Forty Acre rock is actually a fourteen acre granite rock outcropping located in Lancaster, South Carolina. Millions of years ago a magma intrusion formed the special rock formation. It’s a little over an hour’s drive from Charlotte, and fortunately the surrounding 1,400 acres around the rock have been protected for our next generations. The outcrop is a very unique place to see, I would compare it to the moon’s surface. It also resembles North Carolina’s Stone Mountain. I grew up in Lancaster, and we would visit the rock when I was young. There are some crazy stories about devil worshippers and indian ghosts that would scare us away at nighttime. The outcrop has many huge indentions that people call “Devil’s Footprint”. Supposably the devil sat down on the rock outcropping to rest and left his mark or indention made by his heavy chains that dragged along with him. Rare wildflowers grow in pools created by these indentions. As the rock erodes, it leaves a less acidic soil where these 16 rare plants can thrive. Twelve of the plants are endangered species; and the plant, amphiantus or “pool sprite”, is the rarest. When the pools dry up, the plants release seeds that germinate when the rains return. I’ve also heard stories that the Taxahaw Indian tribe used the rock indentions to grind wheat and corn. Early settlers used rock from the site to build their houses and mills. I’m sure that in some of the caves found throughout the property; that some of the crops were used to make the local’s favorite drink, “White Lightning”. Actually, I’m pretty sure it is still distilled there on the weekends.
Unfortunately, the place does not have any full time security. Graffiti and trash can be a nuisance. However, there is an organization called Friends of Forty Acre Rock that have been working tirelessly on cleaning up not only the trash but the reputation as well. There is a nice trail that snakes through the property and highlights all the special places of interest. There are three significant caves that attract spelunkers and kids, and one of the largest beaver ponds I’ve ever seen. As long as we’re not in what seems to be a periodic droughts, there is a wonderful waterfall that can offer a refreshing break to the heat. In the hot days of the summer, keep an eye out for the rattle snakes. I came face to face with one a couple of years ago, and I’m talking about two feet from my face while bent over. But don’t worry too much about them, Timber rattlers are not very aggressive, and this particular one seemed to have no intention of biting me. Whitetail deer, turkeys, beavers, fox, bobcats, and the mythical Black Panther can be seen frequently running around the land. Just the other day, my son and I found a box turtle and several frogs near a creek. I would recommend the place to anyone looking for a hike near Charlotte that is interested in seeing something different and unique to our piedmont area.