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    Justin Higgs saved Booth Lake

    3 days ago

    Justin Higgs reviewed Summit Lake Trail

    5 days ago

    I hiked the Summit Lake trail today: 5/13. I was the only one on the trail. Below Summit Lake, there is still some snow covering the trail but it is easy to follow the trail up to the lake. Hiking boots are sufficient. Summit Lake is iced over and the last 0.5 mike of the trail is completely covered in snow. After post-holing about a dozen times, I turned back about 800 yards from the top. If you are going beyond the Southeast side of Summit Lake, I recommend taking snow shoes. It was also snowing/sleeting pretty heavy above Summit Lake which didn’t help with following the trail. As for the road, it does suck but the first 100 yards is the worst by far. A stock Grand Cherokee had no problem at all with clearance. If you don’t bottom out right after the bridge; you’ll be fine. The road actually improves as you ascending.

    Justin Higgs completed Summit Lake Trail

    5 days ago

    Justin Higgs reviewed Ridgeline Trail

    27 days ago

    Tip: Don’t go out and back! Make an adventure out of this trail and tour nearly all of Crowder’s Mountain in a single day! Park at Sparrow Springs Park Office (Trail Head on AllTrails for Pinnacle Trail). Grab a map and follow along. I will include a photo of the route:

    1). Hike Crowder’s Trail to Rocktop Trail to reach the overlook (Towers) on Crowder Mountain. Rocktop is the most technical trail in the park - plan on going slow over the rock. Views are great and it’s a less trafficked route. (2.5 miles)

    2). From the Crowders Summit, head back down via the short section of Backside Trail (which is a railroad tie and gravel stair path) and then hop on Crowders Trail to loop back to Sparrow Springs area. Crowders Trail is very easy and a fast hike compared to Rocktop. (2.8 miles)

    3). From the ‘Fork’ where Pinnacle Trail and Crowders split, continue west on Pinnacle trail. The trail is rated hard but it’s really not bad at all. There is about a 1/4 mile section at the end that is steep as you reach the Pinnacle Summit. This is a wide trail most of the way but it is not heavily trafficked like Crowders Summit. I had the entire Pinnacle Summit to myself. Obviously be careful on the rock - they can move! In my opinion, the best views in the park are from Pinnacle. It’s not spoiled by a large radio tower and road like Crowders Summit. All rock and very steep. (2.0 miles)

    4). From the Pinnacle Summit, you should be able to see an unmarked trail heading almost due south. Follow it and it will run in to Ridgeline Trail about 0.2 miles west of it’s official trailhead. This saves you some back-tracking. Now head Southwest on Ridgeline. It’s a very moderate trail and I did not see anyone at all. The trail is well maintained but there isn’t much to see. You will cross Pinnacle Road after a mile. You will then cross Highway 161 after another 1.75 miles. From the Highway 161 crossing, you can Uber back to Sparrow Springs if there is an Uber driver in Gastonia. If you are going to do this, keep an eye on the Uber map as you approach Highway 161. If it says none available, there may not be a drivers
    in Gaston... if there is, you will be in range. It will take them 15-20 minutes to each you at the crossing. (2.75 miles). Uber fare is $15-$18...

    5). If you go past Highway 161, forget catching a ride share. Trust me - I tried. There’s nothing in range as you continue Southwest. There’s also not a lot to see. I suppose you could hike the final 3 miles and return to Highway 161 and catch a ride back seeing all of Crowerds in a single day. It was pushing 7:30-pm when I came off the trail and didn’t want to risk having the park closed on me. (If you opted to go all the way to Stone Mountain and the State Line, it would be 6 miles out and back to the last ‘pick-up’ point on Highway 161.

    Add all that mileage up and it’s 18 miles for the entire park. If you forego the six mile out and back, you can see 90% of the park on a 12 mile hike - about the same distance as taking the Ridgeline Trail our and back from Sparrow Springs.

