most western of Virginia's mountain
treasures, Stone Mountain is one of the core areas in a large block
of suitable bear habitat that extends from northern Lee County
into Kentucky. It features a gated cave listed among the significant
caves of Virginia, two rare salamanders, and lands adjacent to the
North Fork of the Powell River, which is habitat for the spiny riversnail
and other mollusks. Stone Mountain is one of four semi-primitive non-motorized
recreation areas in the Clinch Ranger District.
Hikers access the area through the Payne Branch and Stone Mountain
Mountain Trail features mansion-sized boulders, a dismantled lookout tower site,
fern-covered slopes, and sheer cliffs with inspiring views across Powell
Valley to Powell Mountain. At the rim of the mountain, the
trail is surrounded by stands of large tulip trees, maples, and oaks. The area
contains 100 acres of possible old growth.
All mineral rights in Stone Mountain, except for one 580-acre tract, are owned
by the Forest Service. The area was identified as roadless in RARE II, but was
omitted by the Forest Service in the most recent inventory. The area meets the
Forest Service standards for low road density and naturalness; conservationists
maintain the area qualifies as roadless.
Approximate Size: 3,361 acres
Location: Lee County, between VA 621 and the North Fork of the Powell River,
Clinch Ranger District