The Transylvania Times -

Destination Hike – Cedar Rock in DuPont Forest


September 2, 2019

Pictured above is the view from the top of Cedar Rock in DuPont State Forest, one of few low-elevation granitic domes in the region. (Times photos by Alex Perri)

Cedar Rock in DuPont State Recreational Forest is one of my favorite hiking/biking trails in the region, and I enjoy both modes of transportation for different reasons. (Horses are also allowed on DuPont trails, though I've yet to explore the forest on horseback.)

Many mountain bikers flock here, as magazines and trail reviews compare the slick rock riding to world class trails in Moab, Utah, and it's a trail thrilling enough to satisfy both hardcore riders and beginners alike.

For those wanting to enjoy the unique ecosystem of the area without risking falling off a cliff while you rubberneck to see panoramic views, a hike is just as enjoyable.

Because of the dense trail network in DuPont, you can make this a shorter or longer hike.

It is one of few low-elevation granitic domes in the area, meaning the hike to the top won't kill you like the trek to similar views in the area, and there are really great pancakes at a nearby restaurant (a very important criterion in my book).

Cedar Rock Trail is one of the most popular mountain Biking trails in the region, and for this I would not recommend using it on a weekend.

However, that certainly doesn't mean you shouldn't visit at all. This hike is my go-to after-work hike, and weekday evenings in the late summer into the fall you'll likely be one of the only ones at the top. The summit via Big Rock trail is less than a mile, and the first look-out spot from this route is an excellent place for a sunset picnic.

Once you reach the wind-swept rock face at the top of Cedar Rock, you'll be able to see clear across the Little River Valley.

The slick rock granite at the top is pock marked with holes, wavy dips from millennia of the rock melting, folding and eroding with the geology of the area.

At the summit, the trail meanders between patches of spongey club moss and rock cairns marking the trail where the trees disappear. Please be careful not to step on any of the delicate vegetation on the rock face.

I particularly enjoy the Dali-esque pine trees at the top that have grown gnarly and weathered from the harsh conditions on the rock face. It's like nothing else in the region.

Hiking Directions

There are a few different routes you can take to reach the top of Cedar Rock, and the route I took on this particular day was around 3.5 miles, but you can shorten it or lengthen it by going up and down Big Rock Trail or by taking the longer loop once you reach the intersection of Cedar Rock Trail (see map).

From Corn Mill Shoals parking lot, cross the street to reach the trailhead. Go around the gate and start walking on the wide gravel path, which is Corn Mill Shoals Trail.

Continue past the first trail on your left, Longside Trail, and take the second left onto Big Rock Trail.

If it's a particularly busy day, be careful to watch for mountain bikers coming down the trail if you're Hiking (and vice versa if you're a biker). If following proper trail etiquette, bikers should yield to hikers and both hikers and bikers should yield to horses. However, the descent is very steep on Big Rock and everyone should be alert and aware of their fellow trail users regardless.

After around .8 miles, you will reach the rock face. From here take your time enjoying the views, and meander along the trail until you reach the intersection of Big Rock and Cedar Rock trails.

Once you reach the intersection, you can turn either left or right to finish your loop. Both directions will take you to Little River Trail, which intersects with Corn Mill Shoals Trail where you started.

I took the shorter route on this day and turned right at the intersection.

Either leg of Cedar Rock Trail is very steep and will take you to Little River Trail. Once you reach Little River Trail, turn right and continue straight until you reach the parking lot (likely a 20 to 30-minute walk). The bridge over the creek crossing on Little River Trail is out (see trail report), so be prepared to get your feet wet.

After the hike (or before if you're early enough to catch breakfast), make sure to stop by Cedar Mountain Café near the entrance of DuPont.

I recommend the huevos rancheros or blueberry pancakes if you're in the mood for something sweet.

Driving Directions from Downtown Brevard

•Take East Main Street to Greenville Highway/ U.S. 276 southeast for 11 miles.

•Turn left on Cascade Lake Road (Cedar Mountain Café will be on this corner) and continue for 1.8 miles.

•You'll see the sign for Corn Mill Shoals parking area on your left. This is the parking area to reach the trail head.


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