Explore to do nc - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

to do nc Map

Had a great day on this trail. Not too long not too hard and great pay off with a beautiful view at the end.

Great hike. Better views.

do NOT pass up the opportunity to do this hike. i hike a lot and have a decent peak bagging list and this is by far one of my favorites. the views of the gorge are phenomenal. take a map and compass and check out the countless peaks which are visible from the summit

Cool rock formations and views at the end. Moderate is accurate because of the beginning and end, both are steep, but the rest is pretty flat and easy.

Great hike today. Probably the best views I’ve had at Calloway Peak. Strenuous but the views are so worth it.

What a great hike and it was a great day to boot. A tough one to be sure but well worth it when you get to the top. Around the time I reached the Profile Campsite I was thinking "what's the fuss about this trail?" but it really started to take off after that. That stretch after the spring is really tough. Once you make the Grandfather trail it just becomes fun with a couple of tough stretches. I scrambled over the ladders and onto the rocks that look back at the ridge line back to the park and had lunch there. While it took me my expected time to get up, about 3 hours, with a lot of time on the last mile, it took me quite a long time to come down. The terrain was part of it, plus the hike up wiped me out!
Saw a big pile of bear scat early on which was the topic of discussion with all of the other hikers I met. The only thing I didn't like was that they moved the trailhead and instead of cutting a new trail up the mountain, they instead went down to the old trail head. That last 200 feet of elevation was lousy after that hike!

Amazing view. We took Kistlers memorial highway from the Linville Falls entrance and followed the signs. From the parking lot it’s a short walk to spectacular cliff views of Table Rock, Hawksbill and Sitting bear.

great hike with amazing views. did it for sunset and was not disappointed. it was a little chilly (around 26 degrees) and very windy but if you're prepared it shouldn't bother you. lots of camp sites along the trail, hoping to do it again as an overnight

12 days ago

Awesome views and easy maintained trails.

Great view. Heavily trafficked.

14 days ago

Absolutely amazing views 360 when you get to the top. It’s quite windy so use caution. We sat at the top to enjoy a snack before coming back down. It does get steep at the top so I’d rate it as moderate.

Moderate trail, worth the view at the end.

15 days ago

great trail but decently strenuous towards the top. Beautiful view at the top! Well worth the hike.

I’ll do it again Enjoyed it

Wonderful views at the top!

trail running
19 days ago


19 days ago

this trail will give you a workout

19 days ago

Great hike overall. There were 2 parts that were a left or right decision. Both we took were left and lead us right where we needed to go. The top part is STEEP and I mean steep, but the view is so worth it all. I would definitely go back and do it again. It was very windy on the top of the mountain and was colder than the bottom. I’d recommend a little jacket.

Grate hike awesome views all the way down beautiful a wonderland

Great anaerobic burn especially when hitting the 336 steps. I typically do laps around Tower and connect to Backside. That is about a 2.7 mile lap. If doing two or more laps, I’ll sometimes reverse the laps. I do most of my 25 mile per week runs on this section as I’m less likely to trip on a root or rock, like I might on the other Crowders Mountain trails.

Note: Crowders is a Very Busy Park on the weekends. Arrive early or late, else you may have to wait or park offsite. This is NOT a lightly hiked park as noted on this site. But, it is a damned nice gem of a park here in our Charlotte backyard.

Lastly, if you are reading this, please abide by the Park rules. Leave before the Park closes. The Rangers and Support staff have families to go home to. Lastly, flick off your dog’s crap off trail. The park doesn’t require bagging your pups poops, but it doesn’t mean leave it for us to dodge or step on.

trail running
20 days ago

I blend trail running and trekking on the various Crowders trails. This one is a bit more “rooty” and rocky than say Tower or Backside. When running Pinnacle I typically hit Ridgeline to get away from the crowds.

