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.

 

Moss-covered boulders. Colorful wildflowers. A summit drenched in sun, with wide stretches of stone that offer sweeping panoramic views. There’s a whole lot to love on the Stone Mountain Trail.

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.

Stone Mountain offers stunning southward views of North Carolina's DuPont State Forest from its domed, rocky summitAbove: Stone Mountain offers stunning southward views of DuPont State Forest from its domed, rocky summit.

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.

Wildflowers dot the sides of the Stone Mountain Trail at Dupont State Forest near Brevard, NC

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 Stone Mountain Trail passes large, moss-covered boulders in a shady forest near Brevard, NC

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.

A stone pile marks the summit of Stone Mountain in DuPont State Recreational Forest

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.

Wildflowers bask in sunlight on the large, domed summit of Stone Mountain in DuPont State Forest south of Asheville, NC

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.

 
 
 

DuPont State Forest Stone Mountain Trail: Directions & Details

Parking

Free parking is available at the trailhead. Check the DuPont State Forest website for hours and closures.

Please Remember

Always leave no trace and follow these trail etiquette tips.

GPS Coordinates

35.212300, -82.573000     //     N35 12.738 W82 34.380

Driving Directions


Elevation Profile

Stone Mountain Trail at DuPont State Forest: Elevation Profile

DuPont State Forest Stone Mountain Trail Map

Trail data and photos © Summit19 Studio LLC. This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.
 
Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails and Asheville Trails, online magazines that cover the South’s best outdoor adventures. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.

Eric is also a freelance writer, photographer and creative director.