Kings Mountain Gateway Trail is small in size and young in age but this nearby destination offers picnickers several amenities.
From Charlotte, Blowing Rock is about 35 miles. Plan on a 40-minute drive, one way.
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Traveling west on Interstate-85, you’ve likely noticed signs for Crowders Mountain and Kings Mountain state parks and the Kings Mountain National Battleground Park. In late 2009, with support from these parks and many area leaders and businesses, the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail opened.
The initial layout of the park offered more than 2 2/12 miles of developed trials, a good portion of which was handicapped-accessible. It immediately became popular with walkers, joggers and even low-key cyclists. A picnic shelter with grills, bathrooms and fresh water make outings here enjoyable.
The vision for the park was to develop a trial system eventually connecting to trails from the other local parks and also become a part of the ambitious Carolina Thread Trail, which will ultimately link 15 counties in the Carolinas with more than 100 miles of trails.
That work continues and today the Gateway Trail has roughly five miles of trails offering a variety of experiences. The most recent trail addition extends south toward where it will eventually join other trails. When that happens, there will be more than 40 miles of trail accessible from four separate park locations.
While the park has only 60 acres, views from its scenic viewpoints and elevated sections provide panoramic vistas that make it seem much larger. Parts of the trail system are paved, offering access to a wide range of users. Other sections are graveled and used by walkers, joggers and the occasional fat-tire enthusiast.