Kings Mountain was the sight of an important revolutionary war battle which Thomas Jefferson called “the turn of the tide of success.” The 16 mile loop trail, one of the longest single trails in the area, travels through both the state park and the adjacent National Military Park. Traversing only modest hills, passing through dense tree cover, and running along a creek the trail offers just enough differentiation to keep a long distance runner or hiker interested.
What Makes It Great
What makes this tail moderate, instead of easy, is simply the length. The topography is gentle, rolling hills and long stretches of near flat trail. But the 16-mile loop, simply referred to as the Hiking Trail (there is also an equestrian trail), offers few chances to cut it short without turning around. Expect to spend the day mostly in shade, ambling through a forest of hardwoods and pine. As it’s a single trail with no need to connect to other paths, it’s very easy to follow.
As welcome relief on hot summer days, the trail crosses or parallels a stream bed several times along its distance.
There are multiple short trails in both parks that lead visitors to historic places and points of interest. These trails are a good option for families and a nice addition to a day of fishing or picnicking in the park.
The Ridgeline Trail, a connector from Crowders Mountain State Park to Kings Mountain, intersects along the northern stretch of this loop. Charlotte’s ultra running community often take advantage of these long stretches of trail. It's rare to find this many miles of connected trail.
Who is Going to Love It
This is the place for history and long trail runs. While pleasant, there aren’t any towering views. Because of its length and flow, this park is frequented by trail runners looking for a long distance run. For families the amenities of two parks so close together – lakes, camping, historical reenactments – makes the short drive from Charlotte worth the trip.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To begin on the state park side, simply park at the first lot after entering the park from highway 161.
The loop trail is accessible via both the State Park and the National Military Park, however the State Park requires a $2.00 fee. Both locations provide bathrooms and drinking water.