Crowders Mountain State Park is located in Gaston County, North Carolina. Slightly west of the city of Charlotte, the park encompasses 5,054 acres (20.5 square km) and includes mountains, sheer cliff faces, and a lake. It is open year-round except for Christmas Day. The park features hiking trails and camping areas. There is a variety of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, including rock climbing, boating, and fishing.
Early in its history, the area was a boundary between the Catawba and Cherokee Indians and their hunting lands. Settlers began to arrive, and the discovery in 1799 of a large gold nugget sparked interest in the area as a location of possible gold deposits. In the following years, the land surrounding Crowders Mountain was host to a number of gold mining operations. It was not until excavation mining began in 1970 that local residents organized to stop the destruction of the land.
The area officially became a state park in 1974. Crowders Mountain became part of the park in 1977, and by 1987, the park’s boundaries extended to include Kings Pinnacle. Crowders Mountain State Park includes one of the highest points in Gaston County, offering views that stretch as far as 25 miles (40 km). Aside from mountains, the landscape includes valleys, foothills, and high cliffs.
Crowders Mountain rises to 1,625 feet (495 m) and is a registered National Heritage area. Neighboring Kings Pinnacle is even higher, reaching an elevation of 1,705 feet (519 m). The park’s 150 feet (45.7 m) vertical cliffs provide opportunity for rock climbing and bouldering, although the park does not permit the use of devices that could damage the rock faces. There are miles of marked hiking trails along with numerous designated picnic areas with grills and tables.
Visitors to Crowders Mountain State Park can take advantage of the various camping sites. The sites range from secluded, primitive camping spots to family camping areas complete with grills, picnic tables, and tent pads. These larger sites offer the convenience of pit toilets and drinking water as well. Accommodations for group camping are also available. There is a fee for camping, and visitors must register and reserve their sites.
The park’s lake offers opportunities for fishing and canoeing, but swimming is not allowed. Along with recreational activities, Crowders Mountain State Park hosts a variety of wildlife. There are over 160 bird species, including broad-winged hawks and great horned owls. Raccoons, opossums, and gray foxes also inhabit the woods.