Crowders Mountain Access Road

Ridgeline Trail, North Carolina

Elevation Gain1,102ft
Trailhead Elevation892ft
Elevation Min/Max892/1588ft
Elevation Start/End892/892ft

Crowders Mountain Access Road

Crowders Mountain Access Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Gastonia, North Carolina. It is within Ridgeline Trail. It is 1.9 miles long and begins at 892 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 3.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,102 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. The trail ends near Crowders Mountain (elevation 1,503 feet). There is also a viewpoint near the end of the trail.

Crowders Mountain Access Road Professional Reviews and Guides

"This hike combines two of the most kid- friendly trails in Crowders Mountain State Park into a fun- filled figure- eight hike that is perfect for families. The trail starts at the Crowders Mountain Visitor Center and then follows the Turnback Trail to join the Fern Trail. The Fern Trail shows off its lush underbrush before detouring onto the lake trail.

A pleasant stroll around the lake can reveal fish, frogs, and waterfowl before the Lake Trail rejoins the Fern Trail to return to the trailhead. Furthermore, this hike shows off different faces each season, so it’s a good one for reprise trips."

"Kings Pinnacle is one of the most recognizable peaks surrounding Charlotte. This hike takes you on a challenging uphill climb from the visitor center at Crowders Mountain State Park to the jagged summit of Kings Pinnacle. The last section of trail, leading to the pinnacle, provides a technical but fun rock scramble. On top of Kings Pinnacle, hikers are greeted with expansive views to the north and east. The mountain also provides a glimpse of cars driving 65 mph on I-85. However, from the top of the mountain, the vehicles look like small toys moving much slower than they really are.

Everything seems to move slower on Kings Mountain. After embracing the peace and stillness of the mountain, retrace your steps to the Turnback Trail. Once on the Turnback Trail, you will descend the south slope of the mountain through a mixed forest and beside a quiet creek on your return to the visitor center."

"This hike combines the Pinnacle, Turnback, Fern, and Lake trails to create a loop that traverses a wide variety of landscapes. The highlight is at the end of the trail, when the Fern and Lake trails loop around a picturesque lake and cross several creeks. At the beginning of the route, the trail ascends more than 200 feet in the first mile, climbs to a ridge, and then steeply descends to the lake. The route is not nearly as challenging as the hike up to the summit of Crowders Mountain. If you want to turn your quick and pleasant day hike into an overnight camping trip under the stars, the Pinnacle Trail leads to a spur trail that heads to the walk-in camping sites."

"This hike combines three trails in Crowders Mountain State Park— the Crowders Trail, Rocktop Trail, and Backside Trail—to create a loop that climbs challenging hills up to the summit of Crowders Mountain. Although the summit isn’t all that impressive because it’s covered with communication towers, the surrounding rock formations, outcrops, and views of the surrounding mountains are worth the hike. It’s defi nitely not easy or short at more than 4 miles, so consider your fi tness level and allow plenty of time to hike the trail based on how fi t you are. The best views on the hike are when the forest opens up or a rock formation juts out to the east and gives you a view of the Charlotte skyline rising out of the forest in the distance."

"This path leads to the summit of Crowders Mountain and, on a clear day, to views of the Charlotte skyline. Following the Crowders Trail to the ridgeline, you’ll enjoy a gradual ascent through a hardwood forest before ascending a challenging set of stairs to the top of the mountain. Leaving the overlook, the Rocktop Trail travels over several boulder scrambles before descending back down to the visitor center.

In 1970 strip mining and drilling threatened many of the
mountains within North Carolina’s Piedmont, including Crowders Mountain. Gaston County residents joined forces and began the Gaston County Conservation Society to protect and preserve the mountain. They succeeded in blocking excavation attempts by convincing the state to purchase the property for a state park."

"This hike leads to rocky Kings Mountain Pinnacle—at 1,705 feet, the highest point overlooking Charlotte. The Pinnacle Trail begins with a gradual incline but becomes more challenging as it continues up the spine of Kings Mountain and concludes with a heart-pounding ascent to the summit.

A small rock scramble will allow you to explore the pinnacle and its views. An easy return on the Turnback Trail contours a shaded stream back to the parking lot."

"This is a classic “eat-your-broccoli-and-I-promise-you-something-really-good-for-dessert” kind of trail. And the broccoli is pretty darn tasty as well. At the top there is an aerie roost. A jumble of boulders tops a cliff face with views of the surrounding countryside 800 feet below, mostly the sprawl that is Gastonia and Charlotte to the east and north.

In most other places, this would be a place to linger. Not so much here. Plus, if you’re yearning for a quiet retreat, do not come here on the weekend, especially in the fall when the mountain has a tendency to attract folks who LIKE TO TALK LOUD."

