Crowders Mountain State Park

The weather this weekend was so nice here in Charlotte, great to get outdoors. Saturday I decided to go to Crowders Mountain State Park in Gaston County, North Carolina (about 45 minutes down I-85). I had heard Dr. Pillar mention it in class a couple times, and I have live in Charlotte my whole life and never been there so I decied to check it out.

First, a little background on Crowders Mountain. It has the highest peak in the surrounding area measuring 1625 feet above sea level. This mountain was formed about 500 million years ago and was once taller then the Alpes. Whats left of this mountain can tell us a story. We know that the rocks left behind due to weathering were made of kyonite-quartzite, a very strong rock that is very resistant to weathering. This weathering over hundreds of millions of years caused Crowders Mountain to be called a “monadnock, which is an isolated hill or mountain of weathering resistant rock (http://www.learnnc.org/lp/multimedia/7913).”  That is what you see if you are driving past it on I-85. The rock outcrop at the very top is called Kings Pinnacle. I believed it is named this because it looks like a kings crown. Thats where we decided to hike to.

Back to the hike. Once we got there we decided that we wanted to take the more strenuous hike to Kings Pinnacle and it took us about 1 hour to get to the top. On the way up there the terrane began to change dramatically. The first about half a mile of the trail is a little flat with a gradual incline. After that you begin to increase the steepness of the terrane as well as the over all ruggedness of the trail. While on the way to the top I saw many sandstones and shales that had been weathered away from the mountain. They had been severely oxidized and were mostly red and dark purple. Once you get to the top of the tail there is a sign that say that the rain end, and looking around and seeing not much i was a little dissapointed, but if you do a little bit of expert climbing you can make it to the top of Kings Pinnacle which has a beautiful view.

While at the summit I took a sample of the kyanite-quartzite to see what it looked liked. The outside had some moss on it and it was dark due to the weathering, but the inside was a pinkish purple with some mica. After playing geologist we decided to head back down the trail. The only drawback if any way that going on a Saturday, it was really busy and you dont realyy get the effect of being out in the wilderness, but still a great hike a well worth the trip.

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4 Responses to Crowders Mountain State Park

  1. Yay for biophilia!
    I love going hiking but last time I went, I went with someone who was severely afraid of heights- whoops.
    I’d heard this place mentioned in class but for some reason assumed it was much farther away. I didn’t think that we had any summits nearby. I lived in Winston-Salem for a couple years and frequently went to Pilot Mountain, which is the same way. It’s a mountain surrounded by vast flatness.

  2. alexmckinzie says:

    This was very interseting and fun post. I was going to go visit Crowders Mnt. with the outdoor club this semester but I guess it conflicted with something cause I wasn’t able to go. I really want to visit this place I love going outdoor things and doing adventureous things. There is a place that is near me in Texas that is similar to this but it is made completely of granite and it is just a huge dome that you can climb on. Supposedly due to the magnetic fields of the rock it has healing powers, so a lot people just go out there and lay on the rock. And there aer a lot of caves too! Hopefully we can make a trip out to this place sounds like a lot of fun!

  3. emilyhartman says:

    This does sound like an awesome place to go, and the view looks amazing. I think its interesting that alex said people think the rocks have healing powers. Too bad that it was really busy, I love the feeling of just being alone in nature…well at least not surrounded by crowds of people. The rocks that you were look also sounded beautiful.

  4. amynoelsmith says:

    This sounds like a lot of fun! I’d really like to go up there. Hey, Dr. P., field trip? My perspective of certain outdoor locations has completely changed now. Everytime I look at the ground, a mountain, or outdoorsy landmark I think more scientifically. I wonder how old is the soil? What kind of horizons make it up? Crowders Mountain sounds fun and educational. Maybe we all can go up there and get healed on the “powerful rocks”.

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