Stone Mountain Loop Trail

MODERATE 311 reviews
#1 of 12 trails in

Stone Mountain Loop Trail is a 4.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Roaring Gap, North Carolina that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
938 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

Hike around the granite dome at Stone Mountain State Park south of the Blue Ridge Parkway. A granite bulge forms the centerpiece of Stone Mountain State Park. Stone Mountain Loop takes you to the top of the bulge, past a scenic waterfall and through the restored homestead of a family that lived in the shadow of Stone Mountain for four generations. The park also provides an excellent side trip for travelers along the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. Two trailheads at Stone Mountain State Park lead to the loop. While the Lower Trailhead in the park's northeast corner gets you to the base of the mountain more quickly, the far better hiking route is from the Upper Trailhead on the west side of the park. From there, you hike a short spur to reach the loop trail, hang a left, walk down past Stone Mountain Falls and then continue till the massive wall of granite starts to fill the background behind the thinning tree.. Slack-jawed wonder is a perfectly natural response to seeing Stone Mountain for the first time. Once you get your wits about you again, you can explore the Hutchinson family's homestead, occupied for a century from 1855 to 1955. Then it's a steep slog to the summit - a vast, sloping field of granite striped black by one rainstorm after another. Finally, it's all downhill to get back where you came from.

4 minutes ago

good hike and mostly uphill

hiking
6 days ago

I have seen other places and talked to other hikers who have rated the loop trail as strenuous. It definitely is exhausting if you walk up the steep side from the lower trailhead parking area. The views are amazing and well worth the effort. If you can go up the steep side do it. I'd rather have the long gentle slope going back down than try to negotiate down the steep steps.

7 days ago

Absolutely so beautiful. A huge gorgeous water fall, beautiful view of the side of Stone Mountain and beautiful nature trials in between.

hiking
12 days ago

Good endurance hike. I liked it because it wasn't too close to any big touristy areas resulting in a decreased number of yuppies.

hiking
18 days ago

Great trail with spectacular views. I think this should be marked as strenuous. Definitely recommend taking the summit direction first, not the waterfall first like I did. It was so easy the first 2 miles by the falls then I got to the summit and nearly couldn't make it up. So worth it though!

19 days ago

Amazing waterfall, quick & easy to get to from visitor center. Continued on the loop, the summit was AMAZING, so beautiful, so many places to sit & chill on the side of the stone mtn. Worth the hour & a half ride to get there. The trail was shady, breezy, & not too terrible

hiking
20 days ago

The first 30-45 minutes of this one was a good workout. The scenery was awesome. I’d like to go back and do this one for time. It’s a good challenge but the views are worth it.

hiking
22 days ago

I didn't die

30 days ago

Started at the old parking lot went straight up the mountain 1/2 way up thought I was going to die I've never seen so many steps. After getting to the top it was all well worth it glad I did it

camping
1 month ago

Great trail also went camping here a few years ago it was snowy and windy got down to -20° But I loved the experience. Trail is beautiful and scenic and strenuous but was well worth it. also be carful near the summit there is alot of slippery rock I almost slid off myself. keep a good footing and stay safe!

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing trail ! was very nicely maintained and beautiful.. can't wait to talk this trail again.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! We started at upper parking area and then went counter clockwise (right at the chimney) to the summit side, then down to the view side. We finished by adding the in & out to lower falls (first) and middle falls on the way back. Taking our time for lots of photos and dipping our feet in the middle falls (so refreshing!) the entire trip took about 5 hours. Got lucky to see the rhododendrons blooming along the river on the view side. Take lots of water, fairly strenuous just due to the elevation changes. You will finish coming straight up 330 man made steps. Amazing views!

hiking
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful views! Strenuous with lots of stairs, my Apple watch tracked 50 flights that we climbed. We started at the upper parking lot, walked down to the falls, visited the historic Hutchinson property and back up the trail to the parking lot. Trail very well marked. Will definitely go back, we loved it!

hiking
1 month ago

Great views!

hiking
2 months ago

This was a wonderful hike, definitely strenuous in places. We started at the Upper Parking area and took a right at the chimney. Hike to the summit was moderate... it was very steep coming down. Took a break at the Lower Parking area then continued the hike to Stone Mountain Falls. Beautiful views. The last leg back to the upper lot had a lot, and I mean a lot of steps. Great workout!

