hiking
1 day 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.