21 days ago

I was excited but nervous about taking on this trail. I am pretty out of shape (aerobically speaking) and have patellas (kneecaps) that are prone to subluxation/dislocation, so reading about the steepness and rocky nature of the trail concerned me.
I started out from the Visitor Center around 9:30 on a weekday, there were others coming and going but sparse enough to have my own time and space on the trail. I was very slow and deliberate on the way up for the reasons mentioned above. The entire trail goes through woods, which helps with the sun. The trail is a steady but very gradual incline at the beginning. About halfway up the trail goes through a few areas of large rocks and boulders, requiring a little scrambling but nothing too bad. Towards the last half mile the trail starts a steep ascent which is quite demanding. Being out of shape I stopped to take several breaks, but was able to make it up without too much trouble. There’s only one bench up in this area but there are several large rocks that make for natural resting places. The trail technically ends before the Pinnacle summit, at a rock wall and a sign that warns that others have been seriously injured and killed beyond this point. The rock wall is not too difficult to navigate, just take your time and look for proper footing.
At the top of the rock wall (a short stretch, not large at all) is the first main viewing area. This is a rather large space with lots of rock facings that overlook the landscape to the west of the park (towards the foothills). As I was snacking, half a dozen hawks were circling the area which was pretty neat. Many people seemed content with reaching this area and turned around here, however a trail continues past this viewing area, meandering around rocks and various outcroppings which provide dozens of little areas to snap photos and get views of other side of the mountain. The Charlotte skyline was barely visible with the naked eye on a partly cloudy day, and my phone’s camera was not able to capture it. Continuing along this trail for another tenth of a mile will get you to the actual summit of the Pinnacle area, designated by a pole. There are lots of areas to explore near the top and I really enjoyed this part, though it required a lot of scrambling around boulders. The wind is pretty significant near the top as well but I didn’t find it to be dangerous with proper stance and footing.
After I had my fill of the top, I returned down the summit on the original trail. I did opt to take the Turnback Trail halfway down just for exploration and a change of scenery, and was glad I did because I was starting to feel the effects of the climb and the downhill muscle use and this trail avoided crossing rock beds and was fairly easy. This trail returns to the Visitor Center.
I hiked the area on a warm March day, which I think is a superb time to do so as the weather is nice but the trees have not filled out yet, so views are much better.
I am really glad I ended up attempting the hike, I found that with patience and careful attention to my footing my knees fared pretty well. Well worth it in my opinion!

Awesome trail with even better views, got steeper near the top but wasn’t that bad. Accidentally came to a fork in the trail, after you stay left, and went the wrong way trekking down the mountainside, so don’t do that because it’s fairly steep. Short hike I’d give it a moderate rating.

Triple Trail Challenge:
Three trips up the Backside Trail over the lookout and down the Tower Trail gets you over two miles of uphill climb and just over 1,000 rail tie stairs while the downhill slope of the Tower Trail makes this challenge achievable for a wide range of skill levels. Only thing better? Quadruple trail challenge! Enjoy

Only way to get to Chimney Rock right now because the elevator is closed. 0.6 miles, almost 1000 stairs, and every bit as hard as it sounds. Still very popular: lots of families and tourists come here. Beware the $15 entrance fee. Many viewpoints near the top, and all of the views are fantastic. Worthwhile if you are physically able to make the climb.

wow! what a great experience. the trail went from mud to snow to icy. what fun. Calloway Peak offers a nice challenging climb and an amazing foggy howling windy view. can't wait to experience it all again on a sunny morning.

24 days ago

Great trails. Up the stair section will get you a good workout and then rest with a great view finish out with a nice sweeping wide trail back to the parking lot.
During week saw only a few people

Great hike! Great changes in vegetation as you climb. Options to connect to other trails. Got a little busy throughout the day. Up hill climb is strenuous and the down hill climb can be hard on the knees. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Hit up the Ham Shop for a breakfast sandwich to-go, and enjoy this hike in the morning. This avoids any crowds and allows you to take your time and not rush, so you can take it all in and enjoy. It’s definitely intense at the top, but slower and less agile hikers can still take their time while getting to the top. The views at the peak are well worth the trip up.

1 month ago

This is a good trail, but I wouldn't call it "lightly trafficked." Not on a weekend, anyway.

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