Stone Mountain State Park
Stone Mountain State Park
4.5
State Parks • Mountains
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This 15,000-acre North Carolina state park offers trout fishing, hiking, climbing and scenic waterfalls.
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  • brookemarieplusone
    Raleigh, North Carolina258 contributions
    Beautiful day trip from Raleigh
    Best seen on the weekdays during COVID! This park is beautiful but after reading several reports online about how it is packed (completely full by 10AM) on the weekends and then running into a local who said the same thing while there, we are very happy we visited on a Friday. We arrived shortly before 930 and there was plenty of parking at the upper lot. If starting at the upper lot you will come to a fork soon after starting the trail. You can either go to the falls or the summit. We chose to do the summit first and thought this was very wise. Yes there is quite a climb no matter which way you go but we felt having to come up the stairs after the falls was a better choice, with resting stops and railings to hang onto. This is not a park to visit for those who are not hikers in my humble opinion, or rather those who are out of shape. You will be humbled by the amount of stairs, you have been warned. If we come back we will still go to the summit first. We went the first weekend in October and there wasn’t much color change yet in the trees so I recommend if you’re looking for fall foliage to wait more into mid October.
    Visited October 2020
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 6, 2020
  • Gryfudd
    North Carolina Mountains, North Carolina862 contributions
    Advice on hiking
    I've written a previous review on the view of Stone Mountain from Hutchinson Homestead, so this review will give you three points of view on hiking the Stone Mountain Loop or parts of it. The first review comes on the advice of our hiking son (age 40-something who is in excellent shape). He recommends doing the Loop clockwise, from the Lower Parking lot to the top of the granite monolith, which is easier on the knees, then down the gradual eastern slope, around the loop, down the steps to the Stone Mountain Waterfall to the valley below the monolith and the Hutchinson Homestead, then down the trail through the woods and back to the parking lot. His report leads me to think this 4.7 mile hike should be classified as strenuous for the climbing of stairs and rock faces that has to be done. While waiting for our son at Hutchinson Homestead, my husband and I (70 years old and with aging joints) decided to hike part of the loop counter clockwise. The trail was super easy, wide and fairly level and went along the shallow creek with several bridges. We hiked till we started to get tired (to about Middle Falls trail) then turned around and came back. The third time we hiked was with grandchildren ages 2 and 5. I assumed that part of the loop would all be like the one my husband and I hiked -- broad, level and easy with plenty of access to the creek for the grandchildren to enjoy. Boy, was I ever wrong! We started from the Upper Parking lot and right away encountered a narrow trail full of rocks, ruts and tree roots. When we came to the Stone Mountain Waterfall we only managed to get half way down the steps when the kids gave out and we had our picnic on one of the viewing decks. By the way, there are 500 steps whether you are going up or down and while they are not steep stairs, there are many of them. Also part of the trail next to the waterfall is across bare, slanting rock faces so be sure of your footing or take some hiking sticks. Next time we go, we'll park by the homestead and do the easier part of the trail, which the grandkids will enjoy much more. Hope this advice helps you whether your are a hearty hiker or one who is tagging along with children.
    Visited October 2020
    Written October 31, 2020
  • brindles01
    116 contributions
    Great hike close to Charlotte
    This is a great park to visit when you don't have time to go all the way up to the Boone area. We went for a daytrip and did the Stone Mountain Loop. I have a foot injury so our original intention was to park at the lower lot and just hike to the falls. It is a nice hike past the homestead, along the creek to several falls. Despite the ranger telling us it was 1.3 miles it was 2.0 on my Garmin watch. Since the flier said the entire loop is 4.5 we decided to just continue around the rest of the loop instead of backtracking. WOW. The section from the falls back is NO JOKE, even for a fit family. A lot of climbs, a lot of stairs, and then a steep decline back down the mountain. Of course, I'm out of shape now, so... my teens didn't find it as hard but my little one loves a good challenging hike and she liked this a lot. Great views and a lot of variety if you do the entire loop. My Garmin tracked the loop as 4.9 miles (the brochure said 4.5 and a sign said 4.3). I've read that it takes 3-4 hours but we did it in 2 1/2 hours with a couple of stops at the homestead and the falls. My Garmin shows the accent as 977 feet, descent as 1020 feet. Not terribly crowded, several dogs. If you are nervous about it being too hard you can park at the Lower lot and hike to the falls, or park at the upper lot and it's a short walk to the top of the big falls. You could also go right and not have to go too far to get some big views. You just want to stay away from the section that goes from the upper lot to the lower lot. A great day trip that we will definitely do again.
    Visited December 2019
    Written January 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4NCtravellers
Raleigh, NC160 contributions
Jun 2020
Beautiful park with well maintained trails, great views, and tons of flora and fauna. We hiked the full Stone Mountain Loop, and they are NOT exaggerating when they rate this trail "strenuous." Parts are very easy, but there are several parts with steep climbs and/or lots of stairs. If you're going to do the full loop, I recommend starting at the upper parking lot and doing the summit side of the loop first; this was you're coming DOWN the longer side. Save some energy though for the stairs you go UP at the end. Going this direction also means you're doing the sunnier side in the earlier part of the day, and the shadier side as it gets warmer out. That being said, there were families with small children, so it is possible for most people to make this hike, you may just need to rest more at intervals. If you're looking for an easier hiking experience, I recommend parking at the lower parking lot and just hiking the view side of the loop to the falls and back. Also note that the ONLY bathrooms at at the parking areas, so make sure to use the facilities before embarking on your hike. Bring plenty of water. We very happily noticed that mosquitoes, ticks, and flies were NOT a problem at this park.
Written June 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

