Stone Mountain Park, Atlanta
Way back in 1991, while on a summer trip with my parents and brother, I visited Stone Mountain Park and spent the night at the at the adjacent Stone Mountain Inn. Located in the eastern suburbs of Atlanta, Stone Mountain is actually a massive monolith--solid granite that has pushed up through the earth's crust to form a mountain of solid rock. A skylift takes visitors from the base to the top of Stone Mountain. Along the way visitors can behold the gigantic carvings of three Confederate generals on horseback that have been carved into the facade of the mountain, similar in fashion to the more famous Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. At night, this face of the mountain comes alive with spectacular laser and fireworks shows.
A really big rock of granite east of the city, Stone Mountain has good and bad past references.....They used to have KKK meetings at the top back in the bad old days, and lots of Civil War stuff happened around there, but it is a gorgeous hunk of rock for climbing, boating in the lake, fishing, sightseeing, a train ride and a laser show in the summer against the famous carving on the side of the mountain portraying Robert E Lee ahorseback.....
This is a huge festival taking up a large part of one area of the Stone Mountain Park and parking can be hectic midday---best to get there early and get a parking spot near the exit.........Lots of handmade crafts, metal sculptures, antiques, food and drink and also entertainment from country stars to rock and roll. This years fest is from September 9-12...It will still be pretty warm this time of the year so dress accordingly.....very family friendly---they also have food tastings with local restaurant chefs....
Stone Mountain features the largest Bas-relief sculpture in the world. Started around 1916 by Gutzon Borglum, later commissioned to complete Mount Rushmore, it wasn't until 1972 that the sculpture was considered finished. Commissioned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the sculpture depicts Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and their horses, Blackjack, Traveller, and Little Sorrel.
The mountain itself is a monadnock, or inselberg, made up of quartz monzonite rock. At the summit, the elevation is 1686 feet (513m) above sea level and 825 feet (251.5m) above the surrounding area. There are several trails around the base of the mountain as well as a trail to the summit. The Walk-up Trail is 1.3 miles (2.1 km) to the top and features a very steep incline. The trail can become very slippery in wet weather conditions and it is advised to use the Skyride cable cars.
The view from the top offers an amazing landscape. The entire city of Atlanta is visible from the summit as well as the Appalachian Mountains on especially clear days. Be sure to check the weather before heading out to this destination. Rain or fog will not make for a good experience.
Stone Mountain is a quartz monzonite dome monadnock. It rises to 1,686 feet (513 m) elevation and 825 feet (251.5 m) from the ground. If that was not impressive enough, it is also the largest bas relief sculpture in the world of three Confederate leaders of the Civil War, President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson proudly riding on their favorite steeds "Blackjack," "Traveller," and "Old Sorrel,". This carving measures 3 acres (12,000 m2), about the size of three football fields. The carving dimensions of the three men are 400 feet (120 m) above the ground, 90 by 190 feet (58 m), and are recessed 42 feet (13 m) into the mountain.
The carving sprung from the idea in 1912 from Mrs. C. Helen Plane, member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. In 1916 Gutzon Borglum was commissioned to do the carving, but was reassigned in 1923 to finish Mount Rushmore. Augustus Lukeman continued until 1928 and sadly it stood unfinished for over thirty years. In 1958 the mountain was purchased by the state from the Venable family and in 1964 Walker Hancock assigned started carving, but once again it was passed on to another, Roy Faulkner. It finally was finished on March 3, 1972.
At 1686 feet tall, it stands above anything around the area to the east of the city. Kennesaw Mountain is the only rival to height and size. The area park is 3,200 acres and at the east end of the city. The three figures of great soldiers are carved into the mountainside. Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson DAvis are of fame to the South for what they gave for the cause. It covers 3 acres, or 3 football fields in size. It is 190x90 feet. The mountain is 5 miles around the perimeter, and there are numerous walk paths to take. At the main part there is a small area of the history. In the summers they hold lazer shows with beams of light shining up the sky. The added attractions for visitors includes a lot of "tacky" things to do for adults and kids.
