Explore the most popular trail running trails near Gastonia with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
11 days ago

My favorite trail so far at crowders.

I hate a gravel path trail! The views at the top make it worthwhile though

nice climb , the view from the top was fantastic. will be going back soon

trail running
1 month ago

They call it rock top trail for a reason. The run is great, and will do it often, but I still get slowed down going over all the large rocks. I guess I gotta work on my technical trail running

Nice walk around a small lake for some easy breezy peace and quiet.

hiking
1 month ago

Very nice easy trail with very good views of the lake.

This was a really nice and well maintained trail. It is a fairly popular trail. It has multiple loop paths for alternative difficulties. Pretty good signal for cellular trail tracking.

hiking
2 months ago

heavily trafficked on the weekends. very dog friendly. This trail is straight up the entire hike and then tons of stairs to get to the top. The peak offers a large flat rock area to sit and relax or picnic while taking in the rewarding view.

Steep going up but fun. Beautiful views, Charlotte downtown also looks great from the top

Great quick hike. Did get pretty steep going up backside trail but it was pretty and worth the sweat!

Have just about every pic you could take on the mountain except at sunrise/sunset. Took some good ones with a storm rolling through and with the sun going down. Probably the best amateur shots I have on here.

hiking
3 months ago

Not much to see on the way up but the top has a gorgeous view that makes this all uphill hike worth it! We went on a Sunday and it was rather busy but not so much that we couldn’t enjoy it.

Great path, good exercise) I hiked with 8 yo son, he also liked it.

Nice loop, for a short trail use the first turnoff and go up the stairs. The other side of loop is a very wide dirt/gravel incline that is more like a road than a trail. Both sides are fun and offer a decent work out and rewarding views at the top.

It was short but uphill. My 4 & 6 year old hiked it with me with minimal complaints. Beautiful view at the top!

hiking
4 months 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.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice short hike. Go early if you want to enjoy the peace and beauty here.

Explored the entire summit. I went to just about every overlook.

hiking
4 months ago

I think this is the coolest trail in the park from beginning to end. Definitely lives up to its name...very rocky. Discovered some new overlooks with nice views of the Pinnacle and the Ridgeline.

hiking
4 months ago

Such a rewarding hike. Oh my at the stairs. Keep going and make it to the top to see a truly amazing view for such a short hike. Heavily used so I suggest going early or late. Peak times can be ruined by groups playing music loudly instead of enjoying the peacefulness and views. I go often.

5 months ago

I went up there yesterday for the first time at it was very beautiful. I was surprised to see so many people up at the top

Took the tower trail up and then the backside trail down! Tower trail was steep going up but very fun. I wished there weren't stairs on the backside trail but it did help because it was a little steep but the views were amazing at the top of Crowders mountain!

hiking
6 months ago

Had to do this over 2 days to hike the full length of it. It's a little over 9 miles long. The first hike I parked at Kings Mtn National Military Park and did the SC portion of the trail, which is 3 miles to the Crowders Mtn Boulders Access. 10 mile round trip...2 miles down the Lake Crawford Trail just to get to the Ridgeline Trail. Parked at Boulders Access for the 2nd hike. 12 mile round trip to the Pinnacle Summit and back. 3 road crossings.The Boulders Overlook off trail has some okay views and the Pinnacle is a good reward at the end, but not as scenic as I thought it would be. Nothing to write home about. Only about 500 feet in elevation gain in over 6 miles. More incline the closer you get to the Pinnacle. So I've now officially conquered every trail in Crowders Mountain State Park.

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
6 months ago

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.

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

hiking
6 months ago

those steps!

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

True to the Description listed on the post. Well marked and maintained trail. Took Tower up and Backside down - I’m sure would be great the opposite way too. Backside has many steps near the top. Have to be careful with pups/ kids at the summit as there are many steep cliff sides at the lookout points. Beautiful views!

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