One of our favorite hikes while we are in South Carolina has been the Pinnacle at Crowders Mountain State Park. Kings Mountain National Military Park, Kings Mountain State Park, and Crowders Mountain State Park are all in a line with the Kings Mountain range. The National Park and Kings Mountain State Park are both in South Carolina and Crowders is in North Carolina.
Crowders Mountain State Park is the closest large green space to Charlotte so it can get pretty crowded. When the parking lots at Crowders are full, they close the park and recommend that people head to one of the Kings Mountain parks. This happened frequently on nice weekends and the National Park benefited from the people coming to Kings Mountain for the first time.
Knowing how busy it was, Tom and I headed to Crowders on weekdays and the park was still sometimes crowded. Crowded at Crowders. Hmmm. Anyway, our favorite hike is the Pinnacles Trail, which took us to the highest place in a 25 mile radius. The climb is uphill for two miles, but the gradient is very gradual until you get toward the top, when it gets steeper fast. The last 25 feet is a scramble up the rocks. Of course, the going gets easier on the two mile hike back to the parking lot!
The top of the Pinnacle trail affords a great 360 degree view of the Piedmont region of North and South Carolina. It is a great place to sit (catching your breath) and appreciate the beauty of the panorama. There are always plenty of people around, but the summit is large enough you can find a place for a little solitude. Of course, I enjoy watching the people almost as much as looking at the view.
We climbed the Pinnacle at Crowders Mountain three times. One time there were young people who had climbed the trees and put out hammocks over the cliff edge. Too scary for me! I like to enjoy the view well away from the edge. The third time we climbed was with my nephew Devon and his girlfriend Darien. They have done some rock climbing, so they were interested in those possibilities.
The Pinnacle trail is a favorite for younger people, but us middle-aged folks like it too. It definitely belongs on any must-do list for a visit to the Charlotte / Kings Mountain area.