The first stop on the Georgia Driving Adventures was Stone Mountain National Park, just a quick 15-mile jaunt outside Atlanta. This is one of the more frequently listed “must see” items for the city and a great family excursion (hooray for the Great Barn, which will entertain and exhaust even the most adventuresome of children).
The park is *obviously* famous for its… (ready for it)… stone mountain, an impressive 825-feet tall mass of rock that spans an estimated 583 acres. In the centre of the mountain is a carving that depicts Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson all atop horses. According to a nearby audio presentation, a six foot tall man could easily stand in the mouth of each of the horses with room to spare.
This particular mountain has long been a gathering place for humans. The carving itself dates to a more recent 1915. The original designer for the work was Gutzon Borglum (the artist behind Mount Rushmore). And, true to any design project, it was plagued by financial problems, personality struggles, years of abandoned starts, and creative differences. The originally proposed design never came to fruition and the current sculpture was *finally* completed in 1972 after the state took control of the park in 1958.
The mountain isn’t the only site the park has to offer, however. Close to the rock is Confederate Hall, a museum that contains gads of history and information on the mountain, the local geology, and a small theater that gives a historical perspective on the Civil War in Georgia.
For train lovers and wanderers you can meander the Crossroads Village, a Victorian era southern town. The Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad runs from the village.
For those outdoorsy types, hiking trails run up the mountain, around the mountain, and beside the various lakes in the park. Below is one particular trail that runs behind the Grist Mill.