Checked into the Allegheny Inn, Sparta, NC. Some of the furniture is a little bit older but it’s clean and comfortable and has all the important updates and, they let us check in early which is wonderful. We’re both tired from the drive and the previous week so we’re going to start this trip off with a nap.
A quick stop at Food Lion for picnic supplies and we headed to Stone Mountain State Park, Roaring Gap, NC, about 16 miles from our motel, for a pre-hike meal.
We came here to do the Stone Mountain Loop Trail (5.3 mile loop, 938’ elevation). Stone Mountain State Park is home to a 600-foot granite dome, designated a National Natural Landmark, and the historic Hutchinson Homestead, a restored mid-19th-century farm situated at the mountain base. The top of the dome offers huge, panoramic views and we want to watch the sunset from the top of the dome ridge. We made it with minutes to spare and sat down to enjoy our very first top of the mountain sunset. It was beautiful. This was our very first night hike and were relieved to see that the 3 pairs of glowing eyes that were staring at us out of the woods were deer and not coyotes. We used these headlamps and they were awesome, they made this whole adventure possible.
There are only a few weeks a year that the park is open late enough, and the sun sets early enough, that you can be up there to watch the sunset and also make it down to the parking lot in time for closing so plan carefully if you’d like to come and experience it , too.