Stone Mountain State Park straddles Wilkes and Alleghany counties in northwestern North Carolina. The park offers invigorating walks, impressive vistas, and idyllic environs for fishing, horseback riding, picnicking and camping.
Stone Mountain is a little more than 90 miles from Charlotte, about a 13/4-hour drive.
To see and do
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Stone Mountain, a spectacular 600-foot granite dome, is the focal point for the 13,800-plus acre park that bears its name. More than 16 miles of hiking trails meander through the park, including the popular Stone Mountain Loop Trail. Four miles in length, this strenuous trail leads visitors to many of the park’s most interesting features.
Hikers who make the steep 0.75-mile assent to the summit will be rewarded with a hawk’s eye view of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains. A 1.25-mile trail leads from the bald-faced summit to the top of Stone Mountain Falls, where cool water cascades 200 feet down a nearly vertical granite slope. From there, it’s another 2 miles down to the meadows at the base of Stone Mountain and a return to the trailhead. On the opposite side of the meadow, the mile-long, moderate-to-strenuous Cedar Rock Trail leads to the top of a large granite outcrop that provides a wonderful view of Stone Mountain. The less-traveled and more strenuous Black Jack Ridge Trail follows an old roadbed through heavily wooded and secluded areas of the park. In winter, this trail will also reward hikers with spectacular views of Stone Mountain.
A moderately easy trail leads to the Hutchinson homestead at the base of Stone Mountain. (Visitors with disabilities can drive to a special parking area adjacent to the farm.) The homestead includes a log cabin, barn, corn crib, meat house and blacksmith shop. The restored buildings date to the mid-1800s and are representative of the homes and outbuildings built by the farmers who settled this region of North Carolina. Original furnishings are on display in the cabin. Audio stories recall small details about life in the rugged backcountry. More information about 19th century life in the Blue Ridge can be gleaned from the Mountain Culture Exhibit in the park office.
Rock climbing is allowed at Stone Mountain; climbers need a valid permit and must register at the self-registration boxes at the climbing areas.
Tables, grills and shelters are available for picnics. Two handicap-accessible fishing piers are located along East Prong Roaring River. Special regulations are in effect at Stone Mountain through much of the year; those interested in fishing should contact the park office in advance for information and permits.
A 5-mile bridle trail winds along the park’s southern boundary. Horse trailer parking is near the park entrance.
Want to go?
Park admission is free. Hours vary seasonally. Hutchinson Homestead buildings are open Thursday-Sunday, March-October. Homestead grounds open year-round. Details: 336-957-8185; www.ncparks.gov.