Lincolnton, North Carolina
December 10, 2008
So far I have only experienced the Turnback Trail, a moderate .9 mile (one way) trail that leads you to the Pinnacle Trail, a strenous 1.7 mile (one way) trail. You can pick up either trail at the visitors center. I have chosen to start with the Turnback Trail which has a gradual incline over a gentle rolling landscape. This will meetup with the Pinnacle Trail about a 1/2 mile from the summit of King's Pinnacle. Both trails are well marked and maintained (Turnback is blazed in white triangles and Pinnacle in orange circles).
Hiking the Pinnacle trail is a challenge due to the steepness and terrain. While the trail is well maintained there are some decent sized boulders you will encounter as you climb the trail. But knowing the view you will encounter at the top is a wonderful incentive. The breezes at the summit and the soaring birds welcome you after your trek.
The park offers between 7-10 trails from a easy .8 mile (one way) lake trail to the strenous 2.5 mile (one way) Crowders Trail. This is a fairly popular park and I encourage you to arrive not long after the park opens as the trails are easier to enjoy with less people in the area. The busiest time seems to begin after 10:30 in the morning.
Other than hiking, the park also has camping areas that can only be accessed by foot. The camping sites are approximately 1 mile from the visitors center and each site has a grill, tent pad and picnic table. Drinking water and pit toilets are also provided. You must sign in at the visitor's center and sites are first come first serve and are a minimum of $9.00 USD per Day.
Canoe rental is also available for $5.00 for the first hour and $3.00 for each additional hour so you can enjoy the beauty of the lake. (Please note that the lake is currently being drained to prepare for repairs to the dam. The lake is expected to be closed for the remainder of 2008.)
For the more adventerous, rock climbing Crowders Mountain is considered a challenge as no pitons, bolts or similar devices are allowed on the rock face. You must register prior to climbering. There is no fee for the required permit. The sheer vertical cliffs drop to approx 150 feet and at least two people have fallen this past year alone.
The park itself is home to two summits, Kings Pinnacle, the highest point in the County at 1,705 feet and Crowders Mountain at 1,625 feet. Kings Pinnacle gets its name from its shape which resembles a Kings Crown. A major victory was won here back during the American Revolution and the conquest of the British Loyalists marked the first step of defeat that led to Cornwallis' surrender.
Directions:To get to the park take southbound I-85 to exit 13 and make a left at the end of the ramp. Follow Edgewood Road to the first stoplight and make a right onto highway 74. Follow for approximately two miles to Sparrow Springs Road where you will make a left hand turn and follow the signs to the park.
Park Hours:November thru February 8:00 AM - 6:00 PMMarch-April, September-October 8:00 AM - 8:00 PMMay-August 8:00 AM - 9:00 PMClosed Christmas Day
Park Office Hours:8:00 AM - 5:00 PM dailyclosed on state holidays
From journal Hiking in North Carolina