Stone Mountain Park is a beautiful Atlanta area attraction that is an excellent getaway from the rumblings of the city. The mountain itself is one of Georgia's Seven Natural Wonders. The park features entertainment, kayaking, camping, and most importantly, great hiking opportunities.
The Walk-Up Trail is around a mile from the base to the summit, but there is an option to take a chairlift to the top.
Our exploration of Stone Mountain began with the chairlift ride to the summit of the mountain where there is a visitors' center and museum that covers the history of the area. We spent a little while in the museum before going outside to take in the beauty of Atlanta from 1600 feet up. The view of downtown Atlanta and the distant Kennesaw Mountain range from that high up is pretty stunning. We took a few photos before we began our descent of the dome.
The hike took no time to pick up (or to go down). The one mile distance makes the hike fairly steep. There were many runners and other hikers along the trail which presented a challenge for negotiating through.
The trail itself is clearly marked with a yellow blaze defining the path. We were hiking along on very smooth granite, so being cautious to not slip was on the peak of our priorities. It was definitely tough trying to stop so much downward momentum to avoid those coming in the opposite direction.
We were not only doing the Walk-Up Trail, but we would also the longest trail in the park: the Cherokee Trail.
The two trails connect with each other near the bottom of the Walk-Up Trail. By the time you near the Cherokee Trail trailhead, you are essentially walking down the face of the mountain. The slope is riddled with jagged rocks and you have to rely on the scattered white blazes to lead you to where the trail eventually levels out.
Although this part of the trail is challenging, I found it very fun to navigate down the mountain. What made things even better is that we were literally the only people that decided to undertake the trail; it was definitely nice to get away from the crowd of other areas of the park.
Once the trail leveled out, it was a quiet stroll through a tree lined path for the majority of the time. It was a very hot Georgia summer day so the tree cover was a complete blessing.
You can hear the flow of streams and see gorgeous views of Stone Mountain Lake throughout the hike. You come across Stone Mountain Falls, a picturesque creek with water sliding down the dark granite along with many other small streams.
We stopped for lunch at Stone Mountain Campground which was about three quarters into the hike from where we started before we continued towards our destination.
We ended our hike at the foot of Stone Mountain where we really got to realize its sheer presence. Looking at it from a far, or even hiking down it doesn’t do it justice. After stopping for a photo-op we passed through Confederate Hall (air conditioning!) and made our way back to the hotel for a little relaxation and recuperation after the long but rewarding hike.