Crowders Mountain offers a wonderful escape to scenic views and mountain fresh air just a few miles from the bustling city of Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a popular destination for many outdoor activities like hiking, camping, lake fishing and canoeing, rock climbing, and even a family picnic with astonishing views of the city from the cliff top!
Thanks to its fascinating trails, Crowders Mountain is a celebrated place for most hikers and rock climbers in and around Charlotte. At a height of 495 meters, it stands tall as one of the most breathtakingly beautiful mountain peaks in the Crowders Mountain State Park. If you are planning a trip to this place with friends or family, read on to learn more about the area, how to get there, and the fees and rules so you can have a more enriching and hassle-free experience.
WHAT IS CROWDERS MOUNTAIN?
It is a popular tourist destination located at a distance of about 25 miles (a drive of about 45 minutes) from Charlotte, North Carolina. You can reach this place by car, taxi, bus, or train. Situated at an elevation of 1,625 feet above sea level and 800 feet above the surrounding terrain, the mountain offers locals a convenient place for weekend adventure.
Crowders Mountain is also one of the two central peaks in the State Park. The other mountain is called The Pinnacle, also referred to as the “Kings Pinnacle.” Crowders Mountain State Park is 5,126 acres of land between the cities of Kings Mountain and Gastonia. Crowders Mountain is in the north-eastern section of the park, while the Kings Pinnacle lies in the western part of the State Park.
How the Mountain Got Its Name
Many local people believe that Crowders Mountain was named after the German merchant and farmer, Ulrich Crowder. However, historians say that the mountain got its name from Crowders Creek that emerges at the foot of the mountain.
Crowders Mountain State Park was developed in 1973 and opened to the public in 1974. The mountain itself was inaugurated as hiking destination in 1978, while The Pinnacle was added nearly a decade later in 1987. At the turn of the 21st century, another 2,000 acres of land was acquired to bring the Kings Mountain into the Park and extend the park boundaries in both North and South Carolina.
The State Park visitor center regularly hosts exhibitions and interactive programs. Visitors can read information sheets and guide maps to learn more about the history, flora, fauna, and geology of the mountain. The park staff members (known as the rangers) are available for any information or assistance you may seek during your visit.
Getting to Crowders Mountain
If you are coming by road from Southbound I-85, you should turn left and take Edgewood road from exit 13. From the first stoplight, take a right turn towards Highway 74 and drive straight on for about two miles. Fom the next stoplight, turn left to take Sparrow Springs Road and continue for another two miles before taking a right turn to see the main entrance of the State Park at less than a mile’s distance on your right side.
If you are coming from Northbound I-85, turn right to take exit 8 for NC 161 and drive for one-fourth of a mile before taking a left turn onto Lake Montonia Road, also called the Pinnacle Road. Follow the road till it ends at Sparrow Springs Road. Take a left turn from the stop sign on Sparrow Springs Road, and the main gate of the State Park will be on your left in less than a mile.
Once you reach the State Park, the trailhead is right next to the ranger station. The visitor center has water fountains and a small nature center that offers basic amenities, such as washrooms and drinking water.
- Address: 522 Park Office Lane, Kings Mountain, NC 28086
- Phone: 704-853-5375
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The destination has a parking facility that can accommodate nearly 500 vehicles, but it gets quickly filled up on the weekends and during school holidays. Visitors sometimes jokingly referr to the mountain as the “Crowded Mountain”. Visit the State Park in the early hours to get a convenient parking spot for your vehicle. However, if the parking space is full, the staff will redirect upcoming vehicles to another location. The parking hours vary in each season, and during the off-season it's always easier to find a place to park.
Parking by season is as follows:
- December to February: 7 am to 6 pm
- March, April, and October: 7 am to 8 pm
- May to September: 7 am to 9 pm
- November: 7 am to 7 pm
The state park office is open from 8 am to 5 pm daily throughout the year
PLANNING AN ADVENTURE TO CROWDERS MOUNTAIN
This mountain attracts hordes of visitors in all seasons due to its challenging hikes, steep cliffs, and a stunning 25-mile view of the Charlotte city on the summit. The adjoining lake, spread across nine acres, is also a popular destination for fishing and canoeing. Canoeing equipment is for rental.
The Crowders Mountain Trail is 2.8 miles from the State Park. During the 5-mile round trip hike, you will traverse dense forests of pine and hardwood. There are also some family camping sites at a mile’s distance from the parking area.
Hiking Crowders Mountain Trails
Hiking up Crowders Mountain will allow you to experience the great variety of plant and animal life found in the region. Most of the mountain's 20 miles of hiking trails are amidst greens, but you will also find numerous bodies of water along the way, too. The place offers a number of easy trails as well as a few harder trails.
There are two main trailheads. One starts at Linwood Road Access, and the other at Sparrow Springs Access. Each has access to washrooms and parking space. Whichever trail you choose to reach the 1,625 foot summit of the Crowders Mountain, it will offer a unique and memorable experience in itself.
Some of the most popular trails include Crowders Trail, Backside Trail, Rocktop Trail, Tower Trail, Ridgeline Trail, Pinnacle Trail, and the Kings Mountain State Park Trail. Some trails have a natural surface while others have pavement, gravel, or a crushed stone surface. In some places, stairs have been constructed.
Camping at Crowders Mountain
You may choose to hike up the mountain and enjoy a night’s sleep in nature’s lap. Crowders Mountain offers camping sites at roughly one mile’s distance from the State Park office. Each family campsite includes a picnic table, tent pads, and a grill, in addition to drinking water and vault toilets. You must carry in the necessary camping items, including food and first aid, yourself.
Other Activities at Crowders Mountain
You can enjoy fishing or paddling at the State Park’s wooded lake near the park office. Visitors love kayaking and canoeing on a lazy afternoon at the lake. Rock climbing is permitted in some designated areas on the mountains. Bouldering, which is a form of rock climbing without the use of ropes and anchors, is allowed in the Boulder Access Area a mile away from the trailhead. Large trees, shaded areas, and spots for outdoor dining are spread across the State Park, where you can enjoy a family meal in the midst of a pristine natural environment. Tables are reserved on a first-come-first-served basis only.
Fees, Rules, and Permits
You do not have to pay any fees to enter the State Park or to hike up the mountain. However, certain special events like weddings, athletic tournaments, and corporate parties do require a Special Activity Permit. You may call the park office to confirm if a permit is required during the days you are planning to visit the State Park.
Be aware of the rules and regulations, and follow them diligently at the park. Some of the key rules include:
- Visitors may launch only engine-less water vehicles in the lake
- Feeding animals is strictly prohibited
- Firewood is available at $5 per locker to campers. Outside wood is not allowed
- Climbing and Bouldering is done at the individual’s own risk
- Climbers must register at the State Park
- Hikers/Campers/Climbers are responsible for their own safety
- New routes are not permitted
- All accidents and injuries must be reported to the staff
- Park your vehicle in designated parking areas only.
Crowders Mountain has been the favorite destination for adventure lovers in Charlotte and its neighboring parts of North Carolina for years. It offers the most stunning views in the area, and is an ideal place for trail runners, hikers, and beginners. You may not find a more challenging hike with a better 360-degree view of the city anywhere else in the region.
There has been regular upgrading and development at the State Park in recent years, which has increased the popularity of the area compared to neighboring parks. It is a must-visit place if you are looking for some real fun and adventure in the midst of natural beauty. Plan your visit soon!