Strenuous 4.5 mile hike with 700' elevation gain. Great views from a large granite outcrop. 200' waterfall.

This is a strenuous 4.5 mile hike beginning from the Lower Parking Lot in Stone Mountain State Park (for a 5.2 mile hike, begin at the Upper Parking Lot). From the lot, take the trail by the bathroom. Keep right at the first trail intersection, then left at the second trail intersection to stay on the orange circle-blazed trail. You'll soon pass the Hutchinson Family Homestead, over a century old, which you can explore. Continue following the trail which parallels a stream and has 5 bridge crossings (can also be rock-hopped). Keep left of the trail at the Lower/Middle Falls intersection. From here the trail will climb quickly via steps to the 200' Stone Mountain Falls. People splash around at the base during summer, but do not attempt to walk on onto the top-people have died here.

Continue up the stairs (there's at least 500) for a very steep climb to the spur to the Upper Parking Lot beside the large old chimney and keep left to follow the loop trail. The trail keeps climbing via multiple switchbacks, but you'll soon emerge on the summit of Stone Mountain (elev. 2,305'), which has great 270 degree views in the S/SE/SW directions. Explore the rocky summit and find a perch for lunch, but don't get too close to the cliff face-people have died here too.

To finish the loop, follow the trail down another 300 or so stairs and switchback through the forest. Turn right at the final intersection to return to the Lower Trailhead Parking Lot. After your hike, head to Stone Mountain Country Store just outside of the state park for some delicious food and hand-dipped ice cream.

For a longer hike (6.5 miles), this trail can also be combined with the Wolf Rock and Cedar Rock Trails.

Pack List

  • Water
  • Camera
  • Food/Snacks
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Activities Photography, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Swimming Hole

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Pretty good evening hike!

The view at the summit is very beautiful. I recommend taking the loop versus other trail because you see some unexpected sights and more views. The waterfall was not that impressive though but it’s a peaceful place to stop.

An excellent and challenging hike

This is indeed a strenuous hike that put me up to the test, however I found it to be quite rewarding and even while I was being put the test I was having fun.

stone mountain is home to me

my favorite park in NC by far. the park is huge and I've been there dozens of times, but each time I find a new trail. never ending beauty and exploration.


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