Charlotte, NC: Browns Mountain, Kings Mountain National Military Park

Climb Browns Mountain, hike a narrated battlefield trail, watch a reenacted revolutionary war encampment, see war muskets—Kings Mountain has it all!
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Climb Browns Mountain, hike a narrated battlefield trail, watch a reenacted revolutionary war encampment, see war muskets—Kings Mountain has it all!

Climb a peak, hike a narrated battlefield trail, watch a reenacted Revolutionary War encampment, see actual war muskets—Kings Mountain has it all. One of the great things about hiking in the South is the rich national history surrounding many of the parks, including Kings Mountain National Military Park, which preserves a Revolutionary War battle site. For a sampler, trek to Browns Mountain before exploring the museum. BY MATT CLAPP

Trip Stats
Distance: 5 miles
Time: 2.5 hrs
Distance from Uptown: 40 minutes
More Info: (864) 936-7921; http://www.nps.gov/kimo/planyourvisit/naturethingstodo.htm

Prepare
1. Type "Kings Mountain National Military Park" into Google Maps (the Visitor Center is a mile or two up the road from where this takes you—just keep driving and you'll see it)
2. BONUS: Call in advance to find out when the next monthly "revolutionary encampment" (actors dressed in costume) is being staged and time your visit for then.
3. REQUIRED: You must check in at the Visitor Center before starting your hike. While you're there, pick up a free map.
4. OPTIONAL: Bring a Snickers.

Explore
Mile 0.0: Leave the Visitor Center, following the sign marked Hiking Trail to the left.
0.1: After a few hundred feet, when the asphalt trail turns left to the Battlefield Trail, continue straight, onto a dirt trail, passing the signs for Victory Garden and a map on your right. 100 feet later veer left at the tree with the blue blaze. (Finding the start is the trickiest part of the whole trail. If you get this on your first try, you're golden!)
0.2: Reach a fork for Browns Mountain and Ridgeline Trail. Go left to Browns Mountain.
0.7: Trail splits. Stay left, following the signs with blue tape.
1.0: Cross over SC 216 and continue up the trail still following the blue blazes.
1.6: Cross a small footbridge over a creek. Stop to feel to the wind blow across your face and listen to the leaves rustle.
1.8: Cross another footbridge over a creek. Stop and listen to the stream gurgle and flow. Several hundred feet later, pause on the next footbridge to listen to the birds chirping.
2.0: Practice your steeplechase skills over the fallen trees on the trail (unless they've been removed).
2.15: At the fork in the trail, go right, uphill towards the summit of Browns Mountain.
2.5: Reach the summit. Relax on the bench. Enjoy the view. Eat your Snickers bar. Contemplate the meaning of life. Then turn around and head back down the way you came.
2.85: Turn left at the thin brown sign for the Visitor Center.
3.9: Cross back over the road.
4.75: At the T junction, turn right to the Visitor Center.
5.0: Arrive at the Visitor Center.

Reward
1. At the Visitor Center, check out the fun collection of revolutionary cookbooks on sale.
2. Explore the museum and its excellent collection of revolutionary rifles, pistols, and muskets. Keep an eye out for the wooden canteen and imagine using that instead of your Nalgene bottle! Watch the 26-minute film "Battle for Kings Mountain" produced by the History Channel (runs every 45 mins) in their surprisingly large in-house theater.
3. If you have an extra hour to spare, walk the 1.5 mile self-guided Battlefield Trail. It has a dozen information points that you can dial into from your cell phone to listen to.
4. Drive 20 mins to grab a bite at Bailey's Fish Camp (6:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Tues-Sat).

The Day
Temp: 46F, partly sunny
Water: 12 oz.
Song: Ramblin' Man by Ruthie Collins—"When the Lord made me, he made a ramblin' man..."
Drink: Hot chocolate with whipped cream

Trail Facts

  • State: NC
  • City: Charlotte
  • Distance: 0.0
  • Contact: http://www.nps.gov/kimo/planyourvisit/naturethingstodo.htm; 864-936-7921
  • Land Type: National Park