After I had walked around the base of Stone Mountain for a while I had a decision to make. Do I take the tram to and from the top, or drive a little further into the park and take the 1.2 mile hike to the top. A no brainer for me.
I had my "These Shoes Have Hiked In The Swiss Alps" hiking shoes on so I notched up my belt, laced my ties tight and started up the granite stone.
The first 1/4 of the trip is fairly easy which is a good thing, because the middle half gets a bit steeper and the last 1/4, well let's just say it leaves you breathless in more ways then one.
I stopped along the way to take a number of pictures and to catch my breath, as I made my way to the top along with many others both young and old.
When I finally got to the top I took a few more pictures, stopped for a much needed drink of water and then journeyed back down a little quicker, although the trip down puts some strain on these old knees also.
You can also do one way trips on the tram I believe, so if you want to tram up and walk down by all means do it!
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.
This wonderful monument was visited by my wonderful hubby. When he goes on travel for his work, he has been taking pictures for me because he likes being part of vt too. This is the first page I have done including his travels.
Within the confine of the park and from the huge area just below the carving, they use Stone Mountain as the backdrop for a laser light show spectacular. It combines very colorful lasers, surround sound and awesome special effects into a 40 minute light show, precisely choreographed to music.
Or you just want to hike the local area, a good choice is the Cherokee Trail, which is a 5-mile (8.0 km) National Recreation Trail, this trail loops around the mountain base, with a mile section going up and over the west side of the mountain and eventually crosses The Walk Up Trail. It mostly passes through the oak-hickory forest, but beautiful views of the lakes, streams, animals, and local fauna await you such as the Stone Mountain Yellow Daisy or also known as the Confederate Daisy. They are usually tucked in the cropping of the mountain. Yet, there are many wonderful species of birds in this area such as the Hoot Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, Wood Ducks, Mallard, Great Blue Herons, various egrets, and peregrine falcon. So are many wonderful species of mammals that inhabit the mountain such as the red fox, bobcat, grey squirrel, rabbits and deer. So be sure to keep your space and have that camera ready
If you don’t like to hike or have some disabilities, please utilize the Skylift.
The summit of the mountain can be reached by The Walk Up Trail located by the Confederate Hall and West gate entrance. This is a 1-mile (1.6 km) trail to the top of Stone Mountain ascending 786 ft (240 m) in elevation to a height of 1,686 ft (514 m) Beautiful views abound and with wonderful cool breezes reward you at the top. Please note, this trail is steep and can be very slippery due to the stone when it gets wet. Please use caution when hiking. Dogs are not allowed.
My hubby said this was a wonderful experience to ride to The Summit Skyride, which consist of a high-speed Swiss cable car that transports its guest 825 feet from the ground to the top of the mountain. What is really neat about the ride is you get the bird’s eye view of the Confederate Memorial Carving. There is a fantastic view of the Atlanta skyline, the Appalachian Mountains and more.
Location: Skyride Plaza Area
Cost: Round Trip: $9.00 Adult & $7.00 Child; One-Way: $5.50 (plus tax); Included on the One-Day Adventure Pass or Mountain Membership
Duration: 3 minutes
Minimum Height Requirement: No height requirement
This is an Indoor and an Outdoor attraction.
This ride is Wheelchair Accessible.
The Confederate Hall and Museum is a stately white columned structure which affords a commanding view across the Memorial Lawn to Stone Mountain and the Confederate Memorial Carving. Inside you will find a museum which highlights the carving and the engineering feat that created it.
The focus of the museum is the fascinating geology and ecology of Stone Mountain. Visitors can explore the gallery, experiencing everything from interactive science exhibits to the life-size cave with a video about the origin of the mountain. There is a theater in the hall where we enjoyed viewing the 25-minute educational documentary “The Battle for Georgia – a History of the Civil War in Georgia,”
Admission is free.
Monday - Saturday: 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM
The Harvey Water Clock. is a unique contraption that I could watch and study transfixed in amazement. A fly ball governor regulates the amount of water which turns a water wheel, which in turn operates the gears to register the hour, day, month and year.
The Harvey Water Clock was patented in 1798. This is first one of its kind in Georgia. I have seen other Harvey Water Clocks in Branson, Missouri and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
It's difficult to appreciate the size of the Confederate Memorial Carving from a photograph. The three men on horseback look almost small against the massive side of Stone Mountain. This magnificent memorial consists of three acres of chiseled granite making it the largest high relief sculpture in the world. For shear size it even surpasses the better known and more "politically correct" four heads on South Dakota's Mt. Rushmore.
In front is Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865. The central and most prominent figure is that of General Robert E. Lee, and behind him is his right hand man, General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.
The carving, first envisioned in 1912, was not begun until 1923 and was finally completed in 1972. Three sculptors worked on the creation, the first being Gutzon Borglum, who later carved the Mt. Rushmore Memorial in South Dakota. Augustus Lukeman, the second sculptor, did the bulk of the work of carving the three central figures of the Confederacy on horseback. Lack of funding and other problems caused work of the sculpture to remain idle for 36 years. Then in 1958 the state of Georgia purchased the mountain and the surrounding land. Walker Kirkland Hancock of Gloucester, Massachusetts was chosen to complete the carving and work resumed in 1964. A new technique utilizing thermo-jet torches was used to carve away the granite. Chief carver Roy Faulkner did much of the fine carving, completing the work of art with the detail of a fine painting.
Dedication ceremonies for the Confederate Memorial Carving were held on May 9, 1970. Finishing touches to the masterpiece were completed in 1972.
Setup within the park are some beautiful old plantation homes that you can tour. The guide on the day that we visited was informative and fun.
Take some time out of your schedule to see how things used to be.
The huge carving of the "heroes" (to the people of Georgia) of the Confederacy is located on the face of Stone Mountain. This is the largest carving of this kind in the world, and it is even larger than Mount Rushmore. I think Georgia was trying to make a statement here about who should have won the war.
The carving depicts General Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The fourth figure is unnamed.
The idea for the carving came from the daughters of the Confederacy as a way to honro General Robert E. Lee. The carving took almost 50 years, due to the hiring and firing of several architects commissioned to work on the project. The park was declared in 1970 and in 1972, the carving was declared completed. Those of you from the north would probably love to make a joke about southerners here, but since I'm from the south, although, technically, the north, I'll refrain.
The petting zoo portion of this is geared towards kids, but the antebellum plantation is pretty impressive. Here you will find several authentic buildings which were actual pre Civil War Georgia homes and which have been restored and brought to this area. The architecture on these 200 year old houses is impressive, although the knowledge of the period of American history that they represent is disturbing at best.
At the crossroads, you'll find the bakery, mill, glass and candle shop and the 4d theatre. Characters walk around dressed in period costumes and you can watch glass being made through an old fashioned process. As you may have guessed, this is an area mostly for kids.
The aerial tram takes you to the top of Stone Mountain. There is a walking trail as well and some people use the tram for one way transportation and walk either up or down, although usually the latter.
The tram is a short ride and gives you a great up close and personal view of the Confederate carving. There is a separate fee for riding the tram.
Heading west from the main park entrance, you'll come across this impressive building. Confederate Hall has several exhibits and runs a short film about the Civil War in Georgia. Admission into the hall is free, although parking is not.
You can get to Confederate Hall by riding the railroad from Memorial Hall in the main portion of the park, by walking about a mile, or by driving. The same parking ticket you receive at the main entrance allows you to park over here.
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