Stone Mountain is the largest exposed granite dome in North America. Stone Mountain harbors plant and animal life found no other place in the world. Stone Mountain, Georgia, is perched on the edge of the western part of a large belt made up of Lithonia Gneiss granite. The strange thing about this is that the intrusive granite that the mountain is comprised of is younger and completely different from Lithonia granite. Reaching a height of 1,683 feet above sea level, approximately 650-750 feet above Georgia Piedmont, which surrounds it, Stone Mountain is visible from Mount Yonah at its northeast, Amicalola Falls state park on the north, and Kennesaw Mountain in the west.
Several clans and tribes of native people had made the Stone Mountain area their home long before European settlers arrived here. The ancient burial grounds and stone walls are the evidence archelolgists have found that prove the existence of many tribes inhabiting the area. The Creek Indians inhabited the Stone Mountain region when the first white explorers arrived here, in the 16th century. Nowadays, Stone Mountain is a quiet and quaint suburb of Atlanta, with its most celebrated tourist attraction being the carving on the mountainside.
The biggest attraction of Stone Mountain, therefore, is carved on the town's famous mountain itself. The entire carved surface of the memorial carving measures 3 acres, larger than a football field. The carving of the 3 men towers 400 feet above the ground, measures 90 by 190 feet, and is recessed 42 feet into the mountain, the deepest point of the carving is at Lee's elbow which is 12 feet to the mountain surface. Although the carving was begun in 1923, it was not until 1972 that it was completed, after years of the project being started and stopped. The memorial carving depicts 3 confederate heroes of the civil war: Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and Lt. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.
Stone Mountain Park is situated on 3,200 acres of beautiful nature and has a wide range of fun activities for families along with lots of things to do in the Atlanta area of Georgia. Plenty of adventurous activities await you while you discover interactive attractions for children. Plus, there are fun events held annually such as the Indian Pow Wow and the Yellow Daisy Festival.
Given below are some of the fun activities at Stone Mountain:
•Have fun exploring a 3-story tree house and a 4-story barn, which has trampoline floors, climbing structures and many interactive games.
•Enjoy the thrill of a sky-ride to the summit of Stone Mountain with the added advantage of getting a close-up look at the Stone Mountain Carving.
•Revel in a picturesque train ride circling around the mountain.
•There are paddlewheel cruises on a riverboat named the Scarlett O’Hara that you can enjoy on Stone Mountain Lake.
•You can take a self-guided tour in the Discovering Stone Mountain Museum, located in the Memorial Hall, where you can learn about Stone Mountain.
•Stone Mountain has 15 miles of nature trails, which traverse the mountain’s slope and through the wooded areas, where you can go on hiking trips. For example, there are trails that connect to the Songbird Habitat and a Nature Garden, and also to the scenic Grist Mill areas and Covered Bridge. There is also a historic six-mile long Cherokee Trail that meanders along the foot of the mountain and the 1.3 Walk-Up Trail that climbs to the summit of the mountain.
•You can end the day with a spectacular laser light display, considered to be the largest in the world, along with a finale made up of fabulous fireworks.
Stone Mountain Park is easy to find. It is located just 16 miles east of downtown Atlanta on US Highway 78. Just take exit 39 B off Interstate 285 and follow Highway 78 east for 8 miles. The main entrance for Stone Mountain Park is exit 8 off of Highway 78.
From Dahlonega/Cumming/Alpharetta (via GA 400)
Take GA 400 South to I-285 East. Once on I-285 East, go past I-85 to Exit 39B, the U.S. Hwy 78 East (Snellville/Athens) exit. Travel 7.7 miles and take exit 8, the Stone Mountain Park Main Entrance. Follow the exit ramp to the East Gate entrance of Stone Mountain Park.
From Downtown Atlanta (via I-20)
Take I-20 East to I-285 North. Once on I-285 North, take Exit 39B, the U.S. Hwy 78 East (Snellville/Athens) exit. Travel 7.7 miles and take exit 8, the Stone Mountain Park Main Entrance. Follow the exit ramp to the East Gate entrance of Stone Mountain Park.