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566 Stone Mountain, Ga
Part One

Stone Mountain from the shores of Venable Lake.

A couple of weeks ago we visited Stone Mountain, GA to record the trails for cloudhiking.com. Amy, my wife, had never been to the park; but I had grown up in Atlanta and visited the Park as a Boy Scout numerous times. Then, a few years back while Amy was attending a meeting in Atlanta, I went to the Park to hike. I had a great day and wanted to return.

Finally, we decided to make the short trip to Atlanta. Waking early, we left Nashville at 6 and drove to the Park. When we arrived, we paid our admission fee and inquired about the trails and parking. Soon we were at a trail access point. We split up so that we could cover all of the trails more quickly. Amy and Jake, the dog, hiked a few odd connecting trails and the Nature Trail, while I walked the Cherokee Trail, a loop trail that encompasses the mountain.

The information I found showed the Cherokee Trail was five and a half miles long, so we decided to meet back at the car in two hours.

Most of my hike would have been rated as easy. Starting near the Confederate Hall at the base of the mountain, I walked a connector trail until joining the Cherokee Trail. Though I was walking alone, there were plenty of hikers in the Park. After going about a mile from my starting point, I began to hear music, loud music. I couldn't figure out who would be playing music so loud; but then came to the open lawn below the Memorial's carvings ... to my surprise, the area had been converted to Snow Mountain. Yes, kids were playing in the snow in Georgia. It was a very busy area. I walked quickly and soon passed the noise.


Snow Mountain

Snow Mountain

Not far beyond Snow Mountain was the Grist Mill and the start of the lakes. The trail continued for a few miles (over half the length of the trail was along water) near the shores of the lakes. Soon I was near the Nature Trail, where Jake and Amy were hiking. After crossing the train tracks, I climbed the trail on the shoulder of the mountain. This was a fun section of the trail, as the trail crossed exposed sections of granite for a good distance. After crossing the Walk Up Trail (leading to the summit) the Cherokee Trail descended to return me to the parking area.

Amy had been there a few minutes before me. She had had a good hike and Jake was tired. We had parked in the shade and the vehicle was a cool place for him to rest while we climbed the mountain. Dogs are not allowed on the mountain.

I thought the Cherokee Trail was busy; but it was nothing like the masses on the Walk Up Trail. We had to have been hiking with close to a thousand people. Some folks were like us, tourists, climbing the mountain; but others were using the mountain for fitness training. It was a unique experience.


From the Summit, Atlanta in the distance

Atlanta from the Summit of Stone Mountain

Stone Mountain Park is an urban park, not a wilderness area. It is a special outdoor recreational haven within a short distance of Atlanta. If you are in the area, it is worth the visit. In fact, it was worth the drive from Nashville.

Happy Stone Mountain trails

Stone Mountain Part 2


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