My first solo hike was at Stone Mountain on Sunday 10/24/2021. It was a beautiful day with mild temperatures. I drove to the park and stopped at the visitor center to inquire with the ranger about which trails are most picturesque. I then proceeded to park at the lower parking lot. I hiked half of the Stone Mountain Loop Trail until I reached the 200ft Stone Mountain Waterfall. After lingering there for a few minutes, I hiked to Middle Fall and Lower Fall before circling back to Cedar Rock Trail. This section was uphill. I was short of breath by the time I reached the magnificent Cedar Rock overlook. At the sight of the mountain, I quickly forgot how tired I was. My uphill hike was so worth it! I ate lunch admiring the dome then I reluctantly got up to continue my trek across Wolf Rock Trail where another gorgeous overlook awaited.
By the time I made it back to the lower parking lot, I had completed 7.3 of the 28 miles of trails the park avails. Stone Mountain State park covers 14,100 acres in Roaring Gap, NC . It was established in 1969. The outcropping is a beautiful 600ft granite dome. Based on the park’s brochure “Stone Mountain is part of a 25-mile pluton, an igneous rock formed beneath the earth’s surface by molten lava. Over time, wind, water and other forces gradually eroded softer layers of rock atop the granite block and exposed the outcrop we see today”.
The dome is not the only attraction in the park, the Hutchinson homestead and Garden Creek Baptist Church are worth a stop. The homestead was built by John and Cidney Jane Hutchinson. They lived off the land in the shadow of Stone Mountain with their eight children and grandchildren. I wandered through the various buildings reading the signs and learning about their life. The church was built in 1897. Services are still conducted on certain Sundays.
Stone Mountain State park is popular for hiking, rock climbing, fishing, picnicking. Make sure you check its web site before visiting. Weekends are very busy, the park closes to new visitors once parking is full so get there early.
Trails and outcropping