Searching for that quiet country road to log some miles on your road bike? Or dialing in and doubling down on gnarly singletrack? Or both? In the southeast, you’ll find what you’re looking for, along with inviting pubs and restaurants to rest and refuel, in Gaston County, North Carolina. With options for endurance athletes, weekend warriors, families with kids in tow, and everyone in between, Gaston’s got a ride for you.
Crowders to Kings Mountain
Starting in Gaston County, hit three historic state and national parks on one 21.5-mile road ride through rolling farmland. Start at the visitors center in Crowders Mountain State Park to ride 2.4 miles on Sparrow Springs Road. You’ll follow back roads Lewis and Unity Church to a six-mile straightaway on Battleground Road, crossing the South Carolina state line into Kings Mountain State Park. It’s a straight shot through the park to Kings Mountain National Military Park right next door. Check out the living history farm and visitor center before returning to Crowders on a longer loop via Battleground, Unity Church, and Crowders Creek Roads.
George Poston Park
Riding the 10-plus miles of tight, twisty trails through dense forest at George Poston Park makes you feel as if you’re deep in the western North Carolina woods. In reality, you’re only minutes from downtown McAdenville, Cramerton, and Mount Holly. Quad-burning climbs followed by rapid descents on hard-packed singletrack come at you in quick succession. Start at the information kiosk to warm up on the moderate Lake Loop, then follow the bridges and creek crossings higher up the flanks of Spencer Mountain on progressively more challenging trails like Big Leaf, Soccer, and Spencer Mountain Loops.
Carolina Thread Trail
An easy ride on the mostly-flat Carolina Thread Trail travels through NC Wildlife Federation-designated Butterfly Highway habitat, making for a scenic trip that’s tailor-made for families and novice mountain bikers.The Seven Oaks Preserve Trail follows Lake Wylie’s shore for 2.8 miles through stands of Swamp Chestnut Oak and Tulip Poplar. Take it slow and stop often for lake views and wildlife sightings, or ride the South Fork Trail, travelling four miles out and back along the slow-moving South Fork of the Catawba River.
Gaston County Greenways
Gaston County’s new bikeshare program makes it easy to pick up a bike and hop on the county’s growing paved greenway network. Bike stations in Dallas, George Poston, and Lineberger Parks—along with bikes on the Highland Rail Trail and at the Gaston County Visitor Center—get you on the 4.5-mile Avon & Catawba Creek Greenway or the Highland Rail Trail from downtown to Rankin Lake Park.
U.S. National Whitewater Center
The USNWC, home base for most mountain bikers in the region, has expanded its trail network to more than 40 miles, adding some sweet and substantial beginner and intermediate rides to the hilly, riverfront terrain. Flowy half-mile Jackrabbit and 2.7-mile Tributary expand the options for novice riders, and three miles of new trail debuting soon will open up more than 20 miles of intermediate-level riding.
Written by Ann Gibson for RootsRated Media in partnership with Gaston County Gov.