It’s hard to believe that a place like this can be found only an hour away from Charlotte, North Carolina. It is so little known that unless you are an avid rock climber, you have most likely never heard of it.
Sticking high up above the lower valley landscape surroundings is Rocky Face Mountain and Recreation area. This hidden gem is sure to challenge your hiking skills and provide you with stunning views as the sweetest reward once you make it to the top. A popular Vertical Mile Challenge is held here every year bringing people of all levels of life looking to either prove themselves or get inspired.
Located in the small town of Hiddenite, North Carolina, Rocky Face Recreational Area offers miles of hikes catering to all hiking levels, rock climbing, a nature inspired playground and picnic areas. The Park is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Bathrooms, picnic shelters and a Visitor Center are located right next to two large parking lots. The Park does get busy on weekends but it is very quiet during the week so plan accordingly.
We usually start our hike from the Visitor Center at the first parking lot following the path behind it. A windy shaded well marked path follows the trail before reaching the rocky hill that is the Vertical Mile. Tree roots are abundance here but thankfully they are always marked and visible.
Once you pass the little picnic area along the trail prepare yourself for the challenge ahead of you. If you need take a rest on the benches before in barking on what’s ahead of you. A steep virtual rock face going straight up is what you’ll do next. Make sure to turn around and look behind you at the stunning views of the valley spreading for miles and miles before your eyes.
The hike is lovely during all seasons but especially beautiful during the fall months. If you are ever to visit here pick the months between September and November. You won’t be disappointed.
If you made it that far congrats! Most people head out the other way and never come this side of the trail. If you think that that side is too much for you too skip the first parking lot and park at the second. From there take the trail on your left and head to the top. You would still be able to enjoy the views but without the intense climb. It’s a relatively easy hike from this side with a gradual incline and various overlooks along the ways. Benches are located along the trail of you need to rest.
If you are on the end of the steep side of the trail and see this clock in front of you continue on the winding path and take a right where the road splits.
The path will bring you to other side of the mountain and to unbelievable views of rolling hills. You’ll pass by a picnic bench with an opening for a view and then another split. Take a right to get to the good views and than loop back to another opening with a bench and a picnic table. Make sure to stop and take the views in. They are stunning.
From this point the path would loop you back to the main trail and down to the second parking lot. You’ll be passing on the top of the Rocky Face. Metal ropes surround the top for your protection and ropes are following the side of the mountain which you can hold on to where the steep parts of the trail are.
On the bottom of the mountain is where you’ll find the spots for rock climbing. Rock climbing is only allowed by permit.
Follow the Rascal Trail For fun if you brought the kids with you. A nature inspired playground with a large slide, zip line, rock cave, sand pit and hammocks await you for the ultimate fun experience. Benches are located by the structures where parents can take a seat and supervise their little ones. Make sure to take a walk around the little trail afterward and read about the plants and wildlife you can find in the area.
Rocky Face Recreational Area is located on 3451 Rocky Face Church Road in Hiddenite, NC.