Friday, November 19, 2021

Kings Mountain Gateway Trail

What a glorious fall it has been! For weeks now, every time we leave the house, I can't help but declare "look at those leaves!" Have you noticed, too? The colors are brilliant. The autumn hue is golden. Magical, right? It's the perfect backdrop against which to explore.  

Here's a trail you might consider for your next outing. (This one might be good for entertaining family in town for the holidays!)

Check out Kings Mountain Gateway Trail, located about 45 minutes west of Uptown, just past Gastonia. This Carolina Thread Trail segment offers hikers and bikers eight beautiful miles of trails. 

The trail system begins in a gravel lot, which features restroom facilities, a picnic shelter with grills, and a map kiosk.

Just behind the picnic shelter is a short interpretive nature trail for children. From the main trailhead, you have four options, all of which begin along the Rail Trail Loop, a 0.7-mile gravel path built along an old rail bed. 

From the Rail Trail Loop, you can jump on the Plateau Loop (0.8-miles long), a moderate paved incline; Cardio Hill (0.4 miles, one way), a strenuous gravel trail that ends with an overlook of the city and surrounding areas; or the Foote Trail, a rolling gravel trail that ranges from flat to strenuous over 4.5 miles (one way).  Here's a trail map

We enjoyed a stretch of the Foote Trail, which winds its way by an abandoned quarry, through fields and forested areas, and over creeks. We hiked, but would consider taking bikes next time. Both are good options for this destination (though there are some hilly sections on which a beginner mountain biker might need to dismount and push). 

Along the trail, you'll find benches to take a snack break. Of course, a nice thing about such a long out-and-back is that you can go as far or as short as you're up for. 

The Gateway Trail is open dawn to dusk daily. You can check out scheduled events here

Another fun fact: Kings Mountain Gateway Trail is minutes from Hounds Drive-In Theater (the trail runs directly behind a couple of the screens!). It's also about a half mile south of downtown Kings Mountain. Either/both might make for a nice combo outing if you're looking to entertain for the day.  

One day, this portion of the Carolina Thread Trail will connect the City of Kings Mountain, Crowders Mountain State ParkKings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park. For now, it's a nice standalone option for a hike or a ride. 

How to get there: 
The Kings Mountain Gateway Trailhead parking lot is located at 807 S. Battleground Ave., Kings Mountain, NC, 28086. 

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