It might be famous for the important Revolutionary War battle fought on its namesake summit, but Kings Mountain is more than just a historical landmark. It's a prime hiking venue in the shadow of the eastern foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Together, Kings Mountain National Military Park and Kings Mountain State Park offer a half dozen trails through more than 10,000 acres of stunning Piedmont terrain. Hiking options include everything from an easy .7-mile nature walk to the signature Kings Mountain Trail, a taxing 16-mile trek that takes you through both the military and state parks.
A National Recreation Trail, the Kings Mountain loop winds through hardwood forest, up and down gently rolling hills, past granite outcroppings and along a stream toward the historic battlefield. Three trailside campsites are located along the route for those who prefer to break up the trek into two hikes.
The state park also features the out-and-back Ridgeline Trail that runs 1.8 miles to North Carolina's Crowders Mountain State Park and the 1.5-mile Historic Farm Trail, a leisurely walk through a replica of a 19th-century yeoman farmstead. Along the way, you'll have the chance to see a two-story farmhouse, barn, smokehouse, blacksmith shop and cotton gin.
The national military park offers several more hiking choices. Clarks Creek Trail starts off with a pretty walk along the banks of the creek and then climbs into a mixed hardwood forest, weaving its way to Kings Mountain State Park's Lake Crawford, a 13-acre lake built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression. Up and back, it's a six-mile hike.
Browns Mountain Trail leads to the highest of three monadnocks in the military park. Although it's just 1,035 feet above sea level, Browns Mountain juts above the surrounding flatland, offering a nice view from the summit. This one's also an out-and-back trail totaling five miles both ways.