Stone Mountain State Park holds all sorts of outdoor adventure opportunities. The hiking trails carry walkers over unobstructed peaks and through dense forests of chestnut, red oak, and black maple. Delicate fly lines, snapping over mountain streams, pull rainbow, brown, and brook trout from their chilled habitats. But when your park includes a 600 foot, exposed monolith of granite, you can bet the climbers will be there as well.
Full of some of the best friction climbing routes and the ultra-classic Great Arch, Stone is a unique destination in central Carolina.
What Makes It Great
Stone Mountain offers some of the best friction climbing in the southeast. Long run-outs, many over 30 feet, little protection, and a necessary trust of friction are common among the many routes at Stone. The south face is where most of that action happens. Because of its south facing direction and lack of cover, the exposed granite gets pretty toasty in the summer. Not only does it mean it’s a bit uncomfortable to climb but the surface tends to lose friction as the temps climb. Stone is a better option for the chillier shoulder seasons.
The iconic Great Arch – a 400’, three pitch route – is a-typical of other climbs at Stone. The protection along the 5.5 rated route is plentiful including some slings for the intrepid trees that grow out of cracks in the rock face.
Once you reach the top of Stone Mountain, you can repel or easily hike back down to the base. The views on top of stone are tremendous.
Who is Going to Love It
Friction freaks looking for the best in the east will most certainly have a blast climbing at Stone. There are plenty of trad options as well. While there are some routes that don’t need a ton of experience to climb, gumbies may want to give Crowders a go before they hit up the routes at Stone.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the Lower Trailhead Parking Lot follow the signs to the Hutchenson Homestead. You can’t miss the climbing wall. Cross the meadow to a one pitch climb and access the tree ledge where many of the best climbs begin.
The parking lot has bathrooms a water. Required, free permits are available on the approach trail.