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.