The Last Man in the Mountain
You’ve heard of the “Old Man in the Mountain,” the giant stone face that fell off its New Hampshire perch in 2003. But have you heard of “Stone Face Rock?”
Tucked away in the mouth of a cramped mountain pass near Pennington Gap in southwestern Virginia, this naturally face-shaped outcropping looms just 150 feet above the road that passes directly underneath. It enjoys far less fame than its former rival up north, but it is equally impressive.
The Powell Valley News, the area’s local newspaper, has long placed the Face on its masthead. Publisher Rick Watson gave us a ride to the Stone Face Food Mart, where the gravel parking lot is the only safe spot to view the rock formation.
When asked about any rivalry that may have existed between his hometown landmark and the more famous face in New Hampshire, Rick said, “Ours is still in place. Theirs is elsewhere.”
See for yourself:
From Pennington Gap, Virginia, head north on US Route 421 for 1.7 miles. You won’t see the Face immediately, but watch for the Stone Face Food Mart on your right. Pull into their parking lot and look behind you. We’re told the formation is lit at night, so an evening trip might be worthwhile.
Again, amazingly, the Google Street View van has been here and captured Stone Face Rock in all its 360¹ glory. You can pan and zoom and explore the area in the box to the right, or check it out full screen here.