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TimeOutside: Stone Mountain State Park

Corey Glenn // Senior Reporter

View from summit of Stone Mountain, NC.

This week we’re looking a bit farther afield in honor of the approaching fall break: Stone Mountain State Park in North Carolina.
Located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Stone Mountain State Park is perhaps the ideal of what a state park should be. The park is built around a massive granite mountain that was donated to the state of North Carolina by a mining company that found the rock was too hard. The state park also includes several major waterfalls, miles of trails and trout streams and an extensive backcountry that reaches up onto the Blue Ridge and connects to Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 
Popular activities in the park include hiking, fishing, horseback riding, backpacking and rock climbing. Of course, at the center of the park is Stone Mountain, an almost mini-Table Rock with a short but tough climb up onto the granite monolith, that provides panoramic views and many opportunities to scramble around the scoured rock face. 
Around the base of the rock, one can find several major waterfalls and the Hutchinson Homestead, an 1860s ranching homestead preserved in the heart of the park. 
In the wider area of the park, there are many treasures to be found. As previously mentioned, the Blue Ridge Parkway is just a short hop from the park. Along this section of the parkway, there is, of course, Doughton Park with great hiking and an antique cabin.
There is also the Blue Ridge Music Center, a museum and concert venue preserving and continuing the history of old-style country music, which originated in nearby towns in Virginia, such as Galax, where the first hit country music band was formed in a barbershop. 
Also nearby is Mt. Airy, North Carolina, the hometown of Andy Griffith and the inspiration for the town of Mayberry in his show. 
The park is about a four hour drive from Clemson via I-85 and I-77 through Elkin, North Carolina.
Camping is available year-round in the park, starting at $23 a night, and groceries and supplies can be obtained in nearby towns, particularly Elkin.

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