2 months ago

Great trail!

hiking
2 months ago

The stairs are tough on knees, but the 4.4 mile journey is worth it. Wonderful views from the summit on a clear day and plenty of swimming holes along the creeks and under the falls. A few young men were brave enough to repel down the face of the mountain.

hiking
2 months ago

If you are in shape start a the lower parking lot, this will be great for your cardio and you get to hit the falls on the last stretch.

If you do not want to do too much exercise skip going to the top stay on the lower part of the trail and go straight to the falls by passing through the Hutchinson Farm museum. Bunch of beautiful water hole along the way to cool down in.

2 months ago

Best to start in the first parking lot just past
check in building and head left to start trail- you’ll hit the summit earlier on. A nice play to hang out, read and enjoy the views. It’s a pretty steep and strenuous climb until then and throughout rest of loop, but hitting the waterfall at the end makes it all worth it. A nice place to cool down before finishing the hike with steps back up to the parking lot.

hiking
2 months ago

Just visited here for the first time! It is a great trail with plenty of awesome views. Just be ready for plenty of stairs!

It is easy to extend the loop out further by checking out wolf rock trail and cedar rock trail which I would definitely recommend and will definitely be back! Happy Hiking!

2 months ago

There are so many steps, but the views are worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike with great views! The begging and end portions of the hike were challenging but not overly strenuous. The remainder of the hike was quite easy. The streams and scenery are gorgeous - even in between the breathtaking scenic overlooks. I hiked this one in the rain and it slowed me down considerably as everything was quite slippery! However, I’d still do it again - rain or shine!

3 months ago

love this hike, beautiful park

hiking
3 months ago

Loved this hike, highly suggest seeing the falls last.

3 months ago

Great trail. The hike from the lower lot to the summit is very strenuous, but not very long, the hike from upper lot to the summit is much more gradual. There are many variations of this trail you can do to make it easier as well.

hiking
3 months ago

Really enjoyed this trail- you get to see the falls (and can take a short detour for Middle/Lower Falls) as well get a beautiful view from the summit! Following suggestions, I started at the Upper Lot trailhead & followed the trail in the direction for the falls. I took the Middle & Lower falls detour (about a 1 mile, 1-way trail), but didn't make it to the Lower Falls as the trail crossed a creek that was too wide/deep to just cross through. There were some rocks that could potentially be used to cross, but I didn't have faith in my limited athletic abilities. Continued on the Loop trail to the summit, which had a short but very steep climb to the top. I personally find it easier to go uphill with stairs, rather than just continuous switchbacks, so going this way made the climb up a little easier.

hiking
3 months ago

Excellent views from the top.

