Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2016-11-12 Crowded Mountain and The Pinnacle

Crowded Mountain and The Pinnacle
Crowders Mountain State Park
Gaston County, NC
Saturday, November 12th, 2016

Crowders Mountain

Where should I hike today?  That was the question I had facing me early Saturday Morning.  Since I needed to get back to Spartanburg by 3:30pm my hike destination would have to be relatively close to home.

I almost decided to head up to Lake Lure to capture some photos of the horrific forest fire.  However, seeing that would probably depress me and fresh air sounded more appealing than smoke filled air I decided to head in a direction away from the smoke!

Crowded Mountain is only about 45 minutes away and it has been over 10 years since my last visit.

I figured on a lovely Fall Saturday, Crowded Mountain would live up to it's name so I got a nice early start arriving at the visitors center shortly after they opened the gates.

During the three mile hike which climbs about 700 feet up to the summit of Crowded Mountain I did not run into another human!  I even had the summit all to myself for a few minutes.

view from Crowders Mountain

view of the Charlotte Skyline from Crowders Mountain

Crowders Mountain

As I was exploring around the rocky outcroppings the mountain top started filling up with people.  The population of the Crowded Mountain Summit went from one (me) to about fifty during the twenty minutes I was there!

I descended down the Backside Trail and connected to the Crowders Trail for my return towards the Visitors Center.

I continued by hike along the Pinnacle Trail which climbs about 800 feet over about two miles.

 view from The Pinnacle

The Pinnacle

 View of Crowders Mountain from The Pinnacle

After exploring around and soaking in the various views I headed back down the mountain finishing up my hike on the Turnback Trail, Fern Trail, and Shorts Lake Trail.

A drought stricken Shorts Lake

Some nice Fall Color at Shorts Lake

By the time I made it back to the Visitors Center the parking lot was 100% full and there was a line of about 30 vehicles waiting to get it!  Crowded Mountain definitely lived up to its name today!

Despite the crowds, it was still an enjoyable hike with some beautiful weather!  Total distance was just under 12 miles.

GPS Track of my hike

The Complete set of photos is posted here:

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