Crowders Mountain State Park - Hiking King's Pinnacle

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Summary

The hike to King's Pinnacle, one of two peaks at Crowders Mountain State Park, is steep at times. But expansive views from rock outcroppings make it worthwhile.

Written by

Rob Glover

Distance

4.0 miles

This trail connects directly to the Crowders Mountain Trails and the Ridgeline Trail for dozens of miles of hiking possibilities.

Destination Distance From Downtown

26.1 miles

Difficulty

3 of 5 diamonds

The trail up to King's Pinnacle is steep, but it's less rugged than other park options and at 4 miles isn't terribly long.

Time To Complete

2 hours

The trip up will be slower but an overall speed of 2 mph isn't difficult to achieve.

Seasonality

All Seasons

While summer see's a lot of visitors, Crowders is popular year round.

Dog Friendly

On Leash Only

Rangers have been known to hand out tickets for unleashed pets.

Fees Permits

No

Review

Intro

The 4-mile, out and back hike to the top of Kings Pinnacle offers a steep, but somewhat smoother option than the hike up the park’s namesake Crowders Mountain. The re-routing of the Pinnacle trail over the last few years has smoothed out many of the trails steepest sections, adding a little distance in the process. But just like the other side of the park, the work to achieve the summit of Kings Pinnacle is rewarded an 800-plus foot view of the surrounding Carolina piedmont.

What Makes It Great

Crowders Mountain State Park is built around two peaks – Kings Pinnacle to the west and Crowders to the north east. The two-mile-each-way hike to the top of Kings Pinnacle is easy to follow and relatively low on the technical scale. Every weekend it’s common to see dozens of families on the trail,  urging the tiny-trekkers to the top.

The main hike follows just one trail from the main visitor center to the top. Leaving the center, refered to as the Sparrow Springs Access on the map, take the main trailhead a short distance and follow it to the left at the split to stay on the Pinnacle Trail (the trail on the right heads to Crowders Mountain).

The Pinnacle trail immediately begins climbing through a dense forest of hardwoods. Challenging for new hikers, the trail does offer ample opportunity to rest trailside and enjoy the pleasant surroundings. Once you’ve reached the top, and had your fill of the view, simply return to the main visitor station the way you came.

The Ridgeline Trail, accessed near the top of the Pinnacle Trail, offers hikers and trail runners an option for extra miles with a more forgiving topography.

Who is Going to Love It

So many people, earning the park its nickname “Crowded Mountain”. This may be the most popular trail in the park. The shorter distance is more welcoming for families. The wide, mostly smoother paths are a favorite of Charlotte trail runners. Commanding views and a large space to hang out at the precipice brings all sorts of hikers.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

The trailhead is next to the main ranger station – also called the Sparrow Springs Access. Parking is plentiful but can get full during weekends of great weather. The station offers bathrooms, water fountains and a small nature center. Park hours vary by season and dogs are allowed on a leash.

Location

Crowders Mountain State Park

522 Park office ln
Gastonia, NC, 28052
35.213504, -81.293133

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