Tuesday, April 8, 2008

ROADTRIP: Stone Mountain State Park (Roaring Gap, NC)

Located about 140 miles west of Raleigh, NC, Stone Mountain State Park is a beautiful spot to spend an afternoon. The park, created in 1975, features large, smooth granite rock faces and a number of waterfalls. Most visitors will take the short hike to Stone Mountain falls, enjoying a number of different views. If you keep going past the main attraction, you will be delighted by babbling, rocky brooks and the smaller, but more serene Lower and Middle Falls.

Besides having a great water features, the park also has some interesting tree species that are special treats for those living in the Piedmont, including white pines and eastern hemlocks. Some of the ridges are also covered with scarlet and chestnut oaks. This park is sure to be a crowd-pleaser during the spring bird migrations (think: scarlet tanagers), which should be starting shortly.

After your hike, be sure to stop into the small visitor center to view some old folk art and learn about the natural history of the area. Wine enthusiasts can also stop into a number of local vineyards for tastings -- McRitchie Winery is highly recommended.