Crowders Mountain State Park (N.C.) to Kings Mountain State Park (S.C.)

Nothing like walking into work Monday morning and being able to boast, “Yep, did an epic hike this weekend — a two-stater.”

Which is what you can do with the Ridgeline Trail, linking North Carolina’s Crowders Mountain State Park with Kings Mountain State Park across the line in South Carolina. Upon its opening in 2009 this 12-mile trail linked 15,000 acres of parkland, taking in everything from rocky aerie (Kings Pinnacle in North Carolina) to bottomland forest (almost immediately after crossing the state line into South Carolina).

Starting from the Visitor Center at Crowders Mountain the trail soon encounters a short spur up to 1,705-foot Kings Pinnacle. Rocky crags and stunted pines top this exposed ridge, which offers nice views and a sense of being somewhere farther north and west.

Back on the main trail you’ll enjoy sustained climbs and descents through Piedmont hardwood forest. This lovely ramble is interrupted three times by paved roads; pay close attention at each crossing. Shortly before crossing into South Carolina you’ll encounter Buzzard’s Roost at the Boulders Access Area. This area dedicated to bouldering — rock climbing without ropes — is testament to the rocky terrain you’ll encounter.

That is, until you cross into South Carolina and the remaining trail is an easy passage through a more bottomland forest. Campgrounds about a mile in and at the end, at Kings Mountain, provide the chance to turn this into more than a long day trip.

More info: Crowders Mountain State Park

Maps: Downloadable here, also available at trailheads.

Getting there from downtown Charlotte
Difficulty: strenuous
Distance: 45 minutes from downtown Charlotte
Time to complete: 6 hours to 2 days
Address: 522 Park Office Lane
City: Kings Mountain
State: N.C.
Zip: 28086
Latitude: 35.2133
Longitude: 81.2935