The Ultimate Guide To Stone Mountain Park
Stone Mountain Park , Georgia's most treasured outdoor recreational destination!
Stone Mountain Park, surrounding the Stone Mountain, a colossal granite dome, is a state park that is home to the world’s largest high relief sculpture, the Confederate Memorial Carving, and features featuring numerous outdoor recreational activities!
Located in the quaint town of Stone Mountain, Stone Mountain Park is just about 20 miles from the city of Atlanta and a very popular day-trip destination for locals and tourists alike! Stone Mountain Park is known for its iconic Confederate Memorial carving and its several outdoor amusements, including nature hiking trails, gondola rides, a scenic train ride, historical sites, a museum, 4D Jungle Adventure, a spectacular laser show, golf courses, multiple children’s outdoor play areas, and several seasonal events.
The Confederate Memorial in Stone Mountain Park is the largest high relief sculpture on the globe, which was built in the year 1972 to honor the heroes of the American Civil War. High relief is a sculpting technique, where the carved elements remain attached to the background but still appear much further than its background. The Confederate Memorial Carving on the face of Stone Mountain features three great leaders of the American Civil War – President Jefferson Davis and two Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.
Marvel at the granite outcrop and the Confederate Memorial Sculpture, ride the scenic train, take the gondola to the top of Stone Mountain for panoramic views and enjoy the spectacular laser show!
The Stone Mountain Park’s large wilderness area, surrounding the Stone Mountain, comprises old-growth trees, lakes, and streams, which can be explored via the Park’s several hiking trails or onboard the scenic train ride offered by the Park. The colossal granite dome is best viewed from the ground, but you could either hike to the top of the Stone Mountain or take a gondola ride, Summit Skyride, for spectacular panoramic views of the town of Stone Mountain and distant views of Atlanta’s skyline. The Park also features Lasershow Spectacular, a stunning laser show projected on the face of the mountain, using laser, light, and fire effects!
Here is my ultimate guide to Stone Mountain Park, featuring essential trip-planning information, major attractions, hiking trails, activities, and recommendations on hotels and restaurants near Stone Mountain Park!
Planning Your Trip To Stone Mountain Park
Given Stone Mountain Park’s proximity to Atlanta, it’s an excellent day-trip destination from Atlanta and a perfect addition to your Atlanta trip itinerary!
Best Time To Visit Stone Mountain Park: Stone Mountain Park is open year-round, but summers are extremely hot and humid in Stone Mountain and not the best time for outdoor activities. The best time to visit Stone Mountain Park is during spring and fall, when the temperatures are more pleasant. Winters are cold, but it seldom snows in Stone Mountain, so if you don’t mind cooler temperatures, winter is also a good time to visit Stone Mountain Park. The Park is open from 5 in the morning to Midnight, but the attractions have different timing, which you can find on the Stone Mountain Park website.
Time Required At Stone Mountain Park: While 3 – 4 hours are sufficient to see the Confederate Memorial and ride the gondola to the top of the mountain, I recommend spending an entire day at Stone Mountain Park, which will give you enough time to explore the natural and historical sites, ride the gondola, enjoy the scenic train ride, and experience the spectacular laser show in the evening.
Getting To Stone Mountain Park: The best way to get to Stone Mountain Park is by flying into Atlanta and then driving to Stone Mountain Park, which is approximately 20 miles east of Atlanta. Alternatively, you could also take an Amtrak train or a Greyhound bus to Atlanta.
- Flight: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Atlanta, Georgia, about 25 miles from Stone Mountain Park, is the closest major international airport to Stone Mountain and is serviced by all major airlines.
- Train: The Atlanta Peachtree Station, an Amtrak train station located right in downtown Atlanta, is serviced by several Amtrak train services connecting Atlanta to other parts of the Nation and is around 25 miles from Stone Mountain Park.
- Bus: Greyhound offers bus services to Atlanta, with the closest Greyhound bus stop to Stone Mountain Park located at 232 Forsyth Street, in downtown Atlanta.
Park Entrances & Parking At Stone Mountain Park: Stone Mountain Park has two entrances, West Gate Entrance and East Gate Entrance. The East Gate Entrance is the most popular entrance providing access to the major attractions in the Park. The West Gate Entrance is mainly used to access the Walk Up Trails that leads to the top of Stone Mountain. There is paid onsite parking offered at Stone Mountain Park, and there’s abundant parking space near the East entrance and a separate parking lot near the Walk Up Trails.
