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Pond Mountain and Stone Mountain - Pond Mountain Game Land, NC

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Length Difficulty Streams Views Solitude Camping
10.7 mls N/A N/A
Hiking Time:
Elev. Gain:
5 hours and 30 minutes with 1 hour and 30 minutes of breaks
2,045 ft
Pond Mountain Game Land
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Park at the Burnt School Cemetery entrance 36.55554, -81.67758

By Trail Contributor: Zach Robbins (Contact Zach)

Typically a mention of the Iron Mountains brings to mind the windswept rocky plateaus of the Grayson Highlands and the two highest peaks in Virginia, Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain. However, the mountain range extends southwest from these popular hiking destinations into the isolated tri-state corner of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Public access in this region is sporadic to say the least. The Tennessee side has a few official horse trails within Cherokee National Forest, while the North Carolina and Virginia side is a mishmash of game land and private property. In 2010, the Blue Ridge Conservancy aided the transfer of nearly 1,800 acres around Pond Mountain to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Now the Pond Mountain Game Land is publicly accessible and the outstanding views from the peaks can be experienced by all. The majority of this hike passes through grazing land and old Christmas tree farms. Since the surrounding land has been cleared, you’ll have superb views with almost every step. The summits of Pond Mountain and Stone Mountain and additional viewpoints provide the finest views of the Iron and Amphibolite mountain ranges in the region.

There are two main access points to the game land, this hike begins at the Burnt School Cemetery entrance which lies centrally between Pond Mountain and Stone Mountain. This is the best access during the winter. The primary entrance forest road, located off of Rock Fence Rd, takes you almost all of the way to the summit of Pond Mountain. However, there are two gates along the entrance road that are seasonally closed, which would make the round trip much longer. We suggest using this entrance from April 1 – January 1.

Mile  Summary and Highlights
0.0 - Follow open forest road into Pond Mountain Game Land
2.7 - Trail split for Pond Mountain and Stone Mountain
4.0 - Pond Mountain summit (4,960 feet) and 360° views
5.7 - Forested summit trail to Stone Mountain
6.1 - Stone Mountain summit (4,980 feet) beside abandoned cabin
6.8 - Tri-state corner of North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia (4,628 feet)
8.0 - High point of old Christmas tree farm with panoramic views
Mid February
Pond Mounntain and Stone Mountain Hike Comments
Archived Comments

By: Jim Hayes Rating: Date of Hike: Saturday, July 28, 2018
Really enjoyed this one. I followed directions and was doing fine until my GPS at 5.3 had me going right onto the second road instead of the first which bypasses around an old tree farm, I wound up heading in the opposite direction and missed the road up to Stone Mountain, realized it after I circled back around the knob and came back onto the main forest road. By that time I was getting tired and just decided to head back to the parking lot and return at a later date and do Stone Mountain. All in all it was a nice and not too difficult hike. Highly recommend it.

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