Sunday, January 17, 2021

Stone Mountain Winter Hike

Stone Mountain Memorial State Park,
Stone Mountain,
DeKalb Co.,

Hiking Trails:
Walk Up Trail: Yellow markings

Total Time: 1:00
Estimated Distance: 2.3 miles

Pros: Interesting geology, good climb, and excellent views
Cons: Very busy, even early on Sunday on a cold winter day
Hike Type: Up and down
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Map of Route:

I was in and out of Atlanta for a family Bar Mitzvah. The Bar Mitzvah was Sunday late morning. I was out at the mountain at about 9:30, hiked here for an hour, attended the Bar Mitzvah, and then flew back home to New York in the early afternoon.

Atlanta is not mountainous, though it does have some rolling hills. However, Stone Mountain in the eastern suburbs is a giant rock mountain that protrudes from the otherwise flat area. This is one giant rock with some very interesting geology. It is also one of the most popular attractions in Atlanta and certainly its most traversed hike. I would only recommend going here in quiet times - especially during these Corona times; otherwise it's too busy. I was here early Sunday morning and there lots of people out, but it was still very manageable. Though as I completed the hike I noticed how much busier the parking area was and how many more people were setting out to hike.

It was very cold for Atlanta standards, with temperatures in the 30's. This was standard winter weather that I was used to. I parked at the Confederate Hall Parking Lot, at the where the Walk Up Trail starts. The climb is mostly on exposed rock and was moderate except for the end where it ascends a steep hump to the summit. Near the top I walked towards the northern side of the ridge, went over the actual summit, and then looped around.

For the way down, instead of walking on the main path, I went on a spur slightly to the north that goes in a wooded area and was much less busy. Aside from being different than the main trail, it also afforded a different type of terrain and helped me avoid the crowds ascending. This unmarked spur train is about 200 feet north of the main trail and is unmarked. It goes pretty much all the way parallel to the main trail, and I took it to the bottom and back to my car.

Map of the Route

Start of the Hike

Large Rock Face at the Beginning of the Hike

Ascending Stone Mountain

First View on Stone Mountain

Zoomed into the First View with the Atlanta Skyline in the Background

Atlanta Skyline from Stone Mountain, from Downtown through Buckhead

Me at the View before the Final Ascent

Steep Ascent Near the Top of the Mountain

View Nearing the Top, Facing West

Top of the Rail at the Steep Portion of Stone Mountain

The Final Hump Before the Summit

View of the Atlanta Skyline Facing West from Stone Mountain

View from Stone Mountain Facing Northwest

View of Stone Mountain Facing North, with My Shadow in View

View from Stone Mountain Facing East

Cable Car Railway at the Top of Stone Mountain

View from Stone Mountain Facing East

Real Summit of Stone Mountain

Puddle on the Top of Stone Mountain

Rock at Stone Mountain and the City Facing West

Me Atop Stone Mountain

Wooded Trail on the Side of the Rock Face on the Descent

Rockface View Near the Bottom of the Mountain

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