Welcome to the Friends of Crowder’s Mountain website! This online asset is dedicated to presenting accurate information about Crowder’s Mountain, which is also known as Crowders Mountain, possibly because of the Crowders Creek that is located in the area.The goal of the site is to put into perspective the history of the Mountain, its ecology, the tourist attractions, facilities… virtually everything there is to know about Crowder’s Mountain and Crowders Mountain State Park!
1. Crowder’s Mountain History
It is believed that the two important peaks – Crowder’s Mountain and King’s Pinnacle – are remnants of the Appalachian mountain chain, which are believed to have formed many years ago. Fortunately, the strength of the quartz rocks has allowed these peaks to avoid being eroded because of the powerful winds and other erosion forces.
The height of Crowders Mountain reaches 1,625 feet, with some cliffs that exceed a height of 100 feet. Every person that has ever climbed to the top of the Mountain will agree that the view is spectacular; you will have the opportunity to admire the beauties of the nature for distances that go up to 25 miles.
The area was the exclusive property of the Cherokee Indians until the arrival of the first few European settlers; the number of colonists grew quite fast, so by the end of the 18th century, there were close to 100,000 settlers in the area.
The explication for this massive migration was simple: there were lots of precious minerals in the area right beside the Crowder’s Mountain. Since the large quantities of gold from California weren’t discovered until the middle of the 19th century, North Carolina was the most important source of this valuable mineral at the time.
This explains why a big number of people were interested in settling in the area, as well as the main reason why the conflicts with the Indians didn’t stop until the Revolutionary War. And with hundreds of gold mines that were scattered on a dozen of counties, it is not a surprise that the environment was seriously affected.
The mining stopped for a century, but the excavations began about 40 years ago. Fearing that the Mountain will be in danger, a large group of citizens in the area has formed the Gaston County Conservation Society, whose role was to raise awareness about this important matter, in order to stop the exploratory drilling and excavations.
As a result of this initiative, one year later the state has included Crowder’s Mountain on its State Park list, and the funds that were needed in order to acquire the land were included in the budget for the following year.
Crowders Mountain State Park was open to the public for the first time in 1974; later on, Kings Pinnacle was added to the Park, as new pieces of land were bought in 1987 and 2000.
2. Crowder’s Mountain Ecology
The most abundant vegetation form on Crowder’s Mountain is the chestnut oak forest. In addition to this, due to the intensive restoration process, the Mountain is populated with other varieties of oak and red maple. The Virginia pine is also present in the area, along with a few American chestnut trees.
You will also find rhododendrons at high altitudes, together with mountain laurel. There are lots of fern species, ranging from bracken fern, which can be found in the sunny areas, to ferns that grow on the northern ridge and can reach heights of up to six feet.
Crowder’s Mountain hosts a diverse animal population; there are lots of fish and a great variety of frogs in the waters. The list goes on with salamanders, which can often be found beneath logs and rocks, especially in the areas with a higher humidity. Mud turtles and also a frequent presence in the Park; the Virginia opossums and the raccoons are also regular area inhabitants.
The upper area of the mountain is the home of the foxes and chipmunks. The moles are very busy here, digging lots of tunes under the ground. Some salamanders can also be found at higher altitudes, the place where you might also encounter a few snakes. The good news is that most of these snakes are not dangerous; nevertheless, you should keep an eye on the timber rattlesnake and the copperhead, which can be found in the area and are venomous.
The birds from Crowder’s Mountain are present in large numbers, no matter the season. We are talking not only about small birds like woodpeckers, but also about bigger birds: hawks, owls, etc. The Mountain hosts over 150 bird species, including vultures that build their nests on isolated mountain peaks.
3. Crowder’s Mountain Activities
Most people come to visit Crowder’s Mountain State Park because of it great hiking trails; many of them are bordered by beautiful wild flowers and lead either to Crowder’s Mountain or to Kings Pinnacle.
Nevertheless, there are many other hiking trails that are perfect for non-climbers, allow you to circle the lake and admire the plants and animals in the water, for example. If you have got a modern camera, you can use it not only as a pair of binoculars, but also to capture great pictures that will help imprint the beauty of the place in your mind forever.
If you are an experience climber, you will love the rock climbing challenges offered by Crowder’s Mountain; nevertheless, please remember that, in order to preserve the mountain, it is not allowed to use bolts or pitons. If you are into bouldering, which is very similar with rock climbing, but it is done without making use of ropes, you will be happy hear that the Mountain has several tracks where you can test your limits.
If you are a climber, please remember to register by filling in the climbing form at the park. Keep a copy of this document with you anytime you are rappelling or climbing. Also, remember that you are the only person that is responsible for your safety, so make sure to get proper equipment and (most of all) training before engaging in these activities.
What about water sports? If you love water, you will feel at home in the Park. The artificial lake has a size of nine acres, with canoes that can be rented from the park office, starting from spring and ending at the beginning of winter. If you have a North Caroline license, you can try your luck by testing one of the fishing spots.
The rangers offer interactive, educative presentations about Crowder’s Mountain and the State Park. The educational materials have been developed especially for children, allowing your kids to learn some basic geology, for example.
The Park personnel has reserved a large area for outdoor dining, with no less than eight grills and close to 30 tables; in addition to this, you can find restrooms and drinking water very close to the place.
Camping is the favorite activity for many people, especially at the end of a tiring day. Private camping areas are available close to the park office. The forested camping area has individual campsites, each one of them including a toilet, a picnic table, a grill, drinking water and (of course) a tent pad.
For larger groups (larger families or bigger groups of friends or colleagues) there are also group camping areas, which can easily accommodate 10 to 15 people. The group camping areas have two picnic tables and a fire circle, which will come in handy when it comes to cooking your food or telling stories till late at night.