Mountain State Park
eco-system in the lower elevation, great views
and urban haze
a picnic lunch, Steep
cliffs can be dangerous.
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plants of Crowder's
25 miles from Charlotte, a trip to Crowder's Mountain State Park
is a quick get away for the harried city dweller. The scenic views
and sheer cliffs have attracted hikers and rock climbers for many
years. The prominent peaks of Crowder's Mountain, Little Mountain
and Kings Pinnacle all have plant life that
resembles the plant communities found in much higher elevations.
Although it is 70 miles to the Appalachian mountains in western
North Carolina, Mountain Laurel, Highbush
Blueberry and other high elevation plants can be found here.
are several trails that take you to the 1,625 foot summit of Crowders
Mountain. At 9/10 th of a mile, the The Backside
Trail is the shortest and steepest trail to the top.On the weekends
the parking lot is full and the trails can be "sociable".
The trail begins near the State Park parking lot on Linwood Road.
A loop can be made by taking the Tower Trail (road) back. After
leaving the parking lot on a dirt road, take the first trail to
the right. This is the Backside Trail. The trail to the top is on
an old road that takes you through a pine-oak forest filled with
Virginia Pine and Hickories. At the base of the 150' cliffs that
characterize Crowders, you are surrounded by chestnut oaks, hickories
and rhododendron. There are benches here and it's a great spot to
rest and enjoy the "Mountain like" atmosphere. The hike
from the base of the cliffs to the top is a strenuous 5 to 10 minute
climb on newly installed steps. Recent renovations and improvements
to the park has made it very user friendly. As soon as you reach
the top of the stairs the panoramic views begin.
at the top a turn to the left takes you to the best views on the
mountain. There are Virginia Pine, Bear
Oak and Mountain Laurel scattered about the top of the mountain.
There isn't any designated trail up here, so hikers and climbers
can be found anywhere. Even if the mountain is over-run with park
visitors it is possible to find a quiet spot to enjoy the views.
There are many ledges and "nooks" to spread out a blanket
and enjoy a picnic. After hiking to the northern end of the mountain
top, good views of Little Mountain can be had. There are several
rock faces here that many rock climbers prefer.
mountain, adjacent to Crowder's, has the lowest elevation of the
three peaks in the park. Because there aren't any trails on Little
Mountain it is minimally affected by hikers and climbers and has
high biological diversity. Appalachian Golden
Banner, significantly rare in this state, is found on the dry
ridges of Little Mountain.
crowded as this park gets, it is possible to find solitude here.
A little traveled loop hike can be made by combining several trails.
By taking the Crowder's Trail from the
Park Office, combining it with the Backside and Rocktop Trails,
a nice 5 mile hike can be made. The hike winds through pine - oak
forests that are being over taken by oaks. This trail is lightly
traveled, for 2.5 miles, until it junctions with the Backside Trail.
After this hike crosses the top of Crowder's mountain you turn on
the Rocktop Trail at the tower.
Rocktop Trail is less traveled and has
excellent views. It has a lower elevation than the Crowders summit,
but has great views of the cliffs and the surrounding countryside.
The rocks have odd shapes and there are indentations in the rock.
At 1.5 miles long, the Rocktop trail is rocky and lined with Rhododendron
for most of its length. Here too are some great places to rest and
enjoy this little slice of the mountains. The Trail reaches the
road and rejoins the Crowder's Trail to take you back to the Park
Office and the main parking lot
Mountain State was first opened to the public in 1974. In 1977 the
land including the summit was purchased. In 1987 Kings Pinnacle
was added. Recent improvements in the park have made it better than
ever. With the addition of the new Visitor Center in the early summer
its facilities will rival other great North Carolina Parks.
miles from Charlotte take Highway 74 East exit from I-85.
The exit is west of Gastonia and past the Bessemer City
exit. 1.5 miles from I-85 watch for brown signs on the
right. Turn right and follow the signs. Linwood Road, the location
of the Backside Trail parking lot. is the first left. The main park
entrance and picnic area is straight ahead. Follow the signs to
the Park Office and the main parking area of Crowder's Mountain
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plants of Crowder's