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Tucked away in the Yadkin Valley, Stone Mountain State Park has over 13,747 acres of the stunning mountain landscape that I was able to explore this past weekend. Designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1975, Stone Mountain is a 600-foot granite dome that is truly an amazing sight to see and a waterfall that captivated me. There is camping, hiking, climbing, fishing, picnicking, horseback riding, and much more to enjoy at the park.

I decided this past Sunday I wanted to enjoy the beautiful fall weather so I finally made the one hour and thirty-minute trip to Stone Mountain State Park. It was a very easy drive to the park, all you need to do is stay on I-77 from Charlotte and into Roaring Gap. I had no idea what the park offered or where to start, so I randomly drove around and ended up parking in the Lower Trail lot to start my hike. I headed up the trail and once reaching the fork of the trail, I turned right and went up the Stone Mountain Loop Trail. This trail is about 4.5 miles long round trip and not for the faint of heart. BTW, I did hike alone, but I do this all the time. I do not recommend hiking alone if you are a beginner, especially on this trail.

After about a twenty-minute hike from my starting point, I finally reached the 200ft sliding waterfall. I took some photos, enjoyed the crisp cool mountain waters, and then proceeded on my adventure. After walking up over 300 stairs, I reached the top of the waterfall and went left continuing on the Loop Trail to reach the Stone Mountain summit. The trail switches back to a gravel trail (some roots) and eventually opens up to a Blue Ridge Mountain View. I stopped here to eat my sandwich and have a little photo op. I think one of my favorite parts about this park was how the rocks on top of the mountain looked like moon craters. They were so much fun to play on.

This adventure is a great way to get out and enjoy an incredible view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I recommend following the way I went so you can see the historic site, waterfall, and mountain views without hiking up steep stairs. The only stairs you hike at an incline are the ones up to the top of the waterfall. (Little over 300 stairs) When I hike, I prefer as much downhill as I can, but just be sure to stay on the Loop Trail regardless of the direction you decide.

I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to explore Stone Mountain, State Park.  There was not a cloud in the sky and you can see photos from my adventure below. I have no idea why I waited eight years to make the trip to Stone Mountain State Park, but I will certainly be going back soon. I want to try out the trout fishing in the park and also the High Shoal Falls Loop which is filled with cascading waterfall views. You can see more on Stone Mountain State Park and plan your own little day trip adventure HERE!

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige