Hiking Stone Mountain State Park – Roaring Gap NC

by | Nov 7, 2020

In mine and Joan’s RV travels, I’m the kiker out of the bunch. On this stunning October morning, I had two gifts – the opportunity to hike Stone Mountain State Park located in Roaring Gap, NC and our son Joel came up for a few days to enjoy the vineyards and of course this great state park.

The state park and surrounding hiking trails are located a short drive from our stay at Byrd’s Branch Campground. The drive from the campground took us along a gentle winding road and rolling farms all wrapped in the fall leaves that make this time of year in North Carolina so special. With the opportunity of a selection of 18 trails, we chose the Stone Mountain Loop trail, also known as the orange trail that would take us to the top of the mountain. Studying the trail map, we instantly knew this was going to be a great day

Stone Mountain State Park

Many who travel and hear of Stone Mountain think of the park located on the edge of downtown Atlanta. I’ve had the fortunate experience the hike up the back side this mountain, surrounded by the entertainment and nature options that are the center of this park. (View the blog here.) But this Stone Mountain State Park located in the flowing foothills of North Carolina is a totally different experience.

Stone Mountain State Park immerses you in a nature environment that covers rolling hills, rocky creeks and a huge waterfall. Any one of these features along a hike is a plus, but the payoff for Joel and me was the incredible visual experience reaching the top of this 600-foot rock face of the massive granite dome that centers on the name Stone Mountain.

Trail To The Top Of The Mountain

Stone Mountain State Park Trail MapThere are two ascents to choose from to reach the top of the mountain. We chose the Upper Trailhead offering a less steep climb to the top. This was a simple decision to burn the least amount of calories for the climb and leave the steps on the downward descent (or so we thought).

As we neared the top of elevation, we were treated to several side views on the edge of the granite face with stunning views of the valleys and surrounding mountain range. Reaching the top after a brisk hike, we reached the 2,305-foot mountain summit. It’s hard to put into words the breathtaking views experienced on this clear October day. The layers of mountains, dips into the valleys and changing fall colors all topped with a large broad-winged hawk riding the thermals adding to this amazing show of nature.

In the video below, we attempted to present the summit with the widest camera lens possible. It’s impossible to capture on a lens what we were able to experience with the naked eye. Simply amazing.

Leaving the summit we started the descent. It’s steep and full of steps. There are sections of granite flows to ease down as we worked our way into the valley at the base of the mountain. We felt it in the knees and calves, but taking our time allowed us to enjoy the sites along the way.

The Hutchinson Homestead

Along with the trails, mountain and streams, there’s history to be found in the park too. At the base of the mountain we arrived at the Hutchinson Homestead. The homestead dates back to the mid 1800’s where now you can walk around the log cabin, barn, blacksmith shop, corncrib, and other buildings. Signs are located throughout the homestead explaining the buildings and life of these early settlers of this region.

The Waterfall

Leaving the Hutchinson Homestead, we continued along the trail to the waterfall. This too was a beautiful walk along a gurgling creek that is wrapped with mountain laurel and trees that were full of fall’s colors. Arriving at the base of the waterfall, again we were treated with a 200-foot drop with the large pool at the base. One point I need to make. The trip from to falls to the top of the trail is extremely steep and very strenuous with over 500 steps.

A Great Hike

This 6 mile hike along the Stone Mountain Loop trail made a perfect day. Beautiful trails, amazing views, and a treat to spend this special time with my son, Joel. Just perfect.

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