Torg hiking journal notes for Stone Mountain Loop Near Roaring Gap, North Carolina. There is a video at the bottom of the post.
Sentence from A Falcon Guide’s Hiking North Carolina book:
“The premier hike here is the Stone Mountain Loop, a 4.5 mile circuit of the summit that takes in the top of the dome, a spectacular waterfall, and views of climbers scaling the rock face” (Johnson 153).
Stone Mountain from Hutchinson Settlement
Hikers: myself, wife and daughters Charlotte age 12 and Izzy age 10 and our dog Indy.
We parked at lower parking area.
Total Distance Hiked: Because of a mistake we made, 5.91 miles, 2 hrs 32 mins and 25 seconds of hiking time. With stopping at top of Stone Mountain and bottom of falls we were on the trail just over 3 hours.
Our directions from Boone are at the end of this post. We drove to Stone Mountain Park from Boone mostly traveling on 421. After our hike, we came home via the Blue Ridge Parkway. We loved the hike for the old homestead, the spectacular views from the top of Stone Mountain, and for playing in the water at the bottom of the falls.
There were several buildings at the homestead. If walking is a challenge for any reason, there is a special road that can be used to park right by here.
Highlights: homestead, interesting climb over stone using steps and cable hand rails to top of Stone Mountain, walk along falls, playing in pool at bottom of falls, and ice cream at the Stone Mountain Country Store on the way home.
Possible negatives: there were A LOT of steps and one really steep climb depending which way you go to the highlights: either up the side of Stone Mountain or up the falls. We had trouble in a couple of spots following the trail. There are a lot of other hikes and loops within the park. The trail was pretty crowded and with lots of steps, cables, and bridges, less wild than some hikers might like.
It was a tough climb to the top but even Isabel said the views were worth it.
We Torgs highly recommend this hike!
Pick your poison: up the steps to the mountain or these to the top of the falls.
We took the John P Frank Parkway into Stone Mountain Park. No charge to enter the park. Keep to the John P Frank Parkway. I saw two ways to do the loop hike. You can park at the Upper Parking area or the Lower. We drove through the upper parking area and weren’t sure what to do. It was very crowded. There was one group of kids–maybe a youth group?–that numbered probably nearly 40 people. It was a beautiful Saturday in August and the whole park was pretty crowded.
The girls and Indy the dog were glad for a chance to cool off at the bottom of the falls.
We parked at the lower area. Both parking areas are large with restrooms and water. We hiked up to the Hutchinson Homestead. This was a really neat area with quite a few old buildings that were furnished appropriate to time period. There was a large meadow and expansive views of Stone Mountain.
It wasn’t clear where we should go. There was a high school aged attendant at the house. She probably didn’t understand what we were trying to do–walk the whole loop–and she directed to a road that went right back to the parking area from where we’d come. We didn’t figure this out for a long time.
What we should have done was continue past the buildings, across a large meadow adjacent to where people were going straight for the mountain to climb, and do the loop that way. What we did was mostly backtrack on a road by the trail and walk just over an extra mile.
It took everything Charlotte had to finish this hike!
Our route from Boone, NC;
- 421 toward Deep Gap and Wilkesboro
- Left on 16 N Old North Carolina Highway (turn at Wilkesboro ABC store)
- R after Millers Creek Elementary School on Pleasant Home Church Road
- At T, left onto Mountain Valley Church Road
- At T, right on Sparta Road.
- After Cross Roads Primitive Baptist Church (We actually didn’t see this and I was luck to spot Yellow Banks) take a left on Yellow Banks Road
- At the T, just after Viking Pump and Munch (didn’t see this either and as a Torgerson was looking forward to it), left onto Traphill Rd.
- Over the Roaring River (wasn’t roaring)
- After Billings Auto Sales, the Alleghany Spur Road, and Holbrook House, left on John P. Frank Pkwy.
- Stone Mountain Country Store gets good reviews. It was busy and good!
Ice cream at the Stone Mountain Country Store gave us a boost!
Home on Parkway: The Blue Ridge is accessible via Traphill Road to the east and then a left on 21 North.
Lots to see heading back to Boone but we were too tired!