My first trip to Crowder Mountain State Park in North Carolina was on a Wednesday morning for a half-day hike. Based on my research, this park is crowded on the weekends. It was crowded for a hump day, too. Not so crowded that we didn’t enjoy ourselves, but more people (including one YMCA activity busload of kids) than I am accustomed to seeing on a weekday hike.

As it was my first trip to this park, I stopped at the Visitor’s Center and asked a couple of questions. The park has over twenty-five miles of trails, so there’s something for everyone. The Crowders Trail has 300 steps which I was sure my knee would object to. My hiking buddy and I decided to take the Pinnacle Trail. At first, we were surprised at the ease of the two-mile (one way) trail as it was listed as strenuous. We hiked up of course, as the destination was an overlook, but the trail was wide and easy. Eventually, we entered a rock garden of sorts, and while I had to watch my feet, it was manageable, and I have a fondness for rocks. Along the way, we saw the occasional mushroom and lichen on this shady hike. Eventually, we were two-tenths of a mile from our destination. At this point, there should be a sign saying, “This is where it gets strenuous.”

I realize I’m getting older, but that was a hard 2/10 of a mile. When I reached the end of the trail, I plopped on a rock to catch my breath, eat a snack, and drink some water. Peaceful scenery and a few minutes rest restored my energy, and we returned the way we came. We should have taken the Turnback Trail and made it a loop, but for some reason, we didn’t. I suspect I was still recovering from that 2/10 of a mile.

Crowder Mountain State Park is on our list for a return trip.

More Hiking Posts by N. R. Tucker.

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