Morrow Mountain State Park is a relatively quick ride to the top. In addition to the stunning views that are just a short drive away, there are 15 miles of hiking you can enjoy. Crowders Mountain State Park is something of a hiking spot in the Charlotte region for good reason. The park is about an hour west of Charlotte, in Gaston County, near Interstate 85, and has real mountains in the metropolitan area.
The park has two small peaks (Crowders Mountain, about 1600 feet, and The Pinnacle, about 1700). It has a variety of trails, including one that links to Kings Mountain State Park in South Carolina if you’re feeling ambitious. It is most famous for the Backside Trail, a difficult route that climbs from the parking lot to the top of Crowders Mountain, which is full of protruding rocks and offers a view of uptown Charlotte, which is often photographed. Stone Mountain State Park (not to be confused with the one near Atlanta) is about an hour and a half north of Charlotte.
Fortunately, *we* don’t have to have favorites, as the publishers of Travel %26 Leisure magazine did when they named Chimney Rock State Park North Carolina’s superlative state park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a protected area located in the eastern region of the United States, which extends on both sides of the border between Tennessee and North Carolina. When you think of Charlotte, nature might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but there are four beautiful state parks within an hour’s drive of North Carolina’s largest city. In South Carolina, Anne Springs Close Greenway is a short drive from Charlotte and closer to the city than many of the most popular hiking trails on the North Carolina side.
Located along the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Clingman’s Dome is the highest point in the Smoky Mountains National Park, and walking to this peak is an unparalleled experience that cannot be missing from every outdoor lover’s wish list. Of course, Great Smoky Mountains is North Carolina’s best-known national park, and within this beautiful expanse, there’s an adventure that can’t be missing from every North Carolinian’s bucket list. While several states in the United States have natural wonders called chimney rock (Nebraska, Minnesota and Kentucky, to name just a few), the 315-foot natural chimney rock in Chimney Rock State Park is totally unique to North Carolina.