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Stone Mountain Loop - Stone Mtn. State Park - N.C

Best hike around the granite dome at Stone Mountain State Park south of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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Rating: 4 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 5.2 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  A bedazzling granite bulge forms the centerpiece of Stone Mountain State Park, North Carolina's cousin to the more famous mountain of ... more »

Tips:  Stone Mountain has a few serious dangers -- here's how to avoid them:

* Stay behind the wooden fence at Stone Mountain Falls. People ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Upper Trailhead, Stone Mountain Loop

Restrooms here have running water. There's a soda machine over to one side.

Follow the trail over to the left. It goes back into the woods for about a quarter mile.

2. Trail Junction - left for the falls, right for the mountain

An old stone fireplace stands at the junction with the Stone Mountain Loop Trail.

I recommend turning left here, taking the wooden stairs down to Stone Mountain Falls. A right turn takes a more gentle climb to the top of Stone Mountain, but I much prefer other direction.

3. Stone Mountain Falls - Stay on this side of the fence

Do not be tempted to cross the fence -- the small stream of water seems harmless, but rock that looks dry can actually be very slippery (particularly in North Carolina's high humidity). A slip can get you killed.

4. Base of Stone Mountain Falls

Excellent scrambling opportunities here, just mind your footing.

The creek just down the trail from here offers some fine photographic opportunities.

5. Trail Junction - Middle and Lower Falls Trail

If you want to add some more distance, turn left to check out a couple mildly interesting waterfalls on the Middle and Lower Falls Trail. Otherwise, continue on the Stone Mountain Loop Trail.

6. Stone Mountain rises above the trees

At about 1.75 miles, the first hints of Stone Mountain show up in the trees, which appear to thin just down the trail.

As you walk further, the mountain begins to fill your entire field of view. Benches offer a great place to soak it all in.

7. Hutchinson Homestead

For generations of farmers carved a living from this remote country over a century in this valley below Stone Mountain.

Volunteers often staff the old homestead on weekends. If you're lucky you might stop in when one of the Hutchinsons' descendants is showing people around.

A parking lot nearby has a few lots for disabled visitors. The area... More

8. Turnoff to Stone Mountain Summit

After you leave the Hutchinson Homestead, watch for the trail turn-off over to your right.

The trail climbs steeply, with a few cables to help keep your traction on the way up. Be prepared for many rest stops unless you're in very strong physical condition.

Excellent view of the nearby Blue Ridge Escarpment open up as you climb. Avoid the... More

9. Stone Mountain Summit

At 2,305 feet, the summit offers wonderful views of the nearby mountains.

Don't go too far down the hill -- it's too easy to go farther than you want too.

Follow the orange dots painted on the granite to stay on the trail.

10. Long view of Stone Mountain

The trail descends for awhile before there is this one great break in the trail, offering an excellent side view of the dome's arc.

From here it's just a matter of walking back to the intersection where the old fireplace stands, turning left and heading back to parking lot.