Kings Mountain is a city rich with resources, yet some are not easily accessible to the public. Our Gateway Trail will provide a connection from Downtown Kings Mountain to City Lake, Davidson Lake, on to Crowder’s Mountain State Park, Kings Mountain State Park, and Kings Mountain Military Park. This greenway is a public-private partnership between Cleveland County and Kings Mountain Gateway Trails. Inc, a non-profit 501c3 created to manage this facility. We have received grants from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, Carolina Thread Trail, National Recreational Trails, Golden Leaf Foundation, NC Adopt-A-Trail, Bikes Belong, and Kate B Reynolds Charitable Trust.
We have also utilized another unique asset to connect these resources, our mining history. The greenway offers tranquil views skirting the rim of an inactive quarry, following old mining roads. Albemarle Lithium Corporation is a key corporate partner, donating easements over 85 acres and providing access across I-85. The trailhead was provided by Martin-Marietta, Inc. and features parking, restrooms, office, kiosk, picnic tables, picnic shelter. Without this corporate support our dream could not have become a reality. Scouts & Senior Projects have added an America Flag pole and flag, slate walkways, a nature trail, directional signs, mile markers, benches, butterfly garden, and a beautiful overlook on the Cardio trail.
In 2001 a trail committee of local volunteers headed by Shirley Brutko worked with the National Park Service, Cleveland County, the City of Kings Mountain, & the state of North Carolina and were able to open the Trail with a ribbon cutting in 2009.
The Kings Mountain Gateway Trail will be a unique connection to area Parks, the Overmountain Victory Trail and eventually, the Appalachian Trail. In addition, our trail in now a part of the Carolina Thread Trail system, Rails to Trails for North Carolina, and a National Recreational Trail Site for the United States. This trail system is planned to connect to 15 counties and over 2.3 million citizens.
In October 2016 Duke Energy, the corporate sponsor for the garden, the trail committee, and volunteers planted a 5,000 square foot butterfly garden on top of the Plateau. Duke Energy gave a very generous grant, and also supplied volunteers to help this project materialize. In 2018 Albemarle Lithium added a very large butterfly garden near the existing Duke Energy garden. A 1 acre overflow parking lot across the street from the trailhead was completed in 2018 by the City of Kings Mountain, land donated by Concrete Supply Company.
Currently, Dennis Patterson and the trail committee continue to oversee the project. Vicki Strine has contributed to the development of the gardens. Lots of wildflowers along with Milkweed hopefully will attract Monarch and other butterflies and pollinators in the Spring each year. A beautiful rock lined path runs through the middle of the garden. By all means, visit the area in the spring and bring your camera. Kings Mountain is on the Monarch Butterfly Highway that runs from Mexico and goes north & then returns south.