Crowders Mountain State Park is a fast escape for Charlotte’s outdoor-craving urbanites. The 2,000-acre foothills park is a quick getaway—located just 25 miles west of the Queen City—for hikers, trail runners, and climbers. The park’s namesake peak, the 1,625-foot Crowders Mountain, is geologically known as a monadnock, an isolated rocky mountain with an abundance of jagged cliffs that jut rather abruptly from the surrounding piedmont countryside.
The park has a 15-mile trail network for foot exploration that leads to the summit of Crowders, as well as the nearby Kings Pinnacle (1,700 feet). From the trails, hikers can also access 10 backcountry campsites that are perfect for families just getting acquainted with backpacking. The state of North Carolina has purchased another 2,000 acres to the southwest of the park boundary and plans to build a trail that connects Crowders with Kings Mountain State Park in South Carolina.
Crowders’ sheer vertical cliffs also make it a local hot spot for rock climbing. Two divided climbing areas dubbed the Main Wall and Hidden Wall hold over 150 routes. Try the ledgy 5.5 route The Nose to the 5.10+ bolted Electra. More route details: crowdersmountain.com.
King of the Mountain
One of North Carolina’s most popular multisport races, the Over the Mountain Triathlon takes place on May 30 in the town of Kings Mountain, just outside the park boundary. The Olympic-distance tri is a qualifying event for the USAT Age Group Nationals, and it includes a 1,500-meter swim in Moss Lake, a challenging 45K road ride that features a rollercoaster of climbs and descents, and a 10K run. More info: setupevents.com.
Photos by Jonathan Kalodimos from http://www.onthesharpend.com.