WadeB_travel
St. John120 contributions
Aug 2020
This is only about an hour and fifteen minutes from our house, but we had never been there. We were really missing out. Really neat place to hike, play in the water, etc. We did the loop trail, with a couple small side trails, so covered a little over 5 miles. We parked at the Upper Trailhead parking, which I recommend if you are doing the loop trail, as it gives you a more gradual ascent (albeit still steep) to the summit. On the way down from the summit to the Lower Trailhead parking, there are many wooden stairs to traverse, we were glad we had those on the downhill side vs coming up. The summit is a bald outcropping of granite, perfect for sitting and taking in spectacular views.

About 3/4 of the way around the loop, you come to the waterfall, it is really spectacular. There is also a side trail that takes you to two smaller waterfalls that offer you the chance to slide down them, but we didn't have time for those; we'll certainly be going back to try that though!

Leaving the falls you do have to go up quite a few flights of big wooden stairs, so this would be a challenging hike for folks that are out of shape, elderly, etc.

Really a great place to spend the day.
Written August 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Debra C
Kissimmee, FL845 contributions
Oct 2021
We stayed at the campground in our Class C RV. The campground is very well maintained with sites for all types of RV’s or tent. The sites are good size but not shaded for privacy although is in a heavily forested area. The park was vey quiet & peaceful & some of the sites are on the creek. We had power, water, fire pit but no cell service or cable. The welcome center which sells wood & a dumping station were nearby. I mainly chose this campground due to its proximity to the hiking trail. There are several trails in the park but the loop trail was a short 10-15 minute walk down the hill from the campground. We chose to do the trail on two separate days. The total loop is 4.5 miles & considered strenuous. The first day we hiked clockwise which is the trail with the waterfall & many many steps. The trail was heavily forested which provided nice shading. The gravel path is well maintained with occasional tree roots & walking on rocks over water definitely need good hiking shoes. We hiked to the upper, middle & lower falls then turned around & hiked back. The next day we hiked the trail going to the right or counter clockwise which lead straight to the summit. Again same trail type surface but with obvious elevation climbs & switchbacks but so worth it. The views from the summit were breathtaking. The panoramic view of the mountains with the valley below are amazing. The stone outcropping there is expansive with plenty of room to enjoy a snack while absorbing the peace & beauty. On both days we started the hikes at 8am & had the trails to ourselves for at least an hour. Many people were hiking with their dogs. We saw deer & another couple saw a bear family far in the distance.
Written December 19, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DEREK D
Prairieville, LA58 contributions
Sep 2020
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed our hike at SM State Park. It was a little over a 2 hour drive from Raleigh/Durham so we arrived around 10am and parked for free. Great bathroom area right there at the upper parking lot. We decided to hike the 4.5 mile SM Loop Trail. Very early on you can make the decision to go left or right when the loop starts and we decided to go right, which we felt was the correct decision. Within minutes you are on top of Stone Mountain overlook the Blue Ridge mountains. Just gorgeous. Toward the back end of the hike, the vast space with the homestead is an amazing area. The very last part of the hike, we sat and snacked by the 200 foot waterfall. The great part about the hike and most of the park in general was that it was mostly shaded, which helped on the hot day we hiked. Be warned that after the falls (or at the very beginning if you went left) are about 200 steps up or down. So as most have said, this can be challenging. Either way though, you have to go up to get back to the parking lot. Otherwise, we felt it was a moderately strenuous hike. Great day here, highly recommend! This hike took around 3 hours and we enjoyed homemade ice cream at the country store on the way out!
