It’s possible to have an immersive back-country experience at Stone Mountain State Park, despite being little more than an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Winston-Salem.

A day-trip exploring the park’s many trails or a full weekend of camping feels like a true escape into nature.

At nearly 14,000 acres straddling the Alleghany and Wilkes counties lines, the park is more than a pocket of wilderness tucked into development.

The size of the park allows for a variety of outdoor activities, including camping, hiking, climbing, fishing and horseback riding. For hikers, the park’s namesake granite dome is the most imposing and obvious feature, but the many waterfalls are also worth visiting. For fishers, the park includes 20 miles of designated trout waters.

History buffs will enjoy the Hutchinson Homestead, a mid-19th century homestead at the base of Stone Mountain that illuminates homesteader life from that era. The homestead is handicap accessible for those with limited mobility, and there’s ample space for people to spread out a blanket and picnic or relax against the backdrop of the granite dome.

Campers and backpackers have a number of options at the park. Campsites include amenities such as bathhouses and water spigots, and park staff sell firewood. Campers should make reservations well in advance, spots tend to fill up on the weekends during warm-weather months. Back-country sites are available along Widow’s Creek for backpackers.

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Andrew Dye is a photographer at the Winston-Salem Journal.

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