Stone Mountain is some 15 miles east of downtown Atlanta. Stone Mountain village has some interesting craft style shops, but the main attraction is the mountain itself. Please don't be put off by the tacky nature of some of the 'attractions' in the surrounding park; the park itself is an attractively wooded area and the summit of the mountain is just about the only 'must do' in Atlanta.
Stone Mountain is the largest exposed piece of granite in the world. It was created when shifts in the earth's crust created extreme heat and friction and melted a large amount of rock below the surface. This heated magma bubbled up towards earth's surface but did not make it all the way. Over time, the magma hardened into granite. Eventually, the land on top of the granite dome washed away through erosion and left what is now Stone Mountain.
The top of the mountain is a surreal landscape some 800 feet above the surrounding land, and provides excellent views of the surrounding area and the skyline of downtown Atlanta. The summit can be reached by the attractive but steep walkup trail through woodland (which leaves from near the Confederate Hall and park entrance) or by the Skylift (see below). Please exercise some care when on the summit; the horizontal bare rock of the top curves imperceptibly until it becomes the vertical bare rock of the sides and it is important not to wander too far around that curve.
Stone Mountain Park surrounds the mountain, and encompasses a series of attractions. The park promotes its One-Day-All-Attraction pass which permits access to/use of all the attractions for $19 (adult) or $16 (child), and tries to minimise the usage of individual attraction tickets; however these do exist and may be a cheaper option depending on what you want to see/do. The attractions include:
Stone Mountain Park is best accessed by car, but there is a $7 per car parking charge in addition to the attraction charges. There is no admission charge for those entering the park on foot and the park can be reached by a combination of public transit and walking; catch the MARTA rail system to Avondale and transfer there to MARTA bus route 120; disembark at the intersection of Ponce De Leon Avenue E and J.B.Rivers Memorial Drive and the park entrance is some 15 minutes walk east down J.B.Rivers Memorial Drive past the fire station.
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