Check out Crowders Mountain State Park
Crowders Mountain State Park in southwestern North Carolina stretches from the South Carolina state line northeast to Gastonia, North Carolina. The park follows the rocky Appalachian ridge that includes Crowders Mountain and Kings Pinnacle. Crowders Mountain is a kyanite-quartzite monad rising 1,625 feet with sheer sheer cliffs. Kyanite was mined in the area in the 1800s. In contrast, Kings Pinnacle has a higher elevation of 1,705 feet with a rounded profile. The land was once a hunting ground for the Catawba and Cherokee Indians. During the Revolutionary War, a small army of American patriots who had settled along the frontier crossed this ridge to fight the British army at nearby Kings Mountain in South Carolina. These weak “Overmountain” men, who were mostly farmers and hunters, surprised the British troops commanded by Major Patrick Ferguson and inflicted heavy casualties. This decisive victory by the patriot forces was a turning point in the war, forcing the British to withdraw from the region.
There are miles of hiking trails at Crowders Mountain State Park. The Ridgeline Trail begins near the summit of Kings Pinnacle and follows the ridge south to the South Carolina state line. In South Carolina, the Ridgeline Trail connects with trails that continue through Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park near Blacksburg. Other trails in Crowders Mountain State Park lead hikers to the summit of Crowders Mountain. The Backside Trail is strenuous, with 336 steps at the top. Rocktop Trail and Tower Trail are also strenuous and steep. The Lake Trail and Fern Trail are much easier to hike. Visitors can see a variety of wildlife in the park, including black and turkey vultures roosting on rocky outcrops.
Another popular activity at Crowders Mountain State Park is rock climbing, which is permitted in certain areas. Wedges and bolts are not permitted. Bouldering is permitted at Buzzards Roost. Fishing is permitted in the park’s lake with a North Carolina fishing license. Canoes are available for rent. Other recreational activities include picnicking and camping. Primitive campsites with water and toilets are available. Campers must walk to the sites with their gear. There are also primitive group campsites in the park.
Crowders Mountain State Park can be accessed from I-85 in North Carolina at Exit 8 (Hwy 161). Follow the signs to the park. The park is open year-round, but park hours vary by season. There is no entrance fee to the park.
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