AAA Editor Notes
Stone Mountain Park is about 18 mi. e. of downtown Atlanta; take I-20 east to I-285 north, get off at exit 39B, then take US 78 e. about 8 mi. to exit 8. A major Atlanta-area attraction has grown up around Stone Mountain, a massive, bowl-shaped granite formation that formed beneath the Earth's surface some 300 million years ago, eventually becoming exposed through a combination of weathering and the passage of untold centuries.
The 3,200-acre park includes more than a dozen attractions as well as historic and natural sights. Things to see include Washington W. King Bridge, a covered bridge named after its African-American designer, and natural woodlands with hiking trails.
Summit Skyride, a high-speed Swiss cable car, will whisk you to the top of the mountain in minutes. It also provides an amazing up-close view of the iconic bas-relief sculpture carved into the sheer face of Stone Mountain. This memorial carving, 400 feet above ground level and measuring an impressive 90 by 190 feet, displays three Confederate leaders: Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.
Crossroads is a cluster of family-oriented attractions, restaurants, Memorial Hall Museum and shops where skilled crafters and artisans demonstrate their specialties. The four-level Dinotorium has trampoline floors and is run by a mad scientist. Geared toward ages 5-12, it features such cool kid stuff as super slides, climbing structures and more than 65 interactive games. Crossroads' 4-D Theater offers “Ice Age: No Time for Nuts,” where visitors can find out what happens when a sloth discovers and decides to take care of three abandoned eggs.
Geyser Towers offers multiple levels of suspended rope bridges and net tunnels connected to towering platforms that overlook a gushing geyser. Also family-friendly is SkyHike, an obstacle course replete with dangling ropes and suspended wooden bridges. Two golf courses and a miniature golf course also are available. The long-running “Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision” is an explosion of music, state-of-the-art special effects and fireworks that transforms the lawn at the base of the mountain into a natural amphitheater.
It is also a prime place to just enjoy the great outdoors. The walk-up trail to the top of Stone Mountain is an easy enough trek from lower slopes dotted with scrubby growths of loblolly pine up to a bare, rocky, windswept summit. On clear days the 360-degree vista from this viewpoint is spectacular. Or set out on the 5-mile Cherokee Trail that encircles the mountain, a serene hike with scenic nature trail detours.
There are also plenty of festivals to enjoy throughout the year including the Yellow Daisy Festival in early September, which features arts, crafts and flowers; the Stone Mountain Highland Games in mid-October, when festivalgoers don their family tartans and the sounds of bagpipes fill the air; and A Stone Mountain Christmas, early November through late December or early January, which features a 4-D holiday movie, train rides and visits from Santa.
Note: Height restrictions apply to some attractions.
Camping is permitted. Picnicking is permitted. Food is available.