A ride on the Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad is an excellent way to get an overview of the Memorial Park. It can also be a practical way of getting around to the back side of the mountain. The full size locomotive of 1940s vintage pulls several open passenger cars.
The five mile trip which circles the mountain tales 25-30 minutes. Along the way you will hear a very informative narration spiced with several old-time railroad songs. My grandchildren adn I joined in when they sang "I've been working on the railroad," and "She'll be comming around the mountain when she comes."
The train makes only two stops, one at the main station (Crossroads) in front of the mountain, and the other at the back side where there is a museum and also the trailhead to the top.
There are two ways to get to the top of Stone Mountain. You can walk up, or you can take the Stone Mountain Skylift. I've gone to the top several times both way, and both are fun. The sky lift is a lot easier, although you'll probably have to wait in line for your turn on one of the very populr alpine style skylifts. Individual tickets for the skylifts may be purchased. However, if you plan to see much of the park, it is a much better deal to get an All Attractions Pass that includes unlimited rides on the skylift.
Another alternative is to ride the skylift up the shear face of Stone Mountain and then walk back down the more gently sloped back side. From there you can catch the Stone Mountain Railroad which will take you back around to where you started.
The trip up or down the mountain on the Skylift offers interesting close-up views of the Confederate memorial carving on the mountain's face.
Beautiful Stone Mountain Lake lies at the base of Stone Mountain and no trip to the park is complete without taking a ride on it's tranquil waters aboard the riverboat Scarlett O'Hara. The boat is named for the heroine of, "Gone with the Wind," a novel set in Georgia during the time of the War for Southern Independence. Twenty minute cruises are offered on the half hour throughout the day.
The boat is an authentic side-wheeler which was built in the park in 1976, the year of America's Bicentennial. Boarding is at the Riverboat Marina Complex, across the road from Stone Mountain Village and the Skylift. Tickets may be purchased separately, or it is included in the All Attractions Pass.
Another way to see Stone Mountain, other than on foot or by air, is to circumnavigate it. The railroad circles the mountain and also makes a stop at Confederate Hall for those who want to get off and explore the hall or walk up the mountain.
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