Distance: Around 5 miles (there are a few connecting trails that can make your trip shorter or longer)
Day, Time, & Season: Monday, Early Afternoon, October
Human Traffic: Low
Dog Traffic: None
On/Off Leash?: On Leash
Parking: $15, but you could probably find a way around it. (If you want to avoid the fee, don’t enter from the freeway.) Also, there are multiple parking lots. We parked in the Triangle Parking Lot, which was fairly close to the entrance.
Normally, I’d say that paying for parking was a negative, but in this case, it was just Torch and me by ourselves hiking. I don’t normally hike without another person. So, I was somewhat comforted by the fact that I paid $15 for parking. I figure if someone was looking to kidnap a person, they’d probably go to a free trail rather than this place. Besides comforting my hyper-paranoia, there were lots of beautiful views and things to see.
We had to walk through the shopping area to reach the trail. We went at around 2:00pm and it seemed to be closed, even though the hours showed it was open. There was a ticket window, which was, oddly enough, closed. There were lots of shops and restaurants too, which might’ve been good, had they not been closed. I kind of wondered if we weren’t supposed to be there, but there were a handful of others walking through. Employees of Stone Mountain saw us and didn’t stop us. While a little eerie, it was cool! Torch doesn’t love strangers, so I’d say that was a good thing.
About a half mile through the trail, there was a little play pond and stream. It’s meant for kids, but no one was there and Torch was begging to go in. He was pretty happy about that. There were plenty of cute and scenic photo opportunities, especially in the first 2 miles of the trail. The heart stone path picture at the top of this post was taken about 1.3 miles in to the trail. This trail was very flat, making it pretty easy in that regard. Like in the park area, we didn’t see very many people on the trail.
The trailhead was a bit hidden, but Google Maps helped us out. If you start facing Stone Mountain, it’s to the left. The trail has several parts that aren’t well kept. There were lots areas with overgrown plants and places that had just enough water to make it a pain to cross. I made the mistake of going after it had rained a few hours earlier. But quite a few areas looked like they just tended to pool water anyways, even if it hadn’t rained. It wasn’t difficult, but there were some areas that were kind of a pain because of the aforementioned. There were several areas with slanted and slippery rocks. I survived, but probably only because of my Salomon shoes. I’m sure it would have been a little better if it hadn’t rained.
(Torch at the stream after the play pond)
Torch’s Thoughts in 5 Words or Less…
Just let me swim already!
In conclusion, would we go again?
