094 – Middle Falls at Stone Mountain

Accessibility – Moderate

Height – 20′ (Sliding Rock Type)

Distance – 2.0 miles + 300 steps to get down to the bottom (out and back)

Beauty – 6

Photo rating – 6

Solitude – 6

GPS Info: LAT 36.3816 LONG -80.0395

Middle Falls on Big Sandy Creek is downstream of Stone Mountain Falls. As the crow flies the two falls are 0.3 miles apart but hiking it is closer to 0.70 of a mile. The easiest and shortest way to get to Middle Falls is to hike to Stone Mountain Falls and bear right when the staircase splits near the base. This will keep you on the Stone Mountain Loop Trail. The closest trailhead is the Upper Parking Area on the left past the visitors center. If you’re doing the summit and all the falls you can park at either access. There are facilities at the Upper and Lower trailheads and the trail system is well marked. To get to the falls from the Upper Parking Area follow the sign indicating Stone Mountain Falls. The trail splits when it reaches the Stone Mountain Loop Trail. Look for the stone chimney. For the sake of getting to the waterfall, bear left at the loop trail. If you want to make this a loop hike, after seeing Middle and Lower Falls, you continue on the loop trail to the summit but this is the more difficult route to the summit.

Trail will head generally downhill for a short time before a short set of steps leads you onto an exposed section of rock at the top of Stone Mountain Falls. The edge of the rock is fenced off but the way down follows along the fence to more steps. A lot more steps, 300+ steps. Near the bottom of the stairs the staircase splits. The loop trail bears to the right while the base of Stone Mountain Falls is to the left. If you’re coming from the base of Stone Mountain Falls, bear to the left and follow the steps down to the trail. The connector trail to Middle and Lower Falls is on the left about 0.50 of a mile from the base of Stone Mountain Falls. It is pretty obvious as it follows Big Sandy Creek.

The trail to Middle and Lower Falls comes in from the left about half a mile from Stone Mountain falls. The route is very pretty and along the way there is a rocky outcropping that requires additional exploration as well as a large overhanging boulder that my daughter said looks like a frog! This trail goes for 0.5 of a mile before splitting again. It is signed with an arrow pointing to the right for Middle Falls. Continuing straight will lead to Lower Falls and does requires two creek crossings. Expect another 0.5 a mile hike to lower falls from the split. The trail to Middle Falls is short and level until the very end. It will head uphill for a brief time before descending more steeply toward the side of the waterfall. The most obvious access puts you onto the side of the Sliding Rock style waterfall just above the main drop. There used to be two ways to the base. The scary trail or sliding on your bottom, which several kids were doing while we were there in 2015. At that time there was a rope to pull yourself back up. On my 2016 trip the rope was gone, leaving only one route. Where the trail comes down to the waterfall and makes a left, a less obvious path continues ahead. This section of the trail is dark and damp as it move along the edge of a rockface with a 10-12 foot drop if you slip. After crossing the ledge, the trail descends to the second obstacle, where a steep trail goes under an enormous stone. Once under the stone you will be on a small sandy area below the falls.

A giant frog presiding over the trail to Middle Falls – August 2015
Down below Middle Falls – May 2016
The pool at the base – May 2016
To get there you will be crawling through here – May 2016
This is the view from the other side – May 2016