Written September 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tekoanme
Smithfield, NC82 contributions
Jul 2021
Family camped at Stone mountain state park in a 27 foot caper July 2021. We received a beautiful flat, paved deep site that was spotless next to a creek where we heard the water running all night long. Plenty of room, well manicured. The bathhouse was in perfect condition with push water valve showers. The only recommendation would be adding a bench outside for people to sit & wait for spouse to finish . No cell or internet service at camp - Cricket wireless.
We hiked to the top of the mountain - took around 1 hour, very difficult. The view was unreal. The eagles were flying lower than I was standing . The view was for miles.
Many wood steps on the way up were rotten & damaged, many roots to walk over.
One stainless steel cable support post was broken & the cable was lying on the rock. This needs to be repaired was well as the damaged steps. Highly recommended- a climb your kids will never forget.
Written August 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ktvermilyea
Jacksonville, FL29 contributions
Aug 2020
We parked in the upper lot and hiked to the waterfall. Thankfully, we didn't read beforehand that it was a "strenuous trail!" I'm not sure we would have hiked with our 3 kids, tho we all agree it was well worth it for the view.

We weren't really prepared to hike, but will go back prepared and aiming for one of the moderate routes. :)

It's a GORGEOUS place and we felt blessed that the rain held off so we could hike and enjoy the views.
Written August 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bowmanator22
Charlotte, NC5,046 contributions
Mar 2021 • Solo
Absolutely wonderful solo hike. Did over 15 miles! Due to a thunderstorm I had to jog the last mile. Wish I could have had more time at the Stone Mountain falls. So much to see. Widows Creek was my favorite outside of the Stone Mountain loop trail. You have to hike a few miles on the Mountains-To-Sea trail to connect the two. Wolf Rock was cool, too. And I had it to myself! The view from the top of Stone Mountain and the falls are the most popular, but all the trails I hiked had worthy qualities. Sincerely hope to return!
Written March 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Marcie
Junction City, KS128 contributions
Jul 2023
Camped here for two nights over a holiday weekend. Family oriented and dog friendly place with hiking trails and a historic homestead! All of the sites included picnic table and fire rings and were well maintained. Tents had to be set up on the gravel however and the bathroom could have smelled better with a bit of cleaner of some kind. It was clean, just didn’t smell fresh. Was musty. Would also be good for a day trip.
Written July 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

acl119
Eatonton, GA32 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
Pros:
Nice, level campsites with paved parking
Shade, trees, and a stream running through the B campsite loop.
Bathhouse was updated and well designed.

Cons:
Bathhouse was poorly stocked (no tp and hand soap), and not clean. Crusty crud on the rear floor. Too bad this nice bathhouse is not well-maintained.
Written July 31, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

David
3 contributions
Mar 2020
Get there early in the day, bring good hiking shoes, and a camera. There is a beautiful waterfall and an area to sit and observe. Pack a lunch and have a beautiful picnic, or pack a sandwich in a pack for a snack at the top.
Written March 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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