Stone Mountain State Park – What to do at this little known gem in North Carolina
Located in the northwest part of North Carolina in Alleghany County, this state park’s central attraction is a granite dome. Visitors to this huge park marvel at the 600 foot tall dome when they first lay eyes on it. And while the dome is really impressive, this park contains something for every type of nature lover. We just returned from a camping trip there, and let me tell you all the great things we found in this park.
The campground is absolutely beautiful and contains 90 campsites. Some of the campsites have utility hook-ups however we were tent camping and did not experience that side of the campground. The tent camping area has generous tent pads, picnic table, and a fire ring with grill. There was also a wash house, however, if you can I would avoid it in the summertime because the mosquitoes were horrendous. However there are other restrooms in the park that did not have this issue, which was a nice perk.
This is not something that I tried, but I did look into it while we were there. Rock climbing is allowed on the exposed sloping side of Stone Mountain and is supposedly some of the best in North Carolina. With that being said this climb is only recommended for experienced climbers. All climbers must register at the self-registration box located in the climbing area and a valid permit is required.
There are over 18 miles of trails in the park ranging from moderate to strenuous. We loved the trails here, but let me warn you. If you get the itch to hike the Stone Mountain Loop Trail or just hike park of it to the Stone Mountain Waterfall, there are stairs and lots of them. I will say the waterfalls are definitely worth the aching calf muscles that are inevitable after that many stairs. There is a beautiful pool of water at the bottom you can rest at, go rock jumping at, or wade into if you wish while gathering the gumption to climb up the stairs.
There is a picnic area located next to the visitor center in a nice woodland (read bring bug spray) atmosphere. There are 75 individual picnic sites with tables, grills, and water fountains, and this area does connect to the trails as well.
While I am not a person who enjoys fishing, if you are this is a great place to go! There are 20 miles of park streams that are designated for trout fishing, however please remember a special fishing permit is required for this area.
Hutchinson Homestead is located close to the Lower Trailhead parking area, and is a walk through history. First built in the mid-19th century, it was restored in 1998. This homestead contains a log cabin, barn, blacksmith shop, meat house, etc. You are welcome to walk through the homestead grounds anytime, however the buildings are open to the public only on the weekends during peak season.