Why Visit Stone Mountain Park

cable car with stone mountain and sculpture carving in background

There’s a reason Stone Mountain is the most popular attraction in Georgia. Sitting only thirty minutes from Atlanta, the 825-foot granite mountain boasts a circumference that measures five miles at its base. This mighty mountain definitely makes the cut as one of our favorite tours!

Historically, Stone Mountain was privately owned by the Venable brothers until the state of Georgia bought it in 1958. Then, on April 14, 1965 the Stone Mountain Park officially opened — exactly 100 years after President Lincoln’s assassination. From the top of the mountain, you’re blessed with stunning 360-degree views of the surrounding sights, plus a beautiful view of Atlanta in the distance as well as Kennesaw Mountain. If the weather is clear enough, you can even see the Appalachian Mountains in the distance. But where did this huge chunk of rock even come from?

While aliens might have been responsible for the formation, geologists say that Stone Mountain formed during the same time as the Blue Ridge Mountains, around 300-500 million years ago. This is because the quartz monzonite and granite that the mountain is composed of typically occurs as a result of the gradual cooling of magma that overflowed from the Earth’s crust. Spanish explorers first became aware of the mountain in 1567 when the area was inhabited by the Creek and Cherokee Indians. When European settlers arrived in the region the mountain was surrounded by a rock wall believed to have been built by early Native Americans.

In the 19th century, the site was a popular dating spot for young couples, who would ride up the mountain on horseback. At the same time, the stone became a successful granite quarry site from the 1830s. Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. even mentioned it in his infamous “I Have A Dream” speech where he proclaimed: “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!” It’s clear that the mountain has had a special place in the hearts of Georgia’s people for quite some time.

Today, Stone Mountain Park spans 3,200 acres and is home to tons of attractions that are great for the whole family. The Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Carving is the park’s most well-known feature — the world’s largest bas-relief sculpture in the world (think Mount Rushmore but bigger). The work is 76 by 158 feet, making the total carved surface measure over one and a half acres! The sculpture depicts three Confederate leaders from the US Civil War and has been the center of much public debate and controversy due to its depiction of Confederate symbols.

If reminiscing about the Confederate days isn’t quite your speed, you’re in luck — the park has so much more to enjoy. Sky Hike is the country’s largest family adventure course where guests get the chance to walk amongst the canopy treetops. There’s also the Lasershow Spectacular, which is the world’s longest running lasershow projecting images onto the mountain face during summer. The Summit Skyride is a cable car that passes the rock carving and lets everyone soar to the peak of the mountain. Other attractions include: the Dinotorium, Historic Square, Farmyard, Camp Highland Outpost, Ice Age: No Time for Nuts 4-D, Megabugs, Scenic Railroad, Great Locomotive Chase Adventure, Geyser Towers, golf and museums. Check out more on the Stone Mountain Park website or better yet, book a Stone Mountain Park private tour with us and see it all for yourself! The park is open year-round from 6am until midnight.

This adventure has just that something for everyone, whether you’re a family exploring its 363-acre lake or looking for a nice tranquil space for a picnic, a business looking for a unique conference center (yes, there is a hotel resort and yes, we can provide transportation), or a young couple going out on a date like they used to in the 19th century. If you have any questions or just want to know more about the park, get in contact with us — we’re always happy to help out!

 

– your Roundabout Atlanta team

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