There’s a very good chance you’ve never heard of Judaculla Rock, but if you’re an ancient history lover then this is definitely a must-see item to put on the bucket list. You’ll find it just outside of Tuckasegee, NC, about 45 minutes south of Maggie Valley. This is a large soapstone slab covered in ancient carvings (the largest petroglyph in North Carolina). Although its origins are still somewhat unknown, archaeologists have estimated that the carvings are at least 5,000 years old.
*note: Various informational websites claim the rock to be anywhere from 1,300 – 2,000 years old, while others claim the carvings were made in 2,000-3,000 B.C. Either way, it’s ancient and well worth seeing!
The Story of Judaculla Rock
According to Cherokee legend, Judaculla, “the great slant-eyed giant,” was a giant hunter with the ability to control wind, rain, thunder and lightening. Although there are several stories explaining the carvings, the most popular states that the rock represents the hunting laws Judaculla put in place for the prehistoric people. You can read more about the stories here.
What you’ll find at Judaculla Rock
When you travel out to find this amazing petroglyph, be sure to pay close attention to your GPS. There aren’t any major signs guiding you, and the rock sits at the end of a narrow residential road. Park on the side of the road, and follow a short set of steps down to the rock. You’ll find a description of the rock including an artist’s drawing highlighting all of the carvings. That’s it… Seriously, that’s all for this area but it is well worth the drive.
On a side note, you’ll notice in the photo above that there has been some vandalism of the rock in the past. Unfortunately, this is a case of a drunken jackass with no respect for history. Some of the paint has been cleaned off the rock, but not all.