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Wolf Rock Trail/Cedar Rock Trail loop.
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Wolf Rock Trail/Cedar Rock Trail loop.

 
Wolf Rock Trail/Cedar Rock Trail loop.

Page Type: Route

Location: North Carolina, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 36.39000°N / 81.054°W

Object Title: Wolf Rock Trail/Cedar Rock Trail loop.

Route Type: Hike.

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: Walk-up.

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes
 

 

Page By: BobSmith

Created/Edited: Dec 11, 2005 / Feb 24, 2006

Object ID: 167920

Hits: 2931 

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Approach

Take the John P. Frank Freeway into Stone Mountain State Park. Pass the park office on the right (no admission fees) or stop to pick up a free park map and talk with the ranger. Continue on, passing turnoffs on the left (picnic area) and on the right (campground), passing a field on the left where numbers of white-tailed deer are often visible. Pass a small slide-type waterfall on the left with a good vantage point to view Stone Mountain on a hill across the road on the right.

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Continue on to the Stone Mountain Trailhead parking area which you will see on the left. There is ample parking here, a large restroom with flush toilets and water fountains, vending machines, and a pay phone. All of the major trails in the park start from this one point.

Route Description

Passing the bulletin board at the trailhead, take the Stone Mountain Summit Trail. Within a very short distance the Wolf Rock Trail will veer off on the right. Descend very slightly and begin a long and steady ascent of Wolf Rock, passing through a nice recovering cove hardwood forest with vigorous gardens of rhododendron on the steep slopes.

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The trail is fairly wide and well marked. The park has rated this trail as "strenuous", but I found it to be relatively easy. There are some steep sections and a fairly straight-on type of attack against the slopes, but I still don't consider it very difficult even with a daypack.

After about 3/4 of a mile, you will begin to come upon some good views of Stone Mountain through the trees. The views are more obvious in Winter, but you can still find a break or two and see the larger peak even when the trees are in full leaf.

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Within one mile you will come to the the top of the ridge. The summit is wide and relatively level and all in trees. The trail at this point resembles a wide country road. On the left you will see a rock wall about two feet high that follows the trail for a long distance. The true summit of Wolf Rock is to the left, behind this wall, which I suspect is a kind of terrace, rather than merely a wall.

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Soon you will see that the trail veers off to the right through the scrub oak and pines onto the wide, exposed granite slopes of Wolf Rock. The views at this point are extremely nice on a clear day. The "cliffs" here are not very steep and one can scramble up and down them without fear of falling or sliding (as long as there is no ice).

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Soon after leaving this area the trail continues around to the left, follwing the rock wall and intersects the Cedar Rock Trail. Cedar Rock is just another area of exposed granite on the peak and is not a separate summit. One does pass through growths of cedar trees and a recovering forest of oaks and pines. Cedar Rock is one of the best vantage points from which to view the cliffs of Stone Mountain. In adddition, the terrain at Cedar Rock is more severe than at Wolf Rock and there are a few places where you should be careful if scrambling about.

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Follow the Cedar Rock Trail down the slopes for about one mile to where it intersects the Stone Mountain Loop Trail. Take a left, which will take you back toward the parking area and trailhead. Very soon you will come upon a large field that affords a wonderful view of Stone Mountain and the restored farmhouse and barn and outbuildings that serve as a museum of 19th century farmlife.

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Continue on crossing a creek on nice bridges and within a mile you will find yourself back at the starting point. You will have hiked 3.5 miles and had a vertical climb of about 550 feet by the time you finish your hike.

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Essential Gear

Good hiking boots, a hiking staff, and a liter of water. If you're going to spend some quality time at the clifftops on the summit, either at Wolf Rock or Cedar Rock, packing a lunch would be a great idea.

Wolf Rock/Cedar Rock loop map.

The 3.5 mile loop.

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Images

More rock across the valley....