STONE MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
Stone Mountain is not immediately visible upon entering the park that bears its name, but this magnificent 600-foot granite dome is well worth the wait. Sunlight and shadows dance across a broad tapestry of stone. White-tailed deer emerge from the security of the forest to graze on meadow grasses at the mountain's base. The scenery is only one attraction of the park.
Test your fly-fishing techniques in more than 17 miles of designated trout waters. Or, with more than 16 miles of trails, take a hike in the park. Designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1975, Stone Mountain is bounded on the north by the Blue Ridge Parkway and on the west by the Thurmond Chatham Game Lands. More than 13,747 acres of mountain beauty offer opportunities for outdoor activities of all kinds.
Located on more than 13,500 acres in Wilkes and Alleghany counties, Stone Mountain State Park offers cascading waterfalls and cool mountain streams, quiet forests abundant with wildlife, scenic hiking trails and a historic mountain homestead.
One of the park's most spectacular features is Stone Mountain, a 600-foot granite dome. This magnificent feature is part of a 25-square-mile pluton, an igneous rock formed beneath the earth's surface by molten lava. Over time, wind, water and other forces gradually eroded the softer layers of rock atop the granite block and exposed the outcrop we see today. Wet weather springs continually carve troughs in the granite as water runs down the mountain's sloping face.
Established in 1969 and designated a National Natural Landmark in 1975, Stone Mountain is bounded by the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Thurmond Chatham Game Lands.
Long before becoming a state park, Stone Mountain was settled by families of English, German, Irish, French and Scotch-Irish descent who built the log homes, farms, mills, churches and schools needed for self-sufficient communities.
Family camping: Just past the park office, a turnoff leads to the family campground where campsites for tents and recreational vehicles are located on two loop roads. Each site has a tent pad, table and grill. Drinking water and a washhouse with hot showers and laundry tubs are located nearby. There are no utility hookups, but a dump station for use by registered RV campers is adjacent to the campground. The campground is open year round.
Select any unoccupied campsite. Park staff will issue a permit at the site. There is a $15 daily fee for camping and a six-person limit per campsite. All sites are available on a first-come basis. Park gates are locked daily at posted closing hours. Campers are not permitted to leave the park after closing or before 8 a.m., except in an emergency. In an emergency situation, go to the pay phone outside the park office where emergency procedures are posted.
Group camping: Four group sites are available for a fee by reservation only. Each site will accommodate 25 people. Each site has a fireplace, grill, tables, water and pit toilets.
Backcountry camping: Six backpack camping sites are located along Widow's Creek. The trailhead leading to the sites is located in the backcountry parking lot. Distance to the sites ranges from 1.5 to 3 miles from the trailhead. All supplies must be packed to the camping area, and minimum impact camping procedures should be followed. Backcountry camping is on a first-come basis by permit only with a maximum of four people per site. Register at the backcountry camping parking lot.
Designated Trout Streams: More than 17 miles of park streams are designated trout waters. Rainbow and brown trout dominate the lower parts of the streams while brook trout inhabit the higher, cooler stretches of water. Garden, Widow's and Big Sandy creeks are Wild Trout Waters where only single hook artificial lures may be used.
The East Prong of Roaring River is a stocked stream and is classified as delayed harvest. For approximately eight months of the year, no trout may be harvested from the river and only single hook artificial flies may be used.
For season dates and regulations for each type of trout water, contact the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC). A valid state fishing license and trout stamp are required for all streams, and regulations of the WRC are enforced throughout the park.
Fish for Fun: Fish just for fun on Bullhead and Rich Mountain creeks. This section is strictly catch and release and is open for fishing year round from 8:30 a.m. until one hour before park closing. Barbless flies and nets are required. A special fishing permit is required for this area and may be purchased at the Bullhead Creek parking area. Permits are issued on a daily basis only.
Accessible Fishing Piers: Two accessible fishing piers are located along the East Prong of Roaring River. Accessible parking spaces are provided at each pier. Intended for use by individuals with mobility impairments, other individuals may use the piers when space is available.
Stone Mountain State Park is located near Elkin, North Wilkesboro
Stone Mountain Loop Trail: This strenuous loop first leads hikers .75 miles to the summit of Stone Mountain then continues 1.25 miles to the top of Stone Mountain Falls. From the falls, the trail leads two miles to the meadow at the base of Stone Mountain and back to the trailhead.
Cedar Rock Trail: Available from both Stone Mountain Loop and Wolf Rock trails, this one-mile trail leads to Cedar Rock, a large granite outcrop allowing views to the south/southeast and an excellent view of Stone Mountain.
Wolf Rock Trail: This 1.5-mile trail is entered from Stone Mountain Loop Trail and provides views of the Blue Ridge Mountain escarpment. The ridges dividing three watersheds?Garden Creek, Widow's Creek and Bullhead Creek?can also be seen from atop Wolf Rock. Signs of old field succession are evident along the trail as it leads through areas which are predominantly pine, then mixed pine-hardwood and finally mature hardwood.
Black Jack Ridge Trail: Available from Cedar Rock and Wolf Rock trails, this 1.5-mile trail follows an old road bed through heavily wooded areas. In the winter, this strenuous hike offers wonderful views of Stone Mountain.
