Stone Mountain State Park Is Perfect for Hikers and Nature Lovers

Published Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 4:01 pm

Hiking to Stone Mountain’s summit on the Loop Trail from the Upper Parking Lot gives hikers a beautiful view of the surrounding area. Photo Credit: Hailey Blevins

The beginning of the trail from the Lower Parking Lot leads to three trails near its beginning and leads to more trails further along. Photo Credit: Hailey Blevins

By Hailey Blevins

Locals of Wilkes County know that Stone Mountain is the perfect place to go in the summer for an outdoor adventure that’s not too far from home. Open every day of the year except Christmas day, the park usually gets around 450,000 visitors during each year. Wildlife can be seen often, especially deer, when riding through the park. Visitors are discouraged from feeding and approaching wildlife. Many visitors come to Stone Mountain just to ride through during the evenings for a chance to see the deer.

Visiting the Stone Mountain Waterfall is well worth the hike up or down the stairs, depending on which parking lot you park in. Photo Credit: Hailey Blevins

There is plenty for visitors to see and do at Stone Mountain, making it the perfect place for a day trip. Visitors at Stone Mountain can hike to their heart’s content, enjoying waterfalls and creeks as they explore the many trails. Hikers can also access the Mountains-to-Sea State trail at Stone Mountain. The most popular trail is the Stone Mountain Loop Trail, which is about 4.3 miles long. Hiking up this trail gives hikers a beautiful view of the mountains. The Loop Trail was down for repairs on the stairs, but Park Ranger Jason Penshorn says, “we expect that now that those are back up and everything is running we will increase in visitation.” There are also trails for horse riders.

The side view of Stone Mountain’s Summit presents an adrenaline rushing, high climb for rock climbers. Photo Credit: Hailey Blevins

Interested daredevils can rock climb on the Summit’s side near the homestead. This summit’s elevation is 2,305 feet. To climb, all climbers must register and possess a valid permit. Participants are responsible for their own personal safety and beginners should never climb alone. Climbers should also make sure they’re climbing in designated areas and shouldn’t start within three hours before the park closes.

The Hutchinson Homestead has several buildings to read about on the signs located in front of them. Photo Credit: Hailey Blevins

One thing that makes Stone Mountain State park unique from other State Parks is its Hutchinson Homestead. To get to the homestead, park in the lower parking lot. From there, visitors can follow the road up for a quick trip or follow a short trail there, following the trail signs. Be sure to read the plaques around the homestead for more information about each building. Each Saturday and Sunday, Hutchinson Homestead’s buildings are opened to the public. For a longer hike and a view of the falls, the Hutchison Homestead can also be reached from up the upper parking lot by taking the Loop Trail.

If you’re coming from the Traphill Rd entrance of Stone Mountain, this swimming spot is located on the dirt road on the left side. Be careful or you’ll miss it! Photo Credit: Hailey Blevins

Just off the road through Stone Mountain, visitors have access to several creeks, many of which are perfect for swimming. One popular swimming spot can be found by pulling off at Widows Creek Falls. From parking, swimmers can walk a short distance to a natural rock water slide with sections appropriate for both smaller and older children. Several creeks aren’t good swimming spots, but are, however, great fishing spots. To fish, visitors must carry a North Carolina Fishing Permit. Be sure to check that you’re in season if you want to keep the fish you catch.  

Want to stay a bit longer? Book a camping site for your tent or camper and stay a few more days! Stone Mountain State Park now has a system that allows campers access in and out of the park after the gates close without having to call a ranger to be let in. Even those who don’t like camping or don’t have their camping supplies with them can still stick around for an extra day or two by staying at The Holbrook House, a bed and breakfast located just a short distance from Stone Mountain’s entrance.

The Country Store is located before the park gates. Photo Credit: Hailey Blevins

There are several trails to choose from at the Lower Parking Lot entrance. Photo Credit: Hailey Blevins

After visiting Stone Mountain, visiting the Country Store is a must, as all locals already know. The Country Store is the perfect place to stop and cool down after enjoying a day at Stone Mountain. Visitors can sit inside or on the porch and enjoy their choice of ice-cream. The Country Store also offers a small menu of food items for those looking for a quick lunch.

Be sure to check their website for information about events going on this summer. With summer not far ahead, visitors, especially hikers and campers, should stay vigilant and watch for snakes on the trails. Hiking with a buddy is always recommended to hikers for safety no matter where they’re going. Check the maps located around the park and choose any trail for a beautiful summer adventure. Check out the Visitor’s Center for more information on Stone Mountain State Park.

Finding pieces from the past like this chimney located on the trail from the Upper Parking Lot to Stone Mountain Falls is half the fun of hiking at Stone Mountain. Photo Credit: Hailey Blevins

 

 

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