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Duluth Massage

Stone Mountain Mountaintop Trail
Georgia Trails

Trail Length: 2.4 miles Type of trail: In and out
County: DeKalb County, GA Our rating:
Features: visitors center, scenic, historic, family, bathrooms, 60hikes Your rating:
Usage: Heavy Added on: May 17, 2005
Last hiked: September 12, 2015 Updated on: September 27, 2015
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Hiking trails in DeKalb County, GA

Directions to Stone Mountain Mountaintop Trail

Trail Overview

As you climb along the Stone Mountain Mountaintop Trail, also known as the Stone Mountain Historic Trail, you are climbing past 250 years of American history, thousands of years of American Indian history and millions of years of geologic history. To call this trail historic is an understatement.

American Indians called it "Lone Mountain" while early Spanish explorers called it Crystal Mountain. Settlers called it "Rock Fort Mountain," because the top of the peak had ceremonial rock wall similar to the one in Fort Mountain State Park. This was eventually shortened to "Rock Mountain." Adiel Sherwood is generally credited with being the first to use the term "Stone Mountain." The piece which contained the name appeared in the Gazetteer of Georgia, and Sherwood was ironically arguing against using the name Stone Mountain, which apparently had become a popular name.

Stone Mountain Mountaintop Trail Narrative

Beginning at Confederate Hall in Stone Mountain Park, the trail crosses the railroad tracks near some rest rooms on the right, and immediately begins its steady climb to the top of the mountain. There are few level and no downhill sections. As the Mountaintop Trail rises rock hopping along exfoliated ledges is required and can be difficult on the knees if you haven't hiked this before.

Bubble Gum Rock
Watch for the Cherokee Trail marker at 0.3 miles. Cross-cutting the mountain at this point, the Cherokee Trail is another name for the Stone Mountain Loop. At a pavilion watch for an old stone barbecue off to the right. Starting in the 1840's an "entertainment saloon" provided refreshments at about this point for hikers climbing to the top to see Cloud's Tower in the 1840's and the shorter Henry's Tower in the 1850's. In the middle of the Civil War the mountaintop trail fell into disuse, and visitors reported the saloon was empty and decaying. Although it did return after the war, it was gone by the time the state took over the attraction in 1958.

As the trail climbs after the pavilion, the trees lessen and the path offers an unobstructed view of the rolling hills of the Georgia Piedmont some 800 feet below the top of the mountain. Nearing the top of the mountain the slope becomes steeper, and the park provides a chain-link hand rail on the right to help hikers/climbers gain the top of the peak. Experienced hikers can stay to the left, passing through the crevice created by Bubble Gum Rock, which comes out further up the mountain.

Following the yellow-dashed line, the path runs near the sharp drop of the northern face, where metal poles are deeply embedded in the granite on the left. These were used to support the scaffolding that workers walked on as they were carving the mountain. By the time you reach this point the views are close to 360 degrees, with only the straight ahead view blocked by the top of the mountain. Watch for Decatur and, further on, Atlanta as the major cities on the right.

Once at the top, circle the mountain to see large vernal pools with fairy shrimp and red moss. Near the Skylift's Upper Station look for yellow paint directly on the rock. Before the beaconing system that guided airplanes was installed in the late 1920's, the top of Stone Mountain was painted with a massive yellow arrow and the word "Atlanta" to guide planes to the city. Be sure to visit the small museum at in the Upper Station, which contains additional information on the natural history of Stone Mountain
From this point you can ride the Skylift down to the base or turn around and hike to the bottom.

Map of the Stone Mountain Mountaintop Trail
Map of the mountaintop trail


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Stone Mountain Mountaintop Trail
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Georgia Hikes
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Fort Mountain State Park
Stone Mountain Loop

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