Stone Mountain State Park
If the forest moon of Endor has a twin on this side of the galaxy, it may well be the outback of North Carolina's Stone Mountain State Park. Tall, lush, and moist, you'll find enchantment among the silver firs, banks of waving ferns, and mountainsides bursting with rhododendron and blue bells.
Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Sparta, NC, Stone Mountain State Park is named for the magnificent 600-foot granite dome (elevation 2306 ft). This designated National Natural Landmark hosts more than 18 miles of hiking and bridle trails, permitted rock-climbing, wild trout streams, spectacular waterfall, and a restored mid-19th century mountain farm, Hutchison Homestead.
The world is charged with the grandeur of God ~Gerard Manley Hopkins
Campground: Hike-in or Car Camp
Two options for camping at Stone Mountain State Park are the family campground or hike-in campsites. Before you venture too far along in your planning, consider scheduling a one-or two-day primitive expedition into the more remote regions that the park shares with the groomed campsites.
For the primitive leg, the approach begins at the designated backpacking parking area. Register and pay for your party at the honor box. The hike starts with the most challenging part of the assent – about 600ft of moderately steep terrain – before the trail levels out and follows Widow's Creek most of the way to your base camp. Of the remote camps that are located between 1.5 and 3 miles from the trail head, we found sites F and C to be the most favorable, but all six are lovely in their own right.