A moderate loop hike to the top of a bald granite summit with spectacular views of the North Carolina mountains.
On the southwest corner of the DuPont State Forest stands an exposed granite bluff – Cedar Rock Mountain. Being very popular with both hikers and mountain bikers, this short trail offers stunning views from atop a unique mountain summit that is unlike any in the region. The trail system at DuPont State Forest is extensive and there are numerous routes you can take to experience Cedar Rock Mountain; however, the trail we are going to highlight is a loop that is about 2.5 miles in length with only a moderate elevation change.
This trailhead for Cedar Rock Mountain starts at the Corn Mill Shoals Access Area which is in Cedar Mountain North Carolina. If you approach from the main visitors center, it will be about 7/10’s of a mile down Cascade Lake Road after turning off Staton Road. The location is well identified and should be easy to spot from the road. It is a very large parking area that should be more than adequate for most days. The Corn Mill Shoals Access Area is about 1 hour from Asheville North Carolina or Greenville South Carolina. There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead. but there is usually a porta-potty present. There are also nice facilities at the main visitor center just 2 miles away.
Check the informative signboard for any area updates before walking across the street to the well marked Corn Mill Shoals Road trail. Walk past the gate into the woods for about 1/10 of a mile and take Big Rock Trail that cuts uphill to the left. After you turn, you will stay on this trail for 9/10’s of a mile following it all the way up to the summit of Cedar Rock Mountain. The climb is steady but gradual and is never too difficult. As you climb up Cedar Rock Mountain the vegetation will continuously become sparse as more of the granite mountain becomes exposed. As you approach the top of the mountain, and the end of Big Rock Trail, you will be treated to a wonderful west facing view of the North Carolina mountains.
Continue up the trail as it enters a wooded area, levels off, and then starts a slight descent. Shortly you will reach the end of Big Rock Trail as the path intersects with the Cedar Rock Trail. This is another exposed granite area that provides great views to the east looking out over the DuPont State Forest and beyond. If you were going to take a break, this would be a great spot to do so; it would also be an epic spot for an afternoon or evening picnic.
When you have finished taking in the sights, continue right on the Cedar Rock Trail heading downhill. The trail can become sparse at times but is typically well marked. There is one section where the trail cuts right and is marked with trail sign on a tree. This is a very beautiful section of the hike since it is so bare. The landscape is unique and you have an almost endless view until you reenter the forest near the bottom of the hill. Keep on the route until you encounter the marked Little River Trail where you will turn right and parallel the Little River for about 1/2 a mile. The Little River Trail will merge back into Corn Mill Shoals trail where you continue back to the parking area and complete this wonderful loop hike inside the Dupont State Forest.