Stone Mountain Trail: Hiking DuPont State Recreational Forest
Hike to the Stone Mountain summit in Dupont State Forest near Brevard, NC to catch stunning, 180-degree panoramas from a wildflower-stippled mountaintop.
Stone Mountain is located in DuPont State Recreational Forest, best known for its ultra-popular (and equally stunning) waterfalls. Stone Mountain is a rocky mountaintop near the park’s northern border that offers some beautiful southward views of DuPont’s scenic, 10,000+ acres. At 3620 feet, it’s the tallest summit in the park. And with DuPont’s extensive network of awesome hiking and mountain biking trails, there’s more than one way to summit Stone Mountain.
It’s puzzling, then, why the hike to this mountaintop isn’t more popular. Given the popularity of the park’s waterfalls, perhaps the throngs of DuPont State Forest visitors are too waterfall-obsessed to seek out this great summit view? That’s fine… we’re all about some great summit solitude and enjoying some excellent long-range views from a quiet, sunny, domed summit framed in wildflowers.
Stone Mountain Trail at DuPont State Forest: the hike
The hike departs from a trailhead off the graveled Sky Valley Road in DuPont State Forest, located 1.5 miles east of the park’s Guion Farm parking area (view maps and driving directions). This hike, the most direct (and scenic) to the Stone Mountain summit that we’ve found, follows the Rough Ridge Trail northbound from the trailhead to access the trail to the mountain summit. The Rough Ridge Trail dives into the forest, hiking .3 mile before reaching an intersection with the Stone Mountain Trail, turning right at the signed intersection.
The Stone Mountain Trail arcs to the northeast, trailing through a forest of pine, fern and mountain laurel. The hike reaches an intersection with the Switchback Trail at .5 mile, veering left continue hiking the Stone Mountain Trail and trekking northbound. The hike treks over a rocky trail bed, beginning a nearly unrelenting climb to the Stone Mountain summit (a 550+ foot gain over the next .8 mile).
The trail carves through a tight switchback at .75 miles, veering west. Wildflowers line the trail’s sides, stretching high to catch sunlight. The Stone Mountain Trail swings northeast, trekking through a grassy clearing at 1 mile. (In warm summer months, the meadow is dense with grasses and shrubs, and can be a tight, challenging stretch of trail to navigate through.)
The hike dives back into the shade of the forest, passing several moss-covered boulders and beginning a final ascent to the Stone Mountain summit. The trail climbs over roots and boulders under a dense canopy of shade, and moss spreads in a thick carpet over the rocky, near-summit terrain. Broad-leafed galax scents the air with its signature onion-like scent.
The trail summits Stone Mountain, reaching the first of several wide clearings and a large stone pile at 1.25 miles.
The hike continues to explore the Stone Mountain summit, trailing eastbound. Views extend out from several nearby clearings on the mountaintop, where wide, curved rock expanses offer a great place to enjoy the long-range views. The rolling terrain of DuPont State Forest is visible to the south. Wildflowers bask in the ample summit sunlight, framing the mountaintop in vibrant color.
Departing the summit, the hike retraces its outbound steps on the Stone Mountain Trail and Rocky Ridge Trail to return to the trailhead. The hike reaches the trailhead at 2.6 miles, completing the hike.
More DuPont State Forest mountaintop adventure
While it’s well-loved for its gorgeous, tumbling waterfalls, DuPont offers some fairly fantastic hikes to mountain summits, too. Finished with Stone Mountain and still have energy and daylight to spare? Hike the Big Rock Trail to the Cedar Rock Mountain, a 3,000-foot granite dome near the park’s southwest edge.