Climb To The Top Of The Hollow Rock Trail In North Carolina For Amazing Views From High Above The Surrounding Terrain
If you want incredible views from the mountaintops in North Carolina, they are a dime a dozen (but still spectacular!) if you travel to the pure western part of the state. But there’s another spot in the Brushy Mountains long before you get to the Blue Ridge Parkway or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
To get high above the surrounding terrain nearer to the central part of the Tar Heel State, you need only travel to Rocky Face Mountain.
First operated as a quarry starting in the early 1900s, the site was eventually closed in the 1940s and was adjacent to an old prison camp.
Today, one of the trails in the park is named Prison Camp Trail.
Rocky Face Mountain opened to the public for recreation in 2012 and is comprised of 318 acres, including a total of six miles of (different) trails that lead to the top of the park's centerpiece: a granite dome that rises 600 feet above the ground.
In comparison, that's like a 60-story office building!
No matter the trail you choose, hiking to the top of the dome is no easy feat.
The Hollow Rock Trail is one of the best and is 3.1 miles, round trip. With a total elevation gain of 688 feet, it's quite the journey.
Multiple overlooks on the top of the dome offer amazing views. You'll want to carve out enough time to sit down, breathe deeply, and enjoy every second.
Rocky Face Mountain is also the site of the only vertical mile race in North Carolina. Participants run a total of 16 miles and circle a loop that includes a steep grade up the rock face of the dome. To run a vertical mile up and a vertical mile back down, runners complete the trail loop a total of eight times.
The day time race takes place each year on the third Saturday in June. And an exciting nighttime rendition of the same race takes place on the first Saturday in October each year. Learn more about the
vertical mile challenge, here
When you're looking for a cool mountain hiking trail and don't want to travel all the way to the extreme western part of North Carolina, check out the trails (and the Hollow Rock Trail) at Rocky Face Mountain near Hiddenite.
Learn more about the trail and get trail maps from our friends at
AllTrails.com. During COVID and the re-opening phases following COVID, some visitors have reported some trails have been closed. If you want to double-check open/close status for Rocky Face Mountain, you can check the website here, or try giving them a call at (828)632-1093. The recreation area is generally open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. but you can confirm that on the website as well.
For more nearby attractions to check out while you’re in the area,
dig for rare gemstones at Emerald Hollow Mine in Hiddenite, and then take a short drive over to Love Valley, a tiny town in North Carolina where cars are banned and people get around on horseback!
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Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area, 3451 Rocky Face Church Rd, Hiddenite, NC 28636, USA