Self-Guided Nature Trail: Beginning at the base of Stone Mountain where the meadow and wooded area meet, this moderate half-mile trail is informative and enjoyable. It travels around the boulder area, across a creek and through a shady section thick with rhododendron and mountain laurel. Information about the park's geology and vegetation is provided along the trail.
Middle Falls/Lower Falls Trail: Available from Stone Mountain Loop Trail, this trail leads hikers a half mile along Big Sandy Creek to Middle Falls and then extends to Lower Falls.
Widow's Creek Trail: This trail is entered from the backcountry parking area. The trail follows Widow's Creek for 2.5 miles to the different backcountry sites and stops. To view Widow's Creek Falls, park just beyond the Widow's Creek bridge and walk a short distance upstream.
Bridle Trail: The five-mile horseback riding trail begins at the horse trailer parking lot and ends at John P. Frank Parkway. All visitors with horses must be able to provide proof of a negative equine infectious anemia (Coggins) test while visiting North Carolina State Parks.
The terrain on the top of Stone Mountain may appear level, but it becomes gradually steeper down slope. Those who wander off the trail risk becoming stranded as the lower sections of the rock are almost vertical. Stay on designated trails and exercise caution as waterfalls and steep, rocky terrain may create hazardous and slippery conditions. Avoid steep, rocky ledges at all times, and exercise extreme caution when rocks are wet.
Rangers hold regularly scheduled educational and interpretive programs about Stone Mountain State Park.
To arrange a special exploration of Stone Mountain State Park for your group or class, contact the park office.
Educational materials about Stone Mountain State Park have been developed for grades 5-8 and are correlated with North Carolina's competency-based curriculum in science, social studies, mathematics and English/language arts. The Stone Mountain program introduces students to basic geologic concepts, focusing on Stone Mountain. Major concepts covered include the rock cycle, geologic time, weathering and erosion, igneous rocks, geologic processes, resource use, and stewardship. Accompanying the program is a teacher's booklet and workshop, free of charge to educators.
Rock climbingClimbing is permitted in designated areas on the cliffs of Stone Mountain. Because of the dangers of rock climbing and rappelling, climbing is not recommended for beginners unless they are accompanied by an experienced climber.
All climbers must register with the park by completing a climbing and rappelling registration and activity permit which is available at the park office. There is no fee for this permit. Prior to activity, a copy of the permit must be deposited in a registration box or given to a park ranger. An additional copy is provided for participants and must be held in their possession while engaged in climbing or rappelling.
Participants are responsible for their own personal safety, including securing proper training and equipment, and adhering to safe practices. Basic rock climbing safety equipment and techniques must be used at all time.
The following state park climbing regulations apply at all times:
*All climbers must register with the park staff and must keep in their possession a valid rock climbing and rappelling permit.
*NC state parks do not install or maintain any climbing route or fixed anchors. New routes are not permitted.
*Climbers climb at their own risk and are responsible for obtaining proper equipment and training. Unroped climbing is discouraged.
*Route selection and the decision to rely on any fixed anchors are the climber's responsibility.
*Climbing activities are permitted in designated areas only and must coincide with the park's posted hours of operation.
*All accidents and injuries must be reported to park staff.
Note: All climbers and rappellers must schedule their activity in order to leave the park by the posted closing hour.
Exhibits and historic sites:There's more to Stone Mountain than outdoor recreation! Drop by the park office or visit one of the historical sites to open your eyes to the natural and cultural history of the park.
Check out the park's old-time still, loom and other historical artifacts in the Mountain Culture Exhibit in the park office building. Other exhibits include animal pelts and a full-body black bear mount. These exhibits tell the story of how the independent mountain settlers provided shelter, food and clothing for their families. Other displays offer visitors the chance to learn about trout, butterflies and moths, and much more. The exhibits are open 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. daily.
Walk through one of the park's historic sites, the Hutchinson Homestead. The homestead is complete with a log cabin, barn, blacksmith shop, corncrib, meat house and original furnishings. Visitors can play recordings that explain how different aspects of the farm were run. The farm was built in the mid-19th century. Restored in 1998, the homestead is representative of the lives of early settlers in the area. The homestead is open to visitors Thursday through Sunday, March through October. When the homestead is closed during the week and during winter, visitors can walk the homestead grounds.
Another park historic site is the Garden Creek Baptist Church, located on the bank of the East Prong of Roaring River. Established in 1897, the building is one of the few original churches in Wilkes County that has not undergone any major repairs or remodeling. The church holds services on Sundays, May through October. Visitors are welcome to walk the grounds during the week and during winter, when the church is closed.
High Country Fly Shop
8358 Austin Traphill Rd
Old Traphill Mill Inn & Resort The
452 Traphill Mill Rd
Stone Mountain State Park is located in Wilkes and Alleghany counties, seven miles southwest of Roaring Gap. From I-77, turn west onto US 21. Veer left onto Traphill Road (SR 1002), and follow it to the John P. Frank Parkway. Turn right and follow the parkway to the park. From the west, take NC 18 north and turn right onto Traphill Road (SR 1002). Follow the road to the John P. Frank Parkway and turn left, following the parkway to the park.