Ascent of Stone Mountain on 2013-08-17

Climber: Tom Layton

Date:Saturday, August 17, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Stone Mountain
    Location:USA-North Carolina/Tennessee
    Elevation:4980 ft / 1517 m

Ascent Trip Report

Stone Mountain is also known as Glenn BM on some reports. It is part of the Pond Mountain Game Lands, a 2,000-acre preserve that was formerly a vast Christmas tree farm. If you bought a Fraser Fir in south Florida the last 20 years, there's a good chance it came from these slopes.

Read the story of Pond Mountain in the January 2012 issue of Our State magazine.

The NC Wildlife Commission recently improved the 4WD road into the game lands, and I had no problem driving up in my old front-wheel drive Accord. There are three gates that are closed in various seasons. From September through December, you should be able to drive to the third gate almost to the top of Pond Mountain. When I visited in August, the second gate was closed, which adds 1.7 miles to the roundtrip hikes. In winter when the first gate is closed, it's 4.7 miles round trip just to get to the trailhead.

On this hike, I continued a half-mile past the top of Stone Mountain to reach the tri-state corner of NC, TN, and VA.

The trails follow old farm roads that crisscross the mountain and are still used for Christmas tree harvests. Only the main road is shown on the Wildlife Commission map, so you'll find it helpful to have GPS and satellite photos. It's easy to take the wrong road, and the route I took involves a short bushwhack too.

For the purpose of this report, the mileages are from the third gate at the end of the gravel road.

0.0 miles (4880 elevation) September through December, you can park at the end of the gravel road, which is a designated camping area next to an old landing strip. (April through August, you have to park 0.85 miles further back at the second gate.) Be mindful of hunters--hikers are guests on their land.

0.1 miles (4920) Summit of Pond Mtn is a short distance to the left of the trail. Now that the Christmas trees are gone, the views are limited only by the weather. On my hike, it was fogged in.

0.9 miles (4520) After a steady descent, reach a T intersection and turn L. There are stakes here marking the trail for horseback riders.

1.2 miles (4580) After crossing the bump with spot elevation 4664, you reach a fork with grassy roads going north and south of a tree farm on the ridge ahead. These roads form a loop. I took the R fork.

1.6 miles (4680) The farm road crests on the back side of the tree farm. From here, bushwhack up the ridge, working past a small bog next to the road.

1.8 miles (4820) Emerge into a clearing and see a barbed-wire fence and no-trespassing signs just beyond a washed-out road. No need to cross the fence. Follow the old road uphill, paralleling the fence, until it tops out. (I didn't explore the old road downhill, but satellite photos indicate that it probably connects with the loop around the tree farm to the west of where I bushwhacked.)

2.2 miles (4960) Reach an abandoned house on the summit. I didn't bring the USGS datasheet and could not find Glenn BM. Later, I read that it is supposed to be 7 feet from the corner fencepost across the road from the house. The actual HP is probably a boulder across the road from a utility shed south of the house.

2.4 miles (4800) Descending from the house, reach another fork and stay to the right. (I mistakenly took the left fork, which leads a quarter mile to an open bald and continues toward unranked Catface Ridge.) The right fork continues downhill.

2.7 miles (4640) Just before another tree farm, trampled grass on the left side of the road marks the way to the tri-corner benchmark, which is just a few steps off the road, mounted in a rock that has been chiseled with the four cardinal directions.

There is a shorter route to Stone Mtn/Glenn BM from Whitetop VA described in Rob Carter's trip report, but his way does not include the Pond Mtn summit.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1600 ft / 487 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1600 ft / 486 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.6 mi / 10.6 km
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Breezy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:900 ft / 274 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 100 ft / 30 m; Extra: 800 ft / 243m
    Loss on way in:800 ft / 243 m
    Distance:3.3 mi / 5.3 km
    Route:farm roads
    Start Trailhead:End of NC Game Lands road  4880 ft / 1487 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:800 ft / 243 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 100 ft / 30 m; Extra: 700 ft / 213m
    Gain on way out:700 ft / 213 m
    Distance:3.3 mi / 5.3 km
    Route:farm roads
    End Trailhead:4880 ft / 1487 m

This page has been served 1038 times since 2005-01-15.

Copyright © 1987-2019 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service