"The view atop Kings Pinnacle, like that atop Crowders Mountain, is largely to the north and east and takes in parks of the business variety, as well as interstates, factories, and other signs of man.

But head left when you reach the top and you can score some relatively unscarred views of the rest of the Kings Mountain range (including Kings Mountain State Park in adjoining South Carolina, to which this park was connected with a 2000-acre purchase in 2000) to the southwest. Take a moment to savor—and catch your breath."

"Most of the trails in Crowders Mountain State Park are steep, rugged, rough workouts for human and canine hikers. For those looking for a less strenuous way to enjoy nature and get away from the city—the park sits just to the west of Gastonia and Charlotte—the park offers picnic areas, a campground, canoe rentals, and fishing.

For the dogs’ enjoyment, two hiking trails are shorter, more laid-back, and easier on the paws. Both the Fern Trail, a 0.8-mile nature walk through the woods, and the 1-mile Crowders Lake Trail are appropriate for almost any breeds, as long as they are on a leash."

"As the closest, most dramatic mountain park to Charlotte, “Crowders” lives up to its name. Park attendance has skyrocketed in recent years. Rangers increasingly warn of parking delays on nice weekends—so you might want to have a backup destination or consider visiting off-season or on weekdays.

Great mountain scenery and easy access make Crowders worth the extra effort. A few years ago this park encompassed only two major peaks, but now it spans the entire Kings Mountain Range.Like other monadnock parks, Crowders is a great place for birding, especially in spring."

"This is one of the most technical and exciting hikes in the Charlotte area. It starts at the Crowders Mountain Visitor Center and follows the Crowders Trail through a dense forest of oak, cedar, and pine trees. After crossing Sparrow Springs Road, the route skirts the west side of Crowders Mountain. When the path comes to an intersection with the Backside Trail, you will turn south and face a challenging and stair- filled ascent to reach the top of the mountain—Crowders Summit.

Your effort is rewarded with gorgeous views in three directions. From the summit the route follows the rocky Ridgeline Trail. This path requires some fancy footwork to navigate and you will be thankful to once again reconnect with the well- groomed Crowders Trail at the base of the mountain."

Crowders Mountain Access Road Reviews

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Was in the Charlotte, NC area on business and Saturday was gorgeous, 60+ and plenty of sun. Used to find a hike and called the Crowders Mountain State Park for trail conditions. Stacy at the VC was great and gave great reviews of the view at the top and cautioned that it would be crowded by afternoon due to the great weather. She was dead on! Trail is in a State park so very well maintained, easy to get to the VC to the trail head. Lots of people, of all ages, babies in carriers to seniors and all in between. Trail is steep on the way up, very rocky. I had on tennis shoes and did fine, hiking boots would have been good for ankle support across the rocks, but the tennis shoes gave good traction. Hike up was strenuous, but view at top worth it, plan an hour to hike up, time for rest and pix, and less than an hour down. I took the Turnback Trail on the way down for a different view, nice wide, well maintained trail. Nice to hit the VC again for water and restroom before leaving. Great hike!
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Beautiful trails! Not as isolated but still beautiful. The "stairway to heaven" to the top of Pinnacle trail is difficult but is worth it when you get to the top.
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I've done this park a handful of times over the last two years. Most recent trip was up 0.9 mile Backside Trail. Trail is a 12' wide service road, typically used by climbers. Beautiful view of trees and Charlotte, NC skyline in the distance.
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I had a great day here, dry and sunny I must of meet a dozen or so people here, all quite friendly. Be ready to climb a little. The view was great.
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This is a great day hike if you live in the Charlotte area. Most people will be able to reach the Vistor Center in about 40 minutes. There are several hikes, but my favorite is taking the Rocky Top trail to the summit and returning on Crowders Trail (White Blaze). The round trip is about 4-5 miles and takes 1.5-2 hours depending on your pace. This is a great cool weather hike because the views are excellent after the leaves have fallen.
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kings offers a great quick workout. starts off very easy and finishes like a king.
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We took the Backside Trial up Crowders Mountain to do some rock climbing. The trail is wide and well maintained. When you get near the top, climbing the stairs becomes strenuous, but it's worth the effort for the views and rock climbing.

Crowders Mountain Access Road Photos

Trail Information

Ridgeline Trail
Nearby City
Ridgeline Trail
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Skill Level
Crowders Mountain State Park, 522 Park Office Ln., Kings Mountain 28086; (704) 853-5375;
Local Contacts
USGS Kings Mountain; basic trail maps are available inside the Crowders Mountain State Park Visitor Center and online.
Local Maps