The Kings Mountain Gateway Trail is located in the town of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, not the Kings Mountain National or State Parks in South Carolina. We hiked the trail after the snowy weekend a month ago. The temperature was in the 40s, but the snow had been thawing during the days and freezing at night, so the sections of the trail that stayed in the shade were very icy. This made the hike more adventurous!
The Gateway Trail is a little confusing because it seems to be a collection of trails in one spot all under the heading of the Gateway Trail. There is a mountain bike trail, a hiking/jogging trail, and a rail-trail. The rail-trail is under development and it isn’t clear how much is completed. Tom and I decided to save the rail-trail for a day when we could ride the bike to check out the longer distance. Parts of the trail have the designation of the National Recreation Trail.
There is also the Carolina Thread Trail which covers 15 counties in North and South Carolina. I’m not sure why it is called the Thread Trail. The symbol looks vaguely quiltish, so I thought it might be a heritage trail with colonial era quilting as the theme. But it seems to be a disparate and disconnected group of trails that wander around the west-central border area of the two Carolinas. Most of the mileage in the Carolina Thread Trail comes from paddleways, tempting us to go canoeing or kayaking when it gets warmer. There may be plans to link all these threads together eventually. Part of the Gateway Trail is also a piece of the Carolina Thread Trail.
Tom and I threaded these pieces of the Gateway Trail together to make a nice three-mile hike that was mostly a loop. We walked up to the top of two different hills and enjoyed the views (mostly of I-85 and a quarry). The most challenging part of the trail was the aptly named “Cardio Hill.” It was fairly steep and icy. As we went up and down the hill, there was a jogger who went up the hill four times – getting his cardio workout in!
The Gateway Trail was a nice walk that is located close by. I’m sure we will walk it again and I will give you a report when we try the rail-trail portion of it.