Outdoor Recreation

Gateway to the Great Outdoors

Nestled in the rolling piedmont of southwestern North Carolina and just an hour’s drive from six breathtaking state parks, Cleveland County is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise. Cleveland County residents enjoy connections to the Carolina Thread Trail and easy access to other local trails, including the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail and the City of Shelby Trail, fishing and waterskiing at Moss Lake Park, horseback riding and picnicking at Broad River Greenway, and daytrips to the Blue Ridge Mountains or a quick weekend getaway to one of North Carolina or South Carolina’s beautiful beaches, among other adventures.

Breathtaking States Parks

Cleveland County’s convenient location in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains puts residents within an hour’s drive from six beautiful state parks in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Crowders Mountain State Park, located less than 30 minutes away by car from Shelby, offers rugged terrain and towering cliffs that are perfect for hiking, rock climbing and bouldering, complete with 25-mile views of the surrounding piedmont. Crowders Mountain’s eleven trails provide options for beginner and experienced hikers alike, including the Ridgeline Trail, which links to Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain National Military Park in South Carolina. The park’s nine-acre lake offers choice spots for fishing and canoeing.

South Mountains State Park, located in Connelly Springs just 45 minutes from Shelby, features an 80-foot waterfall, mountain streams and more than 40 miles of trails for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers. The park boasts 20 backpacking campsites at six locations, 33 miles of bridle trails and a 17-mile loop that’s perfect for mountain biking.

Lake James State Park, located an hour north of Shelby in Burke and McDowell Counties, North Carolina, offers a 6,812-acre lake and 25 miles of trails, 15 of which are open to mountain biking.

Across the border in South Carolina is Kings Mountain State Park and Kings Mountain Military Park, offering miles of forested trails, two fishing lakes and one of many national park Revolutionary War sites. Every November, living history demonstrations are held at the park’s replica 1800’s Piedmont farm.

Located an hour south of Shelby, just a few miles from downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, Croft State Park covers more than 7,000 acres terrain. The park offers 20 miles of equestrian trails, 12 miles of biking and hiking trails, and two lakes, one of which is suited for fishing and boating.

Camping, Hiking, Watersports and More

Perfect for camping, picnicking, fishing and more, Cleveland County’s lakes, greenways and hiking trails provide opportunities for outdoor fun for the whole family.

Located in Kings Mountain on the border of Shelby, Moss Lake encompasses more than 2,000 acres, with 57 miles of shoreline and 1,660 acres of water, making it a popular spot for fishing, waterskiing, picnicking and camping. The lake is 50-feet deep on average and offers 10 public boat ramps, serving as an active recreational destination for boaters, water tournaments and fisherman seeking bass and crappie.

Broad River Greenway, located in Boiling Springs, is a 1,500-acre greenway known as a destination for horseback riding, hiking and picnicking. The Broad River, which flows from the Blue Ridge Mountains and empties into the Atlantic tidewaters, provides a safe haven for a variety of animals and plants, and is a perfect place for kayaking and tubing. The Greenway hosts various public events, including 5K and 10K trail races, equestrian runs and wildlife classes for children.

Connections to the Carolina Thread Trail, the Kings Mountain Gateway Trail, the City of Shelby Trail and the First Broad River Trail provide options for everything from a light evening walk to a vigorous climb.

For those chasing the next thrill or just looking to try something new, there is Green River Adventures. Located less than an hour to the west of Shelby, Green River Adventures offers whitewater rafting, waterfall rappelling and other activities guaranteed to get the adrenaline pumping. Just over a mile down the road is The Gorge Zipline, America’s steepest and fastest zipline canopy tour.

Sun and Sand in the Carolinas

North Carolina’s pristine coast is home to 300 miles of barrier island beaches, two national seashores and dozens of picturesque towns, providing endless possibilities for weekend getaways to places like Wilmington and the beaches of the Crystal Coast. Check out the Visit NC website for more information about North Carolina’s Coast and Beaches.

Across the border in South Carolina, you’ll find beaches, resorts, islands and towns, like Hilton Head Island, voted the #1 island in the continental U.S. by readers of Travel + Leisure Magazine, the many beaches of Charleston, SC and those close by like Kiawah Island, the iconic Myrtle Beach and Pawley’s Island, America’s oldest seaside community. Visit the Discover South Carolina website for more information about South Carolina’s beaches.

Largest Shooting Complex in the Southeast

Cleveland County is home to the Foothills Public Shooting Complex, the largest public outdoor shooting complex in the Southeastern United States. The 85-acre campus features a variety of shooting ranges, including those for precision rifle, hand gun, multi-purpose and archery practice. One-on-one classes, corporate events and other programming are available for all skill levels and interests.

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