    Justin Higgs completed Ridgeline Trail

    27 days ago

    Justin Higgs saved Pinnacle Trail

    29 days ago

    Justin Higgs saved Mount Antero Trail

    about 1 month ago

    Justin Higgs saved Torreya Trail

    6 months ago

    Justin Higgs reviewed Savage Day Loop

    9 months ago

    This is a nice, kid friendly trail with a waterfall that’s relatively safe for kids to explore. The trail is pretty easy and well maintained but there are few roots and rocks in places. The main attraction is the waterfall and a bluff over-look area. My 6-year old enjoyed the trail and handled the terrain just fine. As for the 2-Star ‘hiking snob’ review, I have to partially agree: There isn’t breathtaking scenery to keep you entertained the full length of the trail. If that’s what you are looking for, a scenic highway or National Geographic magazine would be a better fit for you than a State Park. If you enjoy hiking for the sake of hiking, this is great trail and not a long hike for the scenery it provides - especially for TN.

    Justin Higgs completed Savage Day Loop

    9 months ago

    Justin Higgs saved Savage Day Loop

    9 months ago

    Justin Higgs reviewed Aspen Alley to Ice Rink Parking Lot

    9 months ago

    Great trail for viewing Aspens in full color. You can get great photos from the bottom looking back up toward the trail head. This is an easy hike with a well groomed trail that's mostly free from rocks and roots. It's a heavily trafficked and popular with bikes so please keep dogs on a leash for everyone's safety.

    Justin Higgs reviewed Mount Spalding Trail

    9 months ago

    This is a great hike! I would classify it as moderate so long as you stay on the main trail - which you should! Hikers and perhaps a few goats have worn an alternate path which is more difficult and dangerous. You can reach the summit on a number of alternate routes but you will have to climb over boulders which may be loose. Here's how to stay on the route:

    If you are traveling the loop with the Mt. Spalding summit first, start looking for stacked stone trail markers as soon as the well defined dirt trail ends. There is a permit box near the end of the dirt trail. After you pass the permit box, start looking for the most direct route straight up to the top of the east ridge. You should see the stacked stone markers. Once you are on top of the ridge, it's easy hike to the summit.

    If you miss the route, you'll see a mess of trails going over boulders along the wall face. If you are climbing over boulders and not seeing trail markers, go back to the permit box and try to pick up the route from there.

    When descending the route is fairly obvious: Just go east on the ridge as far as you can.

    Justin Higgs completed Mount Spalding Trail

    9 months ago

    Justin Higgs reviewed Meadow Creek Trail

    9 months ago

    The 8-mile out and back is okay. I highly recommend going an extra 1.5 miles to the top of Eccles Pass which makes this an 11-mile out and back hike. The first 2.5 miles is fairly steep and rocky. The trail flattens out near the tree line and makes a moderate ascent to Eccles Pass. The extra 3 miles round trip is worth the view - don't stop at the end of this trail!

    Justin Higgs completed Meadow Creek Trail

    9 months ago

    Justin Higgs reviewed Meadow Creek Trail to Eccles Pass

    9 months ago

    Really good hike with great views from Eccles Pass. The first half mile is mostly Aspens which are coming into color right now. The first 2.5 miles are up hill over some rocky terrain. The trail flattens out near the edge of the tree line before a moderate ascent to the pass. Wind can really kick up as your approach the pass. I wore Trail running shoes with some trekking poles. Harder soled shoes would have been a better choice on the lower section.

    Justin Higgs reviewed River Trail to Hickory Ridge Loop

    10 months ago

    This is a flat trail along the Duck River comprised of an old road bed, double-track trail and a few sections of narrow over-grown walking trail. I'm rating this trail two stars for a couple of reasons. First off, there really isn't a lot to see because the weeds are over 6' tall on the uphill side of the trail. In addition, only about a mile of the trail is actually a loop - the remaining 3 miles are out and back. Lastly, several sections were really over-grown and an invitation for ticks. There are a lot better trails around.

    Justin Higgs added Clean up the TRASH!

    10 months ago

    Justin Higgs completed Volunteer Trail

    10 months ago