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On Labor Day, I had the pleasure of spending a gorgeous afternoon doing two favorite things: Spending time with both of my kids, and visiting one of North Carolina’s lovely mountain parks.
My daughter and son are in their 20s, with their own full lives and careers, so I treasure any time it works out that we can all get together and go do something. This time, we were blessed with perfect weather, on a holiday — a wonderful opportunity to go for a nice hike.
We chose to visit Stone Mountain State Park. It’s located in the northwestern part of the state, only a 90-minute drive from Greensboro. It was my first time there and I’d been wanting to check it out for a while. My daughter and her fiance had been there a few times before.
The park features 20 miles of trails, from moderate to strenuous. There is also a five-mile bridle trail for those who wish to bring a horse, and there are waterfall trails. Camping, picnicking, fishing and rock climbing are available.
The park’s most prominent feature is a massive 600-foot granite dome that rises above the rest of the park, elevation 2,305 feet. We wanted to go up there and stand on it, so we chose to do the Stone Mountain Loop Trail. This is a 4.5 mile loop if you do the whole thing, but hikers can choose to go to the waterfall or the summit and back without having to do the entire loop. Part of the loop was closed during our visit, so we weren’t able to do the whole thing and I was relieved at that because I’d heard it was pretty challenging with lots of stair steps, and I really just wanted to enjoy a nice walk that day.
You enter the trail from the parking lot. We took it up to the granite top, then walked back down the same way we came, and that worked out really well. It was just enough exercise without being exhausting. I didn’t have good phone signal and my tracking app wasn’t loading, but I’d estimate we walked about a mile each way. Of course, this is going on an upward slope on the way to the top.
Stone Mountain is a great place to come for the day or to stay and camp. Definitely visit if you get the chance! For more information, see the North Carolina State Parks web site.
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