hiking
3 months ago

Fellow fat people and/or beginning hikers, please read! I went insane sometime this week and decided I would do the entire loop. Second hike of the year. Got up early, was in the park at 8:03, hit the trail shortly after that, parking in the Upper Lot. At the fireplace on the trail, you can go either left or right. Left takes you past Stone Mountain Falls and down something like 300 stairs. Right takes you up to the summit using what felt like a thousand switchbacks but was really probably closer to ten. I went right because I wanted to get to the summit when it was empty. Met one hiker coming down (who was easily in his 60’s and recovering from a recent surgery and STILL whooping my butt) but mostly empty until after the summit. The summit is gorgeous. I enjoyed the view and the breeze for quite some time, until the buzzards started to notice I wasn’t moving much. Once the orange circles on the trees run out, start looking for them on the ground to follow the trail around and down a bazillion steps and some steep grades that, luckily, someone put a guide rail up for me to cling to with all my strength. I met a Boy Scout troop on the way down, who were also acting as if climbing a mountain isn’t a big deal. Punks. Once you make it down and cross the road, the trail leads you to the Homestead at the base of the mountain. All of the old buildings have a little display to talk about how they were used and the people who used them. Very interesting. There is a water fountain here. Back on the trail, it starts to smooth out and you can start to make up some time and get your heart rate back under control. I took a side trip down the Lower and Middle Falls trail (blue circle), which was also pretty incredible. Back on the main trail, you’ll walk past a bunch of waterfalls until you see the steps that lead up to the base of Stone Mountain Falls. HERE IS WHERE IT GETS IMPORTANT. Fellow fat people and/or beginning hikers- if you have beaten the odds and accomplished climbing the mountain and checking out the homestead and the waterfalls, you now have 305 (or so) stairs to climb UP. I (athletically speaking) was not ready for this hike. I did it. It was phenomenal. And I’d do it again. But I gotta hit the gym for some conditioning first. After I ice my knee, anyway. Bottom line- awesome hike with great views and a real sense of accomplishment when it’s over. I’ve never been so happy to see my car. Trails are well marked. Take water, and a camera, and some patience. Hike your own hike- don’t try to compete with the super athletic people (and their dogs) that you might see on the trails. Or the Boy Scouts. Or the outpatients.

hiking
3 months ago

LOVED THIS TRAIL!!!
I just moved to NC from Ohio where we don’t have these opportunities, and it took us about 4 hours with breaks of course. We took our pups and it was absolutely beautiful and worth every flight of stairs we had to take lol DEFINITELY RECOMMEND. (Maybe not for beginner hikers)

hiking
3 months ago

TL;DR: Great hike, amazing views.
This was a fantastic hike! As a previous reviewer noted, the entire loop trail is now open. On that note, it is awe-inspiring to see the damage done by powerful storms from last October, you can really see the trail of damage where trees have been snapped all over the place.
I started at the upper parking lot, and started the loop headed to the left, away from the summit. You quickly come up on the falls, and it is quite beautiful against a distant mountain backdrop. There are a lot of stairs in this area for a quick descent into the woods, and the trail follows a stream for a good bit. I took a detour in this area to go down the Lower and Middle Falls Trail (out and back) which was nice, but there are two stream crossings that require rock hopping to get across, and I did get my feet wet! Back on the Stone Mountain Loop Trail, I quickly reached the Hutchinson Homestead area, which has great views of Stone Mountain and its own little trail. Looked like there was an area for rock climbing at the base of Stone Mountain that could be accessed from the open field area here. From here, I decided to branch out and make an extra loop by taking the Cedar Rock and Wolf Rock Trails, and boy am I glad I did! Both Cedar Rock and Wolf Rock offer tremendous views of the surrounding mountains, and were high points on my trip. Wolf Rock trail rejoins Stone Mountain Loop trail and quickly descends back towards the lower parking lot area, before turning towards the summit. From there it was a fairly quick but strenuous hike up to the summit, with seemingly endless stairs and a few steep rock faces. But you are rewarded with an enormous area of bare rock with near 180 degree views of the mountains around you. It's a great place to sit or lie down on the rock, have a snack, and take it all in. Cedar Rock can be seen from here as well. It turned out this first area, though impressive, wasn't the actual summit. A short hike and some additional steps later, and I was at the actual summit, a similarly impressive setting. From there the trail slowly meanders back down, passing through a few more open rock areas with neat views.
Adding on the Falls, Cedar Rock, and Wolf Rock trails increased the loop length by about three miles, but it was definitely worth it. There were more mucky, muddy areas along this trail than most trails I've been on in State Parks, but not too bad. My only trouble was that I was recording the hike with the AllTrails app, and there was no service at all which seemed to effect the tracking accuracy of the recording.

Load More