Stone Mountain Guide
Walk-Up Trail Guide
The Stone Mountain Walk-Up Trail is the only approved way to walk to the
summit of Stone Mountain. The trail is about one mile (1.6 kilometers) in
length and has an elevation gain of about 700 feet (210 meters). The incline
is relatively consistent throughout the trail, with somewhat steeper areas
near the top. The trail is marked with yellow blazes painted on the stone.
You can also access the summit via the Skyride.
You can walk one way and ride the other, but the Skyride is based on the north
side of the mountain while the Walk-Up Trail begins on the west side. It's about
1.3 miles or 2.1 kilometers to walk between the two on
hiking trails or along the road.
The smooth granite surfaces of the trail can be slippery when wet and where
covered with sand or pine needles. Be extremely careful because if you fall
on the hard granite, it's going to hurt!
Pets are not allowed on the Walk-up Trail.
It takes about thirty minutes to walk to the top at a moderate and steady
pace. Times in this guide are based on a thirty minute walk. If you push,
you can make it in twenty minutes. It's great exercise! But it's much more
enjoyable to take your time and observe all the interesting sights along the
Walk-Up Trail Map
Yellow path: Walk-up Trail
White path: Service road
Red pins: Emergency call boxes
Yellow pins: Parking
The base of the trail is near Confederate Hall
the west end of the mountain (33°48'39"N
84°9'40.6"W). You can park at the Confederate Hall parking lot. At busy
times, especially on weekends or holidays, the Confederate Hall lot can be
full. In this case, you can park at the Walking Trails lot instead.
To start the trail, walk away from Confederate Hall, across the
tracks, and toward the mountain in an
Stone Mountain was quarried
for many years, and
some of its earliest quarry areas can be seen right at the beginning of the
Walk-up Trail. These quarries were fortunately not deep and imposing like
the later quarries on the east end of the mountain. If you're interested in
quarries, consider visiting the Quarry Exhibit
during your visit to Stone Mountain. The quarry areas closest to the trail
are marked on the map. About two minutes from the railroad tracks, you will
actually climb right over a step that was made by quarrying.
Once you pass the step, look to your right and you will see the
, which was constructed by the
United Daughters of the Confederacy, the same organization that originally
sponsored the Confederate Memorial Carving
Next, you will cross the service road for the first time. The service road
snakes back and forth roughly parallel to the Walk-up Trail. Most of the road is
gravel. It's primarily used for emergencies.
There are a number of emergency call boxes located along the trail. One of them
is on the left side of the trail just past the road crossing. All of them are
marked on the map with red pins.
Emergency call box
and his brother
Tony carved their names in several places along the trail. Just about a
minute past the road crossing, you will find one on the left side of the
trail among some pine trees.
Elias Nour carved in stone
Just 25 meters (80 feet) past Elias Nour's signature, you will see some of the
most stylish of the many old engravings
be found along the trail.
Just a few paces further up on the left side of the trail is an engraving dated 1816. It is difficult to authenticate the date.
At about seven minutes from the railroad tracks, you will see where the
crosses the Walk-up Trail.
The 4.6-mile (7.4-kilometer) Cherokee Trail goes around the mountain and
offers great scenery and history. On your way up or down the Walk-Up Trail
is a great time to hike the Cherokee Trail. It takes two hours or so.
Cherokee Trail along the Walk-up Trail
Just past the Cherokee Trail crossing, there are two phone poles where the
unfortunately-located phone and power lines to the summit cross the Walk-Up
Trail. Over the years, people have made a point of sticking chewing gum to
these poles, and they are now completely covered. Don't ask why.
For the next ten minutes or so, the trail proceeds through the woods and
over many interesting stone formations. Most of the stones along the trail
have been worn smooth by people walking this same path for hundreds of
The trail is again crossed by the service road, and past that you will
climb the only man-made steps along the trail. At the top of these steps is
a rest area including a shelter and some picnic tables. This is a good place
to rest, drink some water, and maybe have a snack. There are often
interesting exhibits inside the shelter, so look up and see what's there.
Halfway hut (33°48'29.18"N 84°9'2.68"W)
Leaving the rest area, the trail continues through trees for a short
distance before coming out into an open area. This is the beginning of the
steepest areas of the trail. The older Walk-up Trail followed an ancient
Indian trail which veers off to the left of the current trail's path. This
trail is marked with a tablet that was set into the stone in 1922.
Old Indian Trail marker
Soon you will reach the steepest point of the trail, a span of about 140
feet (43 meters) which has two hand rails. This slope is often slippery, so
even if you don't need the rails to pull yourself up, it's a good idea to
hold one of them in case you slip. Use the rail on the right-hand side so
that people walking down can use the other one.
To the left of the rails, the old Indian trail re-joins the main trail. It
passes between two large stones, which are covered in chewing gum just like
the poles further down the trail. I'm sure this was not done by Indians in
Right at the top of the railings you will see an engraving that appears to be dated 1816. It was actually carved in 1916.
Cedonia & Brice Browder engraving
Shortly past the end of the railings, the old Indian trail splits off to
the left of the trail again and does not re-join the main trail. It does
represent an opportunity to go down the mountain using a different trail
than coming up for a short distance.
The trail becomes less steep for a few minutes, and then steepens once again
for the last push to the top.
At the top of the last steep section, the mountain becomes nearly level. On
your right there is a fence that protects a large area near the summit. Some
of the very rare plants
that can be found on Stone Mountain are protected by
this fence. A sign illustrates poolsprite and quillwort.
of Stone Mountain is gently rounded. There is no one obvious
summit. In fact, there are three summit markers, and all three of them have
roughly the same elevation of about 1683 feet (513 meters).