I've written about Crowder Mountain State Park here a number of times. It's where you go when you have a jones to go to the mountains but don't have the time. So you hop in the car and drive 30 miles south of Charlotte and there you are, at a park centered around a couple of quartzite monadnocks. They're pretty good little mountains with two major peaks. One is called Crowder Mountain and is the bulkier of the two. The second one, which is my favorite, is called King's Pinnacle. It's about 100 feet taller than Crowder but not quite so impressive a mass when viewed from a distance. It does stand about 900 feet above the surrounding Piedmont, and that's not bad for this neck of the woods.
Over the years I've spent a lot of time hiking that park, and I've covered every trail there more than once. Eventually, though, I got tired of the place and these days I only head over there when I'm feeling really desperate to get away for a little while and don't have the time to go anywhere else. The bad thing about the park is that you can't really get away from the sound of automobiles. I-85 lies just to the west of the park so when you get up on the ridges you hear that constant roar of tires on pavement and the growl of motors. Even in the forest you can often hear the internal combustion engines firing along, the whir of rubber against pavement.
But in a pinch the park's A-OK.
I took this one just below the summit of King's Pinnacle. The air was really clear that day. If you click on the photo and enlarge it, you'll even be able to see the Blue Ridge Mountains far to the west.
As near as I can tell, this is actually the highest point on the mountain. A tad over 1600 feet above sea level.
The nearby Crowder Mountain from the top of King's Pinnacle. That should be the visitor's center down there between the two mountains.
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