Let's explore Stone Mountain Park on Cinco de Mayo. We will meet in front of the Confederate Hall restrooms at the base of the Walk Up Trail. We will circle the mountain on the Cherokee Trail and hike most of the Nature Trail. After we complete the loop trail around the mountain, we will ascend to the summit and enjoy the views. Plan on 15-20 minutes on the top, there is a snack shop and restrooms available. You may prefer to bring your own snack/lunch. After enjoying the top of Stone Mountain, we will then head back down the Walk Up Trail to the parking lot. Total distance is approx. 7 miles of easy to moderate hiking.
Please bring at least 1 liter of water, snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses/ rain jacket and a positive attitude.
Dogs are allowed on the Cherokee Trail but not the Walk Up Trail. If you want to bring your dog, you will have to end your adventure on the Cherokee Trail and will not be able to hike to the summit.
FROM I-285 TO THE PARK'S "EAST GATE" ENTRANCE:
From the I-285/ US-78 interchange on the east side of town take U.S. Hwy 78 East about 7.7 miles. Bear right at Exit #8 to the Stone Mountain Park "East Gate" main entrance where you'll pay $20 for the daily parking fee if you don't display a valid annual pass.
ONCE INSIDE PARK, DRIVE TO CONFEDERATE HALL PARKING LOT:
After entering via the East Gate, first follow Jefferson Davis Drive about a mile straight ahead to the big road fork, crossing the lake en route. Bear right onto Robert E. Lee Blvd and follow it about another mile, bearing left to avoid the West Gate exit. Look for the spacious Confederate Hall parking lot on your left where we park during the hike.
You can also enter through the West Gate entrance, in Stone Mountain Village. If you enter here, turn right through the gate and you're almost to the Confederate Hall parking lot on your left.
OPTIONAL FREE PARK ENTRANCE FOR PEDESTRIANS & BICYCLISTS:
There's no charge for pedestrians or bicyclists to enter Stone Mountain Park. There is usually plenty of free parking just outside the Park in the Stone Mountain Village area. The Village is near the Park's "West Gate" entrance which is quite close to Confederate Hall and the Walk-Up trailhead. You can park near the railroad tracks and walk about 1/2 mile up East Mountain Street and directly into the park, through a small gate.
Another such free parking lot is the "Red Caboose Visitor Center" lot on Main Street, which has its own paved walking/biking trail into the Park, much like the Silver Comet Trail. To drive to that lot, get off US-78 (Stone Mtn Freeway) at Exit #5, then bear right to exit again about a half mile ahead, turn left onto E. Ponce de Leon Ave, go through the first traffic light onto Main Street and continue about a half mile and look for the red caboose on your left. In about 10 minutes you can walk into the Park via the paved PATH trail, turn left on Robt. E. Lee Blvd (for ~300 yards)