Like some of the other impressive plutons in the southeast, Wolf Rock is overshadowed by another more well known and often visited peak. In this case, Wolf Rock lies just across a stream-cut valley from North Carolina's Stone Mountain. Located within the Stone Mountain State Park, Wolf Rock offers some of the finest views of its slightly loftier and steeper neighbor.
Formed of granite, the peak is capped by a young forest of pines, cedars, and oaks that seem to thrive in the very thin soil there. The area is thick with white-tailed deer, offering refuge to a very large herd. There are a number of impressive waterfalls around Wolf Rock, and more than 17 miles of trout stream meander around the mountain. When climbing the mountain, the hiker will see many signs of past human habitation in the form of logging roads, rock walls being overtaken by forest, and free-standing chimneys--farmhouses long since reclaimed into the soil.
Stone Mountain from Wolf Rock.
Wolf Rock is located just below and slightly east of the eastern continental divide. While the peak does get some severe winter weather, it is low enough so that it misses much of the harsher weather that strikes just westward, acting as a kind of foothill to the peaks that rise three thousand feet and higher to the west.
Getting ThereFrom I-77 take US21 North toward Roaring Gap/Sparta. Turn off US 21on SR 1002 and follow it to the John P. Frank Parkway which leads into Stone Mountain State Park. Cotinue on the road inside the park to the Stone Mountain parking area for the various trailheads. All of the prinicpal trails inside the park begin from a single trailhead.
To get to the summit, begin at the Stone Mountain trailhead parking area. All trails begin from the same trailhead area. Soon after beginning the hike toward the summit of Stone Mountain the Wolf Rock Trail moves off on the right. The Wolf Rock Trail is 1.5 miles and is rated "strenuous" by the park service. (I found it quite easy.) Just beyond the Wolf Rock cliffs you come to an intersection with both the Black Jack Ridge Trail and the Cedar Rock Trail. For a good and shorter round trip, take the Cedar Rock Trail which leads past very nice cliffs featuring wonderful views of Stone Mountain and the rock climbing areas across the valley. This trail is only 1 mile long and ends at the Stone Mountain loop trail. Head left at the terminus for another one mile back to your starting point along a level trail for a round trip 3.5 miles. Total elevation gain from the trailhead is about 550 feet.
On Wolf Rock.
Red TapeNo admission fee. All rock climbers should register at the park office. Any solo rock climbing must be done by experienced climbers only.
When To ClimbFor hiking, all year. For rock climbing, Fall and Spring are the best times.
Widows Creek Falls.
Camping is allowed inside Stone Mountain State Park at both developed and primitive campsites. The fee at developed sites (electric and water) are $20 per night. There are some back country campsites along Widow's Creek and are available on a first-come basis. Call the park office for fees (336)957-8185. Camping is allowed only at designated sites.
Mountain ConditionsCheck the weather for Roaring Gap, NC.