Stone Mountain

The mountain
Stone Mountain is 1,683 feet above sea level, and 825 feet above the surrounding plateau. The mountain is more than five miles in circumference at its base. The summit of the mountain can be reached by an attractive but steep walkup trail, which leaves from near the Confederate Hall and park entrance. Alternatively the summit can be reached by the Skyride.

The top of the mountain is a surreal landscape of bare rock and rock pools, and provides views of the surrounding area and the skyline of downtown Atlanta, often Kennesaw Mountain, and on very clear days even the Appalachian Mountains. On some days, however, the top of the mountain is covered in a heavy fog, and visibility can be limited to only a few feet. The clear freshwater pools of the summit are formed by rainwater gathering in eroded depressions, and are home to unusual clam shrimps and fairy shrimps. The tiny shrimps appear only during the rainy season, and it is believed that the adult shrimp die when the pools dry up, leaving behind eggs to survive until the next rains.

Leaves of the Georgia oak.The mountain's lower slopes are wooded. Amongst the trees found here is the rare Georgia oak, which was first discovered here. Several specimens of which can be easily found along the walk-up trail and in the woods around the base of the mountain. In the fall, the extremely rare Confederate Yellow Daisy (Viguiera Porteri) flowers on the mountain, growing in rock crevices and in the wooded areas.

The carving
Closeup of carving.The carving depicts Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis on horseback, apparently riding in a group from right to left across the mountain side. The lower parts of the horses' bodies merge into the mountainside at the foot of the carving. The three riders are shown bare-headed and holding their hats to their chests. Originally, the carving was to include the armies marching behind them.

The entire carved surface measures three acres (12,000 m²) and recedes 42 feet (13 m) into the mountain. The carving of the three mounted figures is 400 feet (120 m) above the surrounding plain, 90 feet (27 m) high and 190 feet (58 m) wide. At its deepest point, Lee's elbow extends 12 feet (4 m) from the mountain surface behind it.

A laser light show has been projected on the carving nightly in the summer since 1983. The show is 40-45 minutes long and culminates with fireworks. The show runs nightly from Memorial Day to Labor Day, on Saturdays from mid March through October, plus Fridays in May and August. A short Christmas laser show is shown multiple times a night through December.

The park
Stone Mountain Park, which surrounds the Confederate memorial, is owned by the state of Georgia and managed by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, a Georgia state authority. The Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation currently has a long-term contract to operate the park and its attractions.

The Confederate Hall, operated directly by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, is a museum that educates park guests and local students on the geology and ecology of Stone Mountain, together with the history of the war in Georgia.

Stone Mountain Park
U.S. Highway 78 East, Exit 8
Stone Mountain, GA 30087

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