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Crowder's Mountain State Park

 SKILL: Novice

PROS: Mountain-like eco-system in the lower elevation, great views  CONS: No car-camping,  Crowds and urban haze

WATER: None  NOTES: Bring a picnic lunch, Steep cliffs can be dangerous.


Photo Gallery | Map | Kings Pinnacle 

Rare plants of Crowder's 

Charlotte Get-Away

Just 25 miles from Charlotte, a trip to Crowder's Mountain State Park is a quick get away for the harried city dweller. The scenic views and sheer cliffs have attracted hikers and rock climbers for many years. The prominent peaks of Crowder's Mountain, Little Mountain and Kings Pinnacle all have plant life that resembles the plant communities found in much higher elevations. Although it is 70 miles to the Appalachian mountains in western North Carolina, Mountain Laurel, Highbush Blueberry and other high elevation plants can be found here.




There are several trails that take you to the 1,625 foot summit of Crowders Mountain. At 9/10 th of a mile, the The Backside Trail is the shortest and steepest trail to the top.On the weekends the parking lot is full and the trails can be "sociable". The trail begins near the State Park parking lot on Linwood Road. A loop can be made by taking the Tower Trail (road) back. After leaving the parking lot on a dirt road, take the first trail to the right. This is the Backside Trail. The trail to the top is on an old road that takes you through a pine-oak forest filled with Virginia Pine and Hickories. At the base of the 150' cliffs that characterize Crowders, you are surrounded by chestnut oaks, hickories and rhododendron. There are benches here and it's a great spot to rest and enjoy the "Mountain like" atmosphere. The hike from the base of the cliffs to the top is a strenuous 5 to 10 minute climb on newly installed steps. Recent renovations and improvements to the park has made it very user friendly. As soon as you reach the top of the stairs the panoramic views begin.


Once at the top a turn to the left takes you to the best views on the mountain. There are Virginia Pine, Bear Oak and Mountain Laurel scattered about the top of the mountain. There isn't any designated trail up here, so hikers and climbers can be found anywhere. Even if the mountain is over-run with park visitors it is possible to find a quiet spot to enjoy the views. There are many ledges and "nooks" to spread out a blanket and enjoy a picnic. After hiking to the northern end of the mountain top, good views of Little Mountain can be had. There are several rock faces here that many rock climbers prefer.







Little mountain, adjacent to Crowder's, has the lowest elevation of the three peaks in the park. Because there aren't any trails on Little Mountain it is minimally affected by hikers and climbers and has high biological diversity. Appalachian Golden Banner, significantly rare in this state, is found on the dry ridges of Little Mountain.





As crowded as this park gets, it is possible to find solitude here. A little traveled loop hike can be made by combining several trails. By taking the Crowder's Trail from the Park Office, combining it with the Backside and Rocktop Trails, a nice 5 mile hike can be made. The hike winds through pine - oak forests that are being over taken by oaks. This trail is lightly traveled, for 2.5 miles, until it junctions with the Backside Trail. After this hike crosses the top of Crowder's mountain you turn on the Rocktop Trail at the tower.





The Rocktop Trail is less traveled and has excellent views. It has a lower elevation than the Crowders summit, but has great views of the cliffs and the surrounding countryside. The rocks have odd shapes and there are indentations in the rock. At 1.5 miles long, the Rocktop trail is rocky and lined with Rhododendron for most of its length. Here too are some great places to rest and enjoy this little slice of the mountains. The Trail reaches the road and rejoins the Crowder's Trail to take you back to the Park Office and the main parking lot




Crowders Mountain State was first opened to the public in 1974. In 1977 the land including the summit was purchased. In 1987 Kings Pinnacle was added. Recent improvements in the park have made it better than ever. With the addition of the new Visitor Center in the early summer its facilities will rival other great North Carolina Parks.






25 miles from Charlotte take Highway 74 East exit from I-85. The exit is west of Gastonia and past the Bessemer City exit. 1.5 miles from I-85 watch for brown signs on the right. Turn right and follow the signs. Linwood Road, the location of the Backside Trail parking lot. is the first left. The main park entrance and picnic area is straight ahead. Follow the signs to the Park Office and the main parking area of Crowder's Mountain State Park.

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Photo Gallery | Map | Kings Pinnacle 

Rare plants of Crowder's 

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