Stone Mountain State Park
Roaring Gap, North Carolina
A Perfect Fit
In many cases, great design is invisible. That’s because the design blends so perfectly into the surroundings that it disappears. The designed elements seem to have emerged from the ground of their own accord. Creating such a design was the goal for the renovations to the Stone Mountain Loop Trail.
The four-mile trail winds through varied terrain along streams, over gentle slopes, and over the top of Stone Mountain across sheer rock faces. Portions of the previously existing trail had been destroyed by severe erosion, creating dangerous conditions for hikers. The owner’s goal was to repair the damaged sections and provide a safe route over the mountain and down the rock face for hikers and emergency personnel.
GFBA’s talented designers proposed a series of renovations. First, a new route up the eastern side of the mountain was delineated. Timber steps and cable railings were added for safety. Four bridges were added along the stream to prevent damage to the trail when the water is high. Timber steps and stone were added to replace the portions of the trail that had washed away.
The real achievement is how the natural materials hide the amount of construction development that went into the renovations.
The real achievement is how the natural materials hide the amount of construction development that went into the renovations. Walking surface materials appear to have been in place all along, and exposed by mere foot traffic. The abutments and foundations for the bridges show no evidence of being man made. Steps and rails look to be upgrades to established foot paths, whereas in reality, they form entirely new routes.
Through site responsive design and the creative use of natural materials, GFBA gave Stone Mountain a trail system that blends in perfectly with its surroundings. The renovated trails are safer and more accessible for park visitors, and they are less expensive to maintain.