We were planning to spend only a few hours but ended up a whole day and had a ball. A lot of things where closed because the season was over but still there was plenty to see and to do. I still smile when I hear "I feel good" on the radio because that song reminds me of the duck-ride and the silly whistles. We had a wonderful time.
The 3,200 acres offer the city's best singular recreational opportunity: 10 miles of hiking trails, 15 miles of biking-jogging paths, golf, tennis, fishing and water slides. A 1.3-mile trail takes visitors to the top of the mountain. A gondola also whisks visitors past the sculpture and to the top.
The world's largest hunk of exposed granite features a giant relief sculpture of Confederate leaders. A Civil War theme park, two hotels and a huge recreational spread figure prominently. The restored antebellum plantation, scenic railroad and paddlewheel boat are popular.
July, 2007. We wanted to ride the cable car to the top of the mountain, ride the train, eat a late lunch, and watch the laser show. We arrived around 3:00. The wonderful lady in the ticket booth told us that the All Attractions pass went down after 4:00 from $19 to $14, so we ate lunch first at Miss Katie's Sideboard. Really good southern food. Then purchased our tickets at 4:00. First we rode to the top of the mountain (no point in going if you don't go to the top). Then we went to the lawn in front of the mountain and laid down our blanket to "stake our claim" for a spot to watch the laser show. Then we rode the train and walked through the shops. (The funnel cake with butter pecan icecream on top was to die for.) Then we went to our blanket around 7:30 - 8:00. Glad we had put our blanket down earlier. There was hardlly a spot left. Laser light show was great! It started around 9:30 so by the time it was over it made for a late evening. Worth it, though. (Parking was $8)
Stone Mountain is most famous for its "Confederate Mount Rushmore" with the world's largest relief carving featuring President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson. It was originally begun in 1923 by Gutzon Borglum, one of the men who would later create the more famous Mount Rushmore. After a dispute, a new sculptor named Augustus Lukeman continued the project but quickly ran out of money in 1928 and the monument remained unfinished for years, featuring just the head of General Lee. Work finally resumed in 1964 under the direction of Walker Kirkland Hancock, and the sculpture was completed in 1972. Views of the monument from the lawn are free with a paid parking pass, or you can hike the mountain and even take a cable car across the face to the top.
The park also contains numerous other activities such as golf, tennis, dining, shopping, camping, laser light show, train rides, museums and more.
Parking and entrance to the park is $8 while an all-day pass for most activities is $22. Passes for individual attractions range from about $5 to $10.
During my visit, we spent just a few hours here in the "Crossroads" village and hiking up the mountain.
The Walk-Up trail is 1.5 miles (2.3 kilometers) long one-way to / from the top. You can reach the trail entrance by driving (West Gate Entrance of the Park) or taking the Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad. Or.... reach the top by taking the Summit Skyride sky lift and then climb down the mount.
Well it is pretty hudge and well worth of seeing. The views are breathtaking, and the mount (oh, pardon me!; the stone!) is quite a moon-like experience with the big, uneven naked surface specked with many mini-craters. You can reach the top by taking the Summit Skyride sky lift or by climbing your way thru (a 1.5-mile trek).
It is a pretty nice place to visit, full of sightseeing and southern-style attractions. One day all-attraction ticket is $22 which is well worth it, since every event itself is from $7.50 to $12.00 entry fee. This includes: Tall Tales of the South 4D Theater 20-minute show, Scenic railroad, Treehouse Challenge (kids activities), Stone Mountain Museum, Summit Skyride cable car to the top of the mountain, Paddlewheel Riverboat (20-minutes lake cruise), Antebellum Plantation & Farmyard, Antique Car Museum, Mini-golf.
It takes two stops and about 30 minutes to circe 'round the base of the Stone Mountain on this choo-choo train. Not sure about the price for the ride, since it is probable the best to get a daily pass for ALL attractions for $22.
If you feel up to it, try hiking up the mountain. It's the best exercise you can get here; by the time you reach the top, you'll know you've had quite a workout. The view from the top is awesome. Just follow the yellow lines.