Camping: When you've finished exploring for the day, settle in for a long night's sleep. Located approximately one mile from the park office are secluded areas for camping — areas so private there's often not another person in sight. Both campgrounds are reached by trail and all supplies must be packed to the campsites.
Backcountry Family Camping: A one-mile trail leads to the forested camping area where each campsite has a grill and tent pad and a picnic table. Drinking water and pit toilets are provided.
Backcountry Group Camping: Larger groups will enjoy fellowship in the group camping area. Each of the six group sites will accommodate up to 15 people. Camping areas include a fire circle for cooking and campfire tales, as well as two picnic tables per site. Pit toilets and water are located nearby.
Education and Events: Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Crowders Mountain State Park. To arrange a special exploration of Crowders Mountain State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.
Educational materials about Crowders Mountain State Park have been developed for grades 5-7 and are correlated to North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Crowders Mountain program introduces students to basic geologic concepts, including the rock cycle, rock and mineral identification, weathering and erosion, and resource use. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators.
Hiking:The beauty and diversity of Crowders Mountain State Park are best appreciated on its miles of hiking trails. Hiking trails lined with wildflowers and mountain laurel lead along the ridges and to the summits of Crowders Mountain and Kings Pinnacle. Other trails are easy promenades through pastoral surroundings. Circle the lake on a gravel path or view aquatic plants and animals along a narrow creek. Bring a pair of binoculars and do some bird watching or tote a camera and capture the beauty of wildflowers in bloom. For information on the length and difficulty of park trails, see the map legend.
Backside Trail: blazed in orange hexagons - A strenuous, .9 mile (one-way) trail that starts at the Linwood Access Area and ends at the summit of Crowders Mountain. Just before reaching the summit, hikers will climb up 336 wooden steps.
Family Camping Trail: blazed in red squares with a single tent - this .2 mile (one-way) trail is accessed off of the Pinacle trail and gives campers access to the family backpack camping area.
Group Camping Trail: blazed in light blue diamonds with three tents - this .4 mile (one-way) trail is accessed off of the Pinacle trail and gives campers access to the group backpack camping area.
Crowders Trail: blazed in white diamonds - this moderately strenuous 2.5 mile (one-way) trail begins at the Visitor Center and ends at the backside trail before that trail reaches the summit. The trail includes one state road crossing.
Fern Trail: blazed in red hexagons - this easy 1.0 mile loop trail begins at picnic shelter number 1, connects with a portion of the Turnback Trail and follows a creek for some portions of the trail.
Lake Trail: blazed in light blue circles - this easy .8 mile loop trail goes around the park lake.
Pinnacle Trail: blazed in orange circles - this strenuous 1.7 mile (one-way) trail begins at the Visitor Center and ends at the summit of King's Pinnacle, the highest point in Gaston County at 1,705 feet.
Ridgeline Trail: a 6.2 mile (one way) trail starting near the summit of Kings Pinnacle, following the ridgeline all the way to the South Carolina State line. The Ridgeline trail then continues for 2.5 miles into South Carolina through Kings Mountain State Park, and terminates at the 16 mile Kings Mountain National Recreation Trail that goes through Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park.
Rocktop Trail: blazed in red squares - this strenuous 1.5 mile (one-way) trail starts at the road crossing of Sparrow Springs Road and Freedom Mill Road and ends at the summit of Crowders Mountain. There is no parking at either end of the trail and the trail must be accessed by either beginning on the Crowders Trail (visitor center) or the Tower or Backside Trails (at the summit). This trail crosses several rock ledges and requires good footwear and careful attention to staying on the trail.
Tower Trail: blazed in light blue squares - this strenuous 2.0 mile (one-way) trail begins at the Linwood Access Area and ends at the radio towers on Crowders Mountain. The trail is an old roadbed that begins with a gentle climb that becomes quite steep towards the end.
Turnback Trail: blazed in white triangles - this moderate .9 mile (one-way) trail begins at the southeast corner of the visitor center parking lot and ends at the Pinnacle Trail .7 miles from the summit of King's Pinnacle. The trail gives alternate hiking opportunities for both the Pinnacle and Fern trails.
Picnicking: The shade of large trees provides a spot for outdoor dining in a beautiful wooded area. Scattered throughout the picnic area are 28 tables and eight grills. Drinking water and restrooms are located nearby. Two large shelters with tables and grills are available for group picnics. Reservations are suggested to be certain they are available. Use of the shelters is free of charge and on a first-come, first-served basis unless reservations are requested.
There are five picnic tables at the Linwood Access Area.
Rock Climbing: Experienced climbers will enjoy the challenges of Crowders Mountain. Climbing is permitted in designated areas only. Pitons, bolts or similar devices that may damage cliff faces are not permitted. Further information may be obtained at the park office.
Bouldering: a form of rock climbing done without anchors and ropes, is available on Buzzard's Roost, near the Boulders Access Area. All climbing regulations, including the requirement of a permit, are in effect, and some sections of Buzzard's Roost may be closed to Bouldering at certain times of the year. Check with park staff for more information.
All climbers must register with the park by completing a climbing and rappelling registration and activity permit which is available at the park office visitor center or at the self-registration box at the Linwood Access Area. There is no fee for this permit. Prior to activity, a copy of the permit must be deposited in a registration box or given to a park ranger. An additional copy is provided for participants and must be held in their possession while engaged in climbing or rappelling.
Participants are responsible for their own personal safety, including securing proper training and equipment, and adhering to safe practices. Basic rock climbing safety equipment and techniques must be used at all times.
Water Sports: Watch a long, lazy afternoon slip away while enjoying the park's wooded lake. Located near the park office and picnic ground, the nine-acre, man-made lake has ample parking nearby. For those who like to be afloat, canoes can be rented at the park office from spring through late fall year-round, weather permitting. Paddle to secluded spots along the shoreline where the only sound is the ripples of the water.
Fish from choice fishing spots on the banks or try your luck from the seat of a canoe. Bass and bream are waiting to be caught! Anglers must have a North Carolina fishing license. Swimming and private boats are not permitted.