Located in northeast Georgia, Black Rock Mountain State Park is defined by the black biotite that covers the region and is named after the Black Rock Mountain on whose grounds it rests. Surrounded by attractive scenery, the park covers 1,743 acres overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains. Sitting at 3,640 feet, the park boasts a relatively cooler climate and is the highest elevation in Georgia, consisting of four scenic overlooks. Standing on the eastern Continental Divide and Blue Ridge Overlook, visitors can get unparalleled views of Georgia and the surrounding states of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.
In addition, the park has other observation points including the Cowee Overlook and Nantahala Overlook, making it a favorite RV camping destination in Rabun County, Georgia. Consisting of 11 miles of hiking trails, this rugged terrain spread across diverse habitats is a jewel for outdoor lovers. Black Rock Mountain State Park features outdoor recreation such as fishing, biking, and boating. For those interested in plant life, the park has an area dedicated to a variety of plant species.
Since its establishment in 1952, Black Rock Mountain State Park has risen from the initial 1,000 acres to its current size. Wild turkey, songbirds, and grouse can be seen in the park as well as animals such as deer, foxes, and bobcats. Occasionally black bears may be sighted too. Trail maps and brochures on area attractions are available at the visitor’s center. Additionally, the visitor’s center serves as an observatory deck due to its raised elevation. No matter what time of year you visit in your RV, there is so much to see and do at Black Rock Mountain State Park.
Situated just three miles north of the City of Clayton off U.S Highway 441, to get here you will drive up to Mountain City and then branch to the left once you get to the brown directional sign. Drive on for seven miles until you get to the Black Rock Mountain Parkway. The scenic drive to the top of Black Rock Mountain Park is paved but is winding and curvy. Due to the very steep, narrow, and tight turns, bigger RVs may find it harder to navigate to the top.
Extra caution is required when accessing the park during the winter months. Depending on the season, some sections may experience ice and snow during the winter and paths get muddy when it’s raining. Therefore, some areas in the park may be inaccessible and are often closed from December to mid-March. However, if you park your RV and walk or bike, the 11 miles of spectacular trails will lead you to different sections in parks.
There are plenty of parking lots such as the large one by the visitor’s center where you can find a spot to park the rig. The lake’s parking area offers access to most of the trails. On weekends, the road from Clayton may experience heavy traffic. It is best to arrive in the park during the day as the area may have fog and haze in late evenings and early mornings, which limits your visibility.
Located in the midst of rhododendron and oaks, Black Rock Mountain State Park features the family-friendly Hickory Grove Campground with 48 campsites available for tents, RV, and trailers. Pets are welcome but must be restrained on a leash and supervised at all times during your stay. Even some sites at the campground can fit a rig up to 50 feet long, it is recommended that RVs of 20 feet and under are more suitable for navigating the roads within the park. Campsites have cable TV, water, and electric hookups. In addition, each campsite has a campfire ring with a grill for cooking, a picnic table, and a large cleared space.
The park features amenities such as bear-proof trash cans, water spigots, laundry facilities, grills, hot showers, modern restrooms, and a dump station. Cell phone reception is reported to be decent, but Wi-Fi access is spotty in some areas. If you need to replenish your supplies, there is a gas station, plenty of stores for shopping, and restaurants in Clayton, which is about three miles away.
There are no first-come, first-served options at this state park.
In addition to the RV campsites, there is a pioneer group camping area for up to 50 people, and 12 walk-in tent campsites that can be reserved up to 13 months in advance. There are also four backcountry campsites which require visitors to have a permit in order to be allowed to camp. There are no facilities in any of these more primitive campsites, and campers will have to bring their own water and hike to the area. Some of these sites are quite a long and strenuous trek from the parking area so be prepared before heading out.
You will have to use the pack it in, pack it out practices where you do not leave anything behind that will affect other campers or wildlife. This includes biodegradable waste, which should be carried out.
The park also offers 10 mountain top cottages for those who would rather have more comfortable and furnished surroundings.
Named in honor of Georgia’s renowned botanist and naturalist, Marie Barlow Mellinger, this center was opened in October 2011 and regularly hosts special events. Sprawling over 1,484 feet, the center is famous for live gospel music and other musical performances. The legacy of Marie Barlow lives in the naturalist programs regularly held in the park. From the Marie Mellinger Center, visitors will love soaking in the beauty of Clove Trail. The center also has games for kids and adults including ring toss, corn hole, washers, ladder toss, and horseshoes.
Nestled in the mountain ridges, Black Rock Mountain State Park offers guests the perfect picnic area to relax, enjoy with friends, and explore the stunning countryside. Thanks to the park’s cooler temperatures and two covered picnic areas, this is an ideal picnicking spot all year round. Each of the two pavilions can accommodate up to 50 people comfortably. Additionally, the picnic areas feature picnic tables, grills, water, restrooms, and electricity. To burn some calories afterward or to keep the kids busy, there is a spacious playground and several trails nearby.
Black Rock Mountain State Park has five trails passing through forests, wildflowers, waterfalls, streams, and valleys. The park has some of the best marked and maintained trails among Georgia’s state parks. Despite being on mountainous terrain, the park offers trails of varying difficulty and lengths. From the easiest, and shortest 0.1-mile Norma Campbell Cove Trail to the strenuous but scenic 7.2-mile James E. Edmond Backcountry Trail, they offer visitors a perfect opportunity to explore the lush green forest and transverse the diverse landscapes.
You may have heard of geocaching but do not know what it is, or you may be a seasoned geocacher. Either way, you can enjoy this electronic hunting game here that gets you out in the wild looking for treasures using your phone’s GPS as a guide. Each cache is a waterproof container that has a logbook to sign and trinkets to trade. At Black Rock Mountain State Park, they have their own special caches provided by the state of Georgia that have codes you can trade for coins. Make sure you put the cache back where you found it so other people can find it too.
If you love boating, you will have to pack a small non-motorized boat such as a kayak or canoe in the camper since there are no boat rentals within the facility. The Black Rock Lake is a beehive of thrilling water sports activities such as boating, kayaking, and paddling. Since the lake started to allow boating in September 2010, the lake has been a magnet for paddlers who enjoy spending their days on the water. Surrounded by mountains and mature forests, you cannot find a more beautiful place to go boating.
Dotted with four scenic overlooks, Black Rock Mountain State Park offers a great setting for photography so be sure to pack your camera in your rig. Whether you are using a fancy camera or just your cell phone, there is plenty to capture here. Endowed with picturesque trails, scenic waterfalls, and amazing sunset views, this park is a great place to spend your time capturing nature at its finest. The serene lake provides the perfect backdrop for family photographs as well.
Once you park your RV on the lake's parking lot, you can follow the beautiful one-mile Black Rock Lake Trail that encircles the lake to access the fishing area. The 17-acre Black Rock Lake is stocked with rainbow trout usually found near the piers, catfish, and bream. Licensed anglers and kids can enjoy spending time together with their family catching dinner and sharpening their fishing skills. The park has a fishing bridge and wheelchair accessible Turtle Rock Fishing Pier.
High above the city of Clayton, Black Rock Mountain offers fantastic places to do some bouldering or rock climbing. Many of the largest are only about 30 to 40 feet in height so these climbs are typically mild and good for beginners. The Main Wall near Clayton is mostly sandstone and granite and has bolts and cables installed by the U.S. Army Rangers for safety. Some of the spots have two-pitch climbs where you need multiple rope lengths so you should be prepared for that when you visit.