This trail is steep and slippery, so it may not be for every runner.
Parking for Kings Mountain is right off of Highway 6 in a well-signed, paved lot with room for over 10 cars. There is an outhouse at the trailhead and information on the trail and rules at the beginning of the trail.
The trail ascends slightly and comes to an intersection in a few hundred feet with Wilson River Trail
, which can be used to make a full loop with the Elk Mountain Trail
. After this, the trail will climb steadily through lush forest with a fern floor. This part is on fairly good footing compared to the next part of the trail.
After about a mile, the trail gets steeper and the footing gets looser. Be mindful of your footing! The trail has gotten fairly wide in parts as runners search for better traction. At about 1.2 miles, you'll come to what looks to be an intersection, but the route to the left appears to be an informal - but frequently used - shortcut that's steeper than the main route straight ahead.
At just over 1.5 miles, you'll gain the main ridge up to the summit. The trail designers opted to not use any switchbacks at all, so expect it to get even steeper and looser from here to the top. In total, you're going to do about 2,500 feet in 2.25 miles.
There is a sign with the name of the mountain and its elevation at the summit, along with a box containing a registry. Most runners do this as an out-and-back from here, but you can continue onward to make a loop with Elk Mountain Trail
and Wilson River Trail
of about 10 miles.
After the summit the trail descends very steeply before descending even more steeply to avoid the rocky spires along part of the ridge. When you begin to ascend back up, there is a rope to help (in good condition in 2019). Be mindful that this section has some exposure and is the most technical part of the trail. After you get back onto the ridge, the trail suddenly becomes easy: it's old forest road from here to the intersection with Elk Mountain Trail