Black Rock Mountain State Park is my absolute favorite place in the entire state of Georgia! Our family has visited several times. This incredibly photogenic state park will leave your family inspired and in awe of the natural world, just like it did ours. Jaw dropping overlooks, waterfalls, extensive hiking trails, and several different types of camping await you!
The park can be found in the Northeastern corner of Georgia. At 3600 feet above sea level, Black Rock is Georgia’s highest state park. It may surprise you to know that Stone Mountain, which is near Atlanta and well known for it’s dazzling views, sits at just over 1000 feet. This great elevation provides Black Rock Mountain State Park with it’s wonderful climate. While the rest of the state of Georgia sizzles in the Summer heat, Black Rock remains a fall like temperature, offering sweet relief. Visitors often need a jacket or sweatshirt even in July. To accommodate that need a well outfitted visitor center sells t-shirts, sweatshirts, and light jackets. Assorted other souvenirs such as magnets, key chains, post cards, and the like are available. The visitor center is immediately adjacent to the main overlook which is breathtaking and offers an aerial view of the town of Clayton below. Hang a hammock and enjoy the breeze!
Camping at Black Rock Mountain
The park offers overnight accommodations by renting cabins, campsites with water and electric, in addition to several walk-in campsites. Additionally, along the more than 10 miles of rugged hiking trails at Black Rock there are four back-country campsites. It is possible to do several point to point backpacking hikes as you move from campsite to campsite. You must have a reservation but you can always check last minute availability by calling the park office before 4 p.m. The main campground has two sections and is on a ridge about half way up the mountain. The roads are narrow but navigable for experienced RV campers. Many campsites will not fit large RV’s so keep that in mind when booking your site. The road up the mountain is just wide enough for two way travel but it is very curvy and quite steep. The walk-in campsites are located off a central parking lot with a bathhouse. Each walk-in campsite is tent only camping. You must carry all gear to the site, which is 50 to 100 yards away from the parking area. Really not that far but it could mean the difference for some visitors.
The park does have a Pioneer camping area that is specifically meant for large groups, though anyone can rent it. The pioneer area has a central cabin that has a refrigerator, microwave, and some seating, but nothing more. There is a loft above and a main hall below where sleeping bags, cots, and air mattresses can be laid out for sleeping. Outside the cabin is a water spigot for drinking and washing dishes as well as several three sided, covered, addirondack shelters with 4 bunks in them. No mattresses though, just wood inlays to roll out sleeping gear. Tent camping is allowed on the grounds near the main cabin. A pit toilet with men’s and women’s divided, serves as the facilities. An outdoor cold water shower is attached to the pit toilet with a privacy stall wrapped around it. The long gravel road to the camp can be very rough and is cut into the side of the mountain. Vehicles with 4 wheel drive or high clearance is recommended.
Black Rock Mountain State Park has 10 cabins and they have 2 bedroom and 3 bedroom versions, all with double queen beds. Every cabin has an elevated porch with rocking chairs on the backside. Cabin 10 is the only dog friendly cabin. Cabin 4 has the best view off the mountain from the back porch and is one of the three bedroom cabins. This makes it the most popular. The cabin area has a simple playground for kids. For a quiet, relaxed vacation, you cannot go wrong in these cabins.
Black Rock Mountain State Park is the ideal location for a vacation in Northeast Georgia. Tallulah Gorge State Park is a 15 minute drive from here. Moccasin Creek State Park is 20 minutes. Helen, Georgia and Brasstown Bald is just an hour. Highlands, North Carolina and the scenic Dry Falls are also about an hour. Franklin, NC is about 45 minutes to the North while Clemson, South Carolina is one hour and ten minutes to the East.
Things to know!
- There is a $5 parking fee for all vehicles. You will need to have cash if the visitor center is not open or if the collection booth is unattended.
- Black Rock stays cool throughout the Summer months due to it’s elevation. While temperatures soar below, Black Rock feels like fall weather most days.
- Black Rock gets nearly as much precipitation each year as does Seattle, Washington.
- Late Spring and Fall are the best times of year to visit. In Spring, Mountain Laurel and Rhododendrum are blooming as well as several wildflowers. The Fall has the annual brilliant color change of the leaves. These are also the busiest seasons.
- Holidays and weekends can be very busy at the park, be sure to reserve ahead of time.
- Georgia reservations can be made 13 months in advance. Book early!
- The cabins at Black Rock are the most proximate State Park cabins to Tallulah Gorge State Park and Moccasin Creek State Park. Those properties only have camping.
- Black Rock’s campground is small and while there are several sites, many cannot accommodate large RV’s and Fifth wheels. The reservations are site specific so plan accordingly.
- The road up the mountain is long, winding and just wide enough for two way traffic. It can be navigated in RV’s but be sure your equipment is up for the climb.
- Bears are plentiful at Black Rock Mountain SP but sightings are less than guaranteed. If you do see bears do not feed them and admire them from a distance. Lock up your food when possible.
- Black Rock closes seasonally from December 1st through March 15th. The ice and snowy conditions make it necessary.
- There is a small trading post in the campground that is usually open on weekends.
- There are several great restaurants near the park, in Clayton. I recommend The U-Joint, Clarks On Main, and Fortify.
- Clayton has a Super Wal-Mart and an Ingles Supermarket. Ingles is closest to the park and has a great selection.
- Visit the Foxfire Museum at the base of Black Rock Mountain. The museum preserves Appalachian settler life with tours, living history, and demonstrations. There is a great book series developed by the museum. Check them out here!
- Clayton has several hotels if you would rather stay in town. There are also several vacation rentals in the area.
Your parking pass for Black Rock Mountain State Park is good for the entire day. Get to Black Rock early, perhaps just after the sun has risen, pay your parking fee, explore the park then take the same pass to Tallulah Gorge and Mocassin Creek State Parks and enjoy them at no additional cost. The three parks can all be seen easily in the same day so this makes for a full day of family adventures for a very small price.
Black Rock Mountain has a small 17 acre lake which is great for taking the kids fishing, viewing gushing water features, hiking the 1 mile long Lake Loop Trail, and some minor rock scrambling. Black Rock Lake is where two of my children caught their first fish.
We wish you the greatest family adventure at Black Rock Mountain State Park. May you find exactly what we found and make the journey your own. Godspeed.