Efficient Admin (aka Michelle) has been hiking for eight years on the wonderful mountain trails of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Stone Mountain State Park - Roaring Gap, North Carolina
Stone Mountain State Park, North Carolina
Stone Mountain State Park is located in Roaring Gap, NC and covers 13,747 acres. It is located within 30 miles of other state parks such as Elk Knob State Park, Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia, Mount Jefferson State Natural Area, New River State Park, and Pilot Mountain State Park. This mountain has much exposed granite and rises over 600 feet. The elevation is 2,305 feet above sea level and is known for its bare granite sides and can be seen for miles. It offers some of the best rock climbing in North Carolina and was designated a National Natural Landmark in May 1974. Mid to late October is a great time to visit if you wish to see the leaves changing. In the park office, there is an exhibit showing how the early settlers to the area provided food, clothing, and shelter for their families.
When you are finished hiking and exploring Stone Mountain State Park, you will see a log cabin with a large parking lot on your way out on the left hand side of the road where you can buy local goods, ice creams, hamburgers and hot dogs. If you want to check out a really good sit-down restaurant nearby, https://www.pirateslanding-nc.com/ does not disappoint.
Stone Mountain Offers Campgrounds
Stone Mountain Loop Trail
Stone Mountain offers approximately 16 miles of trails to hike on, and more than 20 miles of trout fishing is available. The Stone Mountain Loop Trail is very strenuous during the first 0.75 mile because it is nothing but stairs going straight up. This mountain kicked my butt. I was sore for six (6) days after doing this trail. Fortunately for those who wish to rest on the way up, there is at least one bench you can sit to rest on. Thank you State of North Carolina! If you hike the entire Stone Mountain Loop Trail, the mileage is 4.3. It is a really good workout and may feel like 6 miles! You can also start this hike at the Upper parking lot and once on that trail turn right at the old stone chimney. You will hike up incline on switchbacks to get to the very top of the summit, and then come down all those wooden and stone stairs. I find this to be easier than hiking up the summit from the lower parking lot.
From the Lower Trailhead Parking lot, the first 0.75 mile is nothing but stone and wood stairs to get to the top. Great workout!
Getting to the Top Is Worth the View
Once you get to the top the view is worth it. Stone Mountain is situated next to the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Thurmond Chatham Game Lands. The forests of Stone Mountain include chestnut oak, scarlet and black oak, red maple, hickory, white pine and dogwood. Plants include blueberry, rhododendron, and mountain laurel. On some of the exposed granite you can find lichens, mosses and small ferns growing. Species of birds that live here include scarlet tanager, whippoorwill, ruffed goose, turkey and pileated woodpecker. Other animals found here include box turtles, gray and red foxes, bobcats, raccoons and white-tailed deer.
Views From the Top of Stone Mountain
I sat at the base of this waterfall and hit the record button. Join me to sit and listen to the waterfall at Stone Mountain.
Caution Around the Waterfalls
If you park at the Upper parking lot and get on the trail, turn left at the old stone chimney and this route will take you down the Stone Mountain Loop trail on approximately 360 wooden stairs to view the awesome waterfall. There are severe dangers around the waterfall and caution should be practiced. Stay behind the wooden fences around the waterfalls. People have tried to get to close to the falls, lost their footing and fell to their deaths. Enjoy the view but use extreme caution. Once you see the waterfall you continue along the trail towards the Hutchinson ruins.
Trekking Poles May Come in Handy at Stone Mountain
Around the Waterfall on the Stone Mountain Loop Trail; All Stairs go Downwards at This Point.
Near the end of the Stone Mountain Loop trail you will come to the old Hutchinson family homestead on the right hand side of the trail. They were farmers who carved out a living in this remote part of the country over a century ago and the buildings are still there at the base of Stone Mountain. Volunteers often staff the homestead on the weekends. Sometimes a descendant of the Hutchinson family may show people around. The property consists of a log cabin, barn, blacksmith shop, corn crib, meat house, and original furnishings. It was restored in 1998 and is representative of the lives of those who lived there long ago. The buildings are open to visitors Thursday through Sunday from March – October, and the grounds are open year round.
Photos of the historic Hutchinson Homestead Ruins
At the Base of Stone Mountain in the Area of the Hutchinson Homestead.
Other Useful Links
- Greenways in Charlotte
McAlpine Creek, McMullen Creek and Four Mile Creek Greenways are one of the many beautiful wetland nature trails that Charlotteans have access to. Even though it has 3 different names, it is the same greenway.
- N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation: - Welcome to Stone Mountain State Park
Stone Mountain is not immediately visible upon entering the park that bears its name, but this magnificent 600-foot granite dome is well worth the wait.
Other scenes along the Stone Mountain Loop Trail
Other Interesting Places
- McDowell Nature Preserve Charlotte NC
McDowell Nature Preserve is the perfect place to “get away from it all” even though you are still in the city. This preserve offers camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and a nature center to enjoy all year long in a peaceful and natural setting.
- Hiking at South Mountains State Park -- Connelly Springs, NC
South Mountains has an elevation up to 3,000 feet and is a great way to escape the city and really get back to nature. There is an 80 foot waterfall and 45 miles of trails to enjoy.
- Dupont State Forest Park - Cedar Mountain, NC
Dupont State Forest is a 10,000+ acre tract located near Hendersonville, NC. This forest was used to shoot the box office hit “The Hunger Games” and also scenes from “The Last of the Mohicans”.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2012 Michelle Dee
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on September 24, 2012:
Glimmer, thanks. Chimney Rock is an awesome place and yes those stairs are a killer and of course the air is much thinner at that elevation. Thanks for your comments and for reading.
Claudia Porter on September 24, 2012:
Gorgeous Photos and nice place. We were down in Chimney Rock this past summer and the stairs were killer (in a good and bad way!). :)
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on September 23, 2012:
Hi Mhatter, you're welcome and I'm glad you enjoyed! It was a bit humid that day but it was nice and sunny and the sky was blue.
Martin Kloess from San Francisco on September 22, 2012:
Thank you for the tour and awesome pictures.
Michelle Dee (author) from Charlotte, NC on September 22, 2012:
Thanks Bill. This was a great hike even though the first 0.75 was brutal!!! I had to stop every 2 minutes to catch my breath but had a lot of fun trekking this mountain. Thanks for reading.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on September 22, 2012:
That is one big rock!!!! Love the pictures....the Homestead is beautiful...what a great place to visit. Thank you for the tour; I'll have to go there the next time I'm in the area....great hub!