Thursday, September 22, 2011

King's Pinnacle View

Kings Pinnacle inside Crowders Mountain State Park is the closest mountain to my house. I go there as a retreat of last resort when I can't run off to the real high country farther west. The park is one of North Carolina's largest state parks, and the highest point on the mountain was outside the borders of the park for many years. Finally, though, the state worked a deal with the family who owned a vast tract of land that included the long ridge that runs from Crowders Mountain all the way to the South Carolina border. Rangers in the park have told me for years that there is a trail planned to lead from the top of Crowders Mountain all the way to Kings Mountain State Park in South Carolina. But I've never heard that the trail has been completed or officially dedicated.

Click to embiggen.

The mountain is a classic monadnock. Composed of quartzite capstone, it has resisted erosion while the soil around it has been carried off to the Piedmont and coast farther east. Sadly, you can't really enjoy anything like a wilderness experience in the park due to the fact that there is so much development around it. You can pretty much always hear motor vehicles roaring along on I-85 to the west. And you can see all sorts of construction from the summit ridges. But, as I said, it'll do if you're desperate to just be in the forest and to take a walk up a steep slope to an impressive overlook.

And, of course, every time I go to the rocky viewing site near the very top of the mountain, I always take the time to make a goofy photograph that I stitch together to scare my friends and family.

Three of me! Yow!


stan said...

I like to get over to Crowders when I can. FYI, the trail down to the SC Park is now open and well-signed too.
It's called the Ridgeline Trail and I've been on it several times.
Just before you get to the top of Kings Pinnacle, the Ridgeline Trail now branches off to the South.
It's about 6.2 miles to the new ranger station and parking lot called "Boulders", which is just inside NC, off of Bethlehem Road.
From there, the trail continues South and eventually crosses into SC.
From the Boulders ranger station, it is about 3 miles to the Ridgeline Trail's termination, as it intersects the loop trail in the Kings Mountain State Park and National Military Park.
(That trail is about a 16 mile loop. On its North end and especially in the National Park, it's very well kept. The section in the State Park is much more neglected with blown down trees, etc.)

Anyway, the Ridgeline Trail is quite hilly, and a total of about 9 miles long, one way. We've run a couple of unoffical ultramarathons utilizing all of the adjoining trails now available.

You can see a homemade map of the Crowders and Ridgeline Trails, etc. here.

I enjoy reading of your outdoor adventures.

HemlockMan said...

Cool! Thanks for positing that! I'll have to ride over there and hike the new trail! I've always wondered about the ridge that continues on past Kings Pinnacle.