Everyone has heard of Stone Mountain………the one in Georgia. Very few people know that there is also a Stone Mountain in North Carolina. Two differences in the two Stone Mountains… both favoring the NC one. First at 2305 ft Stone Mountain NC is taller. Second the NC one isn’t carved up with a picture of a bunch of losing generals. And as a bonus Stone mountain has several waterfalls and mountain views. Located not far off the Blue Ridge Parkway Stone Mountain is a bit smaller then the peaks surrounding it. You have to hike up this one has no road to the top. the trail up and over is a loop but I always modified it.
Why did I modify it? Well besides Stone Mountain there are two other nice viewing areas which are actually better and less crowded, Cedar Rock and Wolf Rock.
I always took the Blackjack Ridge Trail out to Cedar Rock and from there you continue on to Wolf Rock. No one ever goes to Wolf Rock or at least I never saw anyone out there. It was my favorite place to stop and enjoy a nice lunch and the gorgeous views to the west.
Here’s a story. The first time I went to Stone Mountain I got to Cedar Rock and began wandering around. Cedar Rock is huge and it all looks the same just a granite outcropping. I lost the trail! I saw at the bottom a trail but had to bushwhack to get to it. turns out it was the wolf rock trail so everything worked out.
Now the waterfalls. I skipped over the fact that I had already passed the Stone Mountain Waterfall. The trail to the mountaintop passes this waterfall and follows Sandy Creek for quite a distance. There are two other falls down Sandy Creek but both are unimpressive… more of a waterslide down rocks or a cascade then a waterfall. But Stone Mountain Falls is tall! It is a waterslide also but stands a couple hundred feet.
It almost makes me cry that I will probably never see this park again. Well, lets get to the top of Stone Mountain. After I left Wolf Rock the trail merges back to the Stone Mountain Loop and up the mountain. This was not the way to get up here the other way was much less steep. But as always I crested the top to….. ugh fifty people.
Ever heard of the Jeffery Pine on top of Sentinel Dome in Yosemite National Park? Unfortunately the Jeffery Pine has fallen but the North Carolina version lives on……
After coming down the mountain there was one more stop before I headed home. Widow Creek Falls. I drove the road next to the Roaring Fork River to a pull off. A short trail later I was at Widow’s Creek Falls. There is a trail that takes off from here that goes through the primitive camping area up the ridge to the Blue Ridge Parkway, long enough to be a backpacking outing instead of a day hike. I had it on my bucket list to do with Nate but my move wiped it out.