Mountain

Rambling over rocky hills, diving into shady hallows, and cruising through dense hardwood forest, the Ridgeline Trail is one of the most interesting and diverse trails in the Thread Trail system. And, at 8.7 miles, it’s certainly the longest.

This beautiful stretch of mostly singletrack, with a few short sections of old roadbed, connects the sweeping views of Pinnacle Mountain in Crowders Mountain State Park with the trail system at Kings Mountain Military Park. Frequent elevation changes, dozens of miles of contiguous trail, and great variety make this a favorite training ground for area trail runners and hikers.

To reach the Ridgeline Trail, begin at the Sparrow Springs Access at Crowders Mountain State Park and hike approximately 1.5 miles up the Pinnacle Trail. A trail sign at the juncture indicates the beginning of the Ridgeline Trail.

Natural Surface, Gravel

Advanced

8 Miles One Way

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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. Enjoy this .6 mile greenway (1.25 out and back round trip) which is wheelchair and stroller friendly.

Paved

Easy

1.25 out and back

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River Loop at Warlick YMCA

The River Loop is a part of the Styz Trail System at Warlick Family YMCA. The trailhead is located just off the northeast corner of the Y parking lot with a large kiosk with map of the three connecting trail loops. The 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.

Natural Surface

Easy

1 mile

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Riverside Greenway

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

Paved

Easy

1.3 Miles One Way

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Robert H. Ballard Park

Located in Cherryville this park offers a walking track and more.

Walking

Easy

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Rocktop Trail at Crowders Mountain

There is no parking at either end of the trail and the trail must be accessed by either beginning on the Crowders Trail (visitor center) or the Tower or Backside Trails (at the Crowders summit). This trail crosses several rock ledges and requires good footwear and careful attention to staying on the trail.

Natural Surface

Advanced

1.4 miles one way

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Seven Oaks Preserve Trail DSBG

This trail meanders along the shoreline. The trail connects to Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Visitors can continue along the back side of the parking lot along the Boulevard Trail and can then pick up on the Worrell Trail. The Worrell Trail connects back to the Seven Oaks Preserve Trail and finishes the loop. Visitors do not have to pay the garden to walk on their trails. Bicycles are allowed on the Seven Oaks Preserve Trail BUT NOT ALLOWED on the garden's trails. Please do not ride in wet conditions.

Natural Surface

Moderate

2.6 Miles One Way

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South Fork Trail

Adjacent to the South Fork River. The trail goes under the I-85 bridge and through woods along the river. The trail is marked at the 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 mile points, ending near the cul-de-sac of a residential neighborhood. While no parking is available at this end of the trail, there is pedestrian access for neighborhood residents. The land surrounding this trail is on the Pharr Yarns Preserve. This is a historic trail twas originally used by the Native Americans and then utilized by settlers for textile mills. There were two mills in the woods along the trail.

Natural Surface

Moderate

2 Miles One Way

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Styz Trail System at Warlick YMCA

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. The trails are well-signed along the way, well worn and traveled, and it would be just about impossible to get lost. The trail system is open from dawn to dusk each day and is for walkers and joggers only. No bikes. Furry friends are welcome!

Natural Surface

Easy

About 4 miles

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Tower Trail at Crowders Mountain

Begins at the Linwood Access Area and ends at the radio towers on Crowders Mountain. The trail is an old roadbed that begins with a gentle climb that becomes steep towards the end. Please note that business vehicles use this trail to access the radio towers near the summit.

Natural Surface

Advanced

1.8 miles one way

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Trails at Whitewater Center

The Whitewater Center maintains over 50 miles of trails for mountain bikers, hikers and trail runners. Use of the trail system does not require an activity pass. Please check the current trail status (at the top of the website) prior to accessing the trail system. The Parkway Trail is currently available as an all-weather trail when the system is closed.

Natural Surface

Easy, Moderate

50 Miles

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OUTDOOR EXPERIENCES 

VISITORS GUIDE

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