Tickets & Passes In Stone Mountain Park: Besides the parking pass, you would also need to purchase additional tickets for the various attractions in Stone Mountain Park. The Park offers several packages and membership programs that can be purchased onsite or online on the Stone Mountain Park website.
Lodging In Stone Mountain Park: Given the Park’s proximity to Atlanta, a lot of people choose to stay in downtown Atlanta when visiting Stone Mountain Park. However, there’re three other excellent lodging options in Stone Mountain Park if you choose to stay close to the Park –
- Stone Mountain Park Campground – Tent, RV, Yurt Camping
- Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort
- Stone Mountain Inn
Dining In Stone Mountain Park: There’re several dining options inside the Park, including Base Camp BBQ and Marketplace in Crossroads, Big Rock Cafe in Skyride Plaza, and a couple soda and ice cream parlors. You will also find a couple of full-service restaurants just a few miles from the Park – Commons Restaurant in Stone Mountain Golf Club and Waterside Restaurant in Atlanta Evergreen Marriott Conference Resort.
Things To Do In Stone Mountain Park
Start at the museum, marvel at the Confederate Memorial Carving, take the gondola to the top of the Stone Mountain, ride the scenic train, dine in one of the Park restaurants, and make sure to stay back for the laser show!
Confederate Memorial Carving: Unquestionably, the Confederate Memorial Carving is one of the most prominent features of Stone Mountain Park! The Confederate Memorial, featuring three great leaders of the American Civil War – President Jefferson Davis and two Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson is the largest high relief sculpture in the world! The Confederate Memorial Carving is cut about 40 feet deep into the Stone Mountain’s face and sits 400 feet above the ground, measuring about 190 feet wide and 90 feet tall.
Stone Mountain Museum & Historical Sites: Located in the Memorial Hall, the Stone Mountain Museum tells the story behind the making of the Confederate Memorial Carving and the area’s history and geology. If you love nature & history, you should also visit the Grist Mill, which is an ancient mill, Historical & Environmental Education Center near the Walk-Up Trail’s trailhead, Granite Quarry exhibit, and Washington W. King Bridge, which was originally constructed in 1891 in Athens, Georgia, and later moved to Stone Mountain Park.
Summit Skyride: Ride the high-speed cable cars departing from the Skyride Plaza to the top of Stone Mountain for some fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding areas and distant views of Atlanta’s skyline. The ride itself is short, about 2 – 3 minutes one-way, but you may have to wait for a little in a line at the Skyride Plaza, as it’s the most popular attraction in the Park. Once at the top, you can spend as much time you wish exploring the summit of Stone Mountain. The Summit Skyride is open year-round but is operational only weather permitting. The only other way to summit Stone Mountain is via hiking the Walk-Up Trail, a 1 mile moderately strenuous hike to the top of the mountain.
Scenic Railroad: The Scenic Railroad at Stone Mountain Park features a scenic train excursion on board an ancient full-size locomotive from the 1940s. The 30 minutes train ride takes you around the Stone Mountain in its open-air cars, offering spectacular views of Stone Mountain and the wilderness surrounding the mountain. The Scenic Train rides depart from the Marketplace Depot in Crossroads, and rides are offered year-round.
Lasershow Spectacular: Stone Mountain’s Lasershow Spectacular is one of the most incredible choreographed laser shows in the US! Lasershow Spectacular features an amalgam of lights, music, lasers, fireworks, fire, and music to create a spectacular laser show that’s projected on the face of Stone Mountain and lasts for about 45 minutes. However, the Lasershow Spectacular is a seasonal offering at Stone Mountain Park, playing every night at 9:30 PM from June through July and only on Saturday nights in the month of August.
Other Attractions In Stone Mountain Park: The Park offers a ton of other fun activities, especially for kids, including a 4D Jungle Adventure, Dinosaur Explore featuring several life-size replicas of dinosaurs, SkyHike, an adventure park offering obstacle paths, ropes courses, and wooden bridges. The Park also features an eighteen-hole golf course, Great Locomotive Chase Adventure Golf, a great family-friendly adventure located in Crossroads right across the Scenic Railroads.
Other Georgia Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Stone Mountain Park, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to the Stone Mountain Park. You can find other attractions in Georgia in my Georgia Travel Guide.
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