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 camping and hiking among the silver firs, banks of waving ferns, and mountainsides bursting with rhododendron and blue bells.
Stone Mountain State Park
36.3873 -81.0273

Located off the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Sparta, North Carolina, 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, primitive and family campgrounds, and a restored mid-19th century mountain farm, Hutchison Homestead.


The world is charged with the grandeur of God ~Gerard Manley Hopkins


Stone Mountain State Park Campgrounds: 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. Self- register and pay for your party at the honor box. The hike starts with the most challenging part of the assent ‚Äď about 600ft of moderately steep terrain ‚Äď 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.

Image of two girls sitting by their campfire with two REI tents, one orange and one green, while camping at Stone Mountain State Park, North Carolina
Image of four girls on a mossy stream bank wth rhododendrons while camping in Stone Mountain State Park, North Carolina

Plan on a leisurely hike to study the abundant plant and animal life here in Stone Mountain State Park. If the weather is favorable, bring water shoes and swimsuits for water play in the streams and creeks, but do be wary of the occasional copperhead or cottonmouth. To access camps E & F, you'll have to traverse Widow's Creek twice.

UPDATE:  Campsites E & F have been closed due to 2017 tornado damage; the other four remain open.


Stone Mountain State Park Trailheads:

  • Black Jack Ridge: 3mi RT - moderate
  • Bridle Loop: 2mi loop - moderate
  • Bridle Out-and-Back: 8mi RT - moderate
  • Cedar Rock: 2mi RT - moderate
  • Middle Falls/Lower Falls: 1 mi - moderate
  • Mountains-to-Sea: 12mi RT - strenuous
  • Stone Mountain Loop: 4.5 mi - strenuous
  • Widow‚Äôs Creek: 5mi - strenuous UPDATE:¬†To view Widow's Creek Falls, park just past the Widow's Creek bridge and walk a short distance upstream.
  • Wolf Rock: 3mi - moderate
Read our updated post for more information on Stone Mountain State Park hikes and the family campground!


Hutchison Homestead in Stone Mountain State Park, North Carolina
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3042 Frank Parkway
Roaring Gap
Nov 18, 2018

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