ElevationAscent: 813' 248 m
Descent: -830' -253 m
High: 1,606' 489 m
Low: 847' 258 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)
Current trail conditions
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“This is a great hike that's good for families or for keeping in shape for bigger hikes.”— Nathan Sprinkle
Family Friendly It's challenging but not too difficult for sturdy little hikers, but let them rest often and keep them close to you near the top.
Warming up with a level hike from the left side of the visitor's center. You soon come to a T intersection. Going right takes you on the preferred hike to the top of Crowders Mountain, a longer hike. This hike goes left and ascends gently to a rocky ridge. After going over several rocky sections, you come to a small saddle where the Turnback Trail connects. Continuing uphill, the trail steepens, takes a switchback to the left and steepens yet again. This is typically where you see trail runners huffing steadily past, and out-of-shape folks bending over trying to catch their breath.
But the trail steepens yet again! To the left you'll see the Ridgeline Trail that leads to Kings Mountain in South Carolina, but you'll turn right up the steepest part. Not to worry, as you soon reach the end of the official trail. Climb over the rocks to reach the peak, or go left and around for an easier trail up. There are always opportunities to demonstrate stewardship in this area, so its good to bring a plastic bag for trash.
On the way back down, turn right onto the Turnback Trail and descend easily. This passes the picnic area and meets the Fern Trail. Go left when you see a road ahead, and left again at the sign about ferns. You end up at a small meadow beside the visitors center.
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Flora & Fauna, History & Background
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Land Manager: North Carolina State Parks