The beauty and diversity of Crowders Mountain State Park are best appreciated on its miles of hiking trails. Lined with wildflowers and mountain laurel, these trails lead along the ridges and to the summits of Crowders Mountain and the Kings Pinnacle. Sparrow Springs access offers easy trails around the park lake or a narrow creek. Bring a pair of binoculars to do some birdwatching or tote a camera and capture the beauty of wildflowers in bloom.
Wear proper footwear when hiking on a trail. Bring plenty of water and stay away from cliff faces. To avoid becoming lost, stop by the visitor center for a trail map or print one at home. Pay close attention to trail markers. All trails at Crowders Mountain State Park are hiking trails only.
Pets are permitted on park trails. Pets must be an an attended leash of no longer than 6 feet at all times. Please pick up after your pet when you are at the park; pet waste is not fertilizer and can put plants, other animals, and visitors at risk for disease. Please dispose of pet waste in garbage bins and do not throw waste bags in the woods or leave them on the ground. Hikers with pets should yield to all other trail users.
Watch a long, lazy afternoon slip away while enjoying the park's beautifully wooded lake. Located at Sparrow Springs access near the visitor center and picnic areas, the 7-acre manmade lake has parking nearby.
Paddlers must bring their own equipment. There are no boat rentals at the park. The lake is open only to kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and electric-powered watercraft.
North Carolina state law requires anyone riding any type of personal watercraft to wear a personal flotation device, or life vest, in good condition and of appropriate size. N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission rules are enforced on all public waterways; please visit their website for additional information on regulations and safety:
Fish from choice fishing spots on the banks of the park lake, try your luck on the fishing pier, or take your human- or electric-powered watercraft out to fish in the middle of the lake. Largemouth bass, blue gill, white crappie, redbreast sunfish, and green sunfish are just waiting to be caught.
A North Carolina Inland Fishing License is required for anglers 16 years of age or older. N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission fishing regulations are enforced.
The shade of large trees provides a spot for outdoor dining in a beautiful wooded area. At Sparrow Springs access, 10 tables with a grill at each table is scattered throughout the picnic area. There are also five picnic tables at Linwood access and four tables at Boulders access. Drinking water and restrooms are located nearby.
Picnic tables are free to use and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Two large shelters at Sparrow springs access are available for group picnics. Both shelters can accommodate up to 90 people each, with 9 tables and grills available at each one. For more information, visit:
Crowders Mountain: Facilities page
Experienced climbers will enjoy the challenges of Crowders Mountain State Park. Climbing is permitted in designated areas. Pitons, bolts, or similar devices that may damage cliff faces are not permitted.
Bouldering, a form of rock climbing done without anchors and ropes, is available at the Boulders, located 1 mile from the Boulders access parking area. Some sections of Boulders may be closed at certain times of the year; check with the park prior to visit for more information.
Permits are required for individuals climbing or bouldering at the park. All climbers must register at the visitor center or use the self-registration boxes at Linwood and Boulders access areas. Individual permits are free. Climbers must keep in their possession a valid permit while climbing.
Organized private, commercial or nonprofit groups must obtain a Special Activity Permit prior to an outing. The group climbing permit costs $45. Please submit the permit application and fee to the visitor center. All climbers in the group must still fill out an individual climbing permit.
Read the North Carolina State Parks rules and regulations regarding climbing. Climbers are solely responsible for obtaining proper equipment and training.
Orienteering courses are available at Sparrow Springs access. Use caution, especially during warmer months, as you may encounter poison oak or ivy, stinging insects, ticks, and snakes.
A beginner orienteering course is approximately 0.75 mile long and includes 14 control points.
The objective of the course is to become proficient at following a compass bearing from one control to another, using the bearings and distances provided.
To reach the starting point, follow the Turnback Trail for 0.5 mile from the visitor center parking area or 0.25 mile from the end of the main park road at the second picnic shelter. At a sharp right turn in the trail, you will see the "Orienteering Course" sign that acts as the first control. The first bearing will be taken from this sign.
This is a beginner / basic course with control posts set no more than 100 yards apart, with some set closer. The course is an easy to moderate hike with a few small hills, a creek crossing, and a trail crossing or two.
Carolina Orienteering Klubb Courses
The Carolina Orienteering Klubb also offers three permanent orienteering courses at Crowders Mountain that begin at the flag pole in front of the visitor center. There are two beginner courses and one intermediate level course.
Birds are abundant at Crowders Mountain State Park in all seasons. Spring especially brings migrating aviates, who add to the resident population, and the otherwise quiet mountain air is filled with the melodies of songbirds.
More than 160 species of birds, including waterfowl, wading birds, hawk, owls, and woodpeckers have been recorded in the park.
While some birds visit the park only for a season, the park is the permanent home of several bird species. Among them are black and turkey vultures that roost on isolated rock outcrops near the mountain peaks and fly into the surrounding countryside in search of food.
There are no fees to access the park for most-day use activities, including hiking, paddling and fishing.
Picnic tables are free to use and are available on a first-come, first served basis. Picnic shelters are available for reservation; if not reserved, they are also available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Group climbing can be done only with an approved Special Activity Permit and upon payment of a $45 permit fee.