Height: 25 feet
Trail Type: Gravel, dirt, rock, and stairs
Hike Distance: 2 miles round trip
These falls are located on the property of Stone Mountain State Park. For some reason, many people are surprised to learn that there is a Stone Mountain in North Carolina since the one in Georgia tends to get all of the publicity. And if you’ve visited Stone Mountain in Georgia, then you know exactly what the one in North Carolina looks like. Just add more trees.
Middle Falls is really only worth visiting if you’re trying to hike a lot inside the park. The view from the trail puts you in the middle of the falls, and you’d need to scramble down to the pool below to get a good view. If water levels are up, you’ll be getting very wet.
From Exit 286A on US 421 in Wilkesboro, follow NC highway 18 north for about 5.5 miles and turn right onto Mountain View Road. Follow this road until it ends and turn left onto Traphill Road. Go about 10 miles and turn left onto John P. Frank Parkway. Follow this road as it enters the park. You’ll come to a crossroads for a parking area and a maintenance building. Keep going a short distance to the larger parking area on the left.
The trail starts out gently sloping along the mountainside within earshot of Big Sandy Creek, which feeds Stone Mountain Falls. The downside of taking this route is that the trail comes out to the top. Here, you leave the dirt and gravel and walk along pretty heavily slanted exposed rock, which could be slippery if it’s recently rained. You’ll then descend approximately 300 steps – hence why I gave this a high difficulty rating. The boardwalk splits just before the base of Stone Mountain Falls and continues along the creek for a bit before you reach an intersection where the trail switchbacks across a smaller creek.
Go this way before you come to another split in the trail. Going straight requires another creek crossing to take you to Lower Falls, which I promise you isn’t worth it. Instead, turn right and follow the trail to Middle Falls.