Stone Mountain Loop – #43 from 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Atlanta (I’m still here!)

Stone Mountain Reflected in Venable Lake

Stone Mountain Reflected in Venable Lake

I’m still here!!!

Just noticed it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted.  Well, it’s been quite a month.  I started a new job and was out of town for a week then when I got back to Atlanta it was full speed ahead.  I’ve been working long hours and this past Saturday was my first day off in 3 weeks.  My diet, workouts, hiking, lifting and sleep have suffered from the new schedule.  I think I’m getting the new routine down some and hope to get my plan moving in the right direction again.  I did get in a hike this weekend and have 1 other (plus this one) that I need to share.

I did this hike wayyy back on January 12th.  We haven’t had much of a winter this year and even for Atlanta we’ve been unseasonably warm.  January 12th was one of those days, 75 degrees and sunny.  It was glorious.  Stone Mountain park has a winter attraction they call Snow Mountain, where they cover a hill and playground with snow and let people sled and build forts and such.  It was rather weird seeing people in shorts and t-shirts playing in the snow.  There’s also a “village” area at Stone Mountain that has shops and restaurants, however they were all closed as I’m sure they had no idea the park would be packed in January.

Sunset at Venable Lake

Sunset at Venable Lake

We got to the park around 2:30 and headed out around the loop trail.  Stone Mountain has, of course, a trail up the mountain in addition to the loop trail.  We decided to hit the loop this time.  The book has it at 5.5 miles but with some side excursions we ended up at 6.83 miles in just under 4 hours.  It was a great hike with a nice variety of terrain and scenery.  At one point the loop trail crosses over a part of the mountain and you get a good workout in, there were other areas with some small hills as well.  You circle Venable Lake and then the path splits Lake Venable and Stone Mountain Lake winds around the east side of the mountain passing an old mill and a covered bridge before returning you to the base of the mountain.

Stone Mountain Memorial

Stone Mountain Memorial

If you’ve read a few of my other posts you know I like history with my hiking, Stone Mountain has plenty of both.   The mountain is probably best known for the carving on the north face of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.  It is the largest bas relief sculpture in the world and was conceived by a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.  Gutzon Borglum, who carved Mt. Rushmore, was originally commissioned to carve the piece and did begin work but had a falling out with the organizers and abandoned the project.  It was finally completed in 1972.  This is the VERY short version of the history of Stone Mountain, please do follow some of the links to read more when you have a chance.

Stone Mountain Park is a great place for a day trip.  Whether you want to go hiking, do some fishing, make candles, see a glass blowing demonstration, or check out the laser light show there’s plenty to do.  Next time I go back I’ll have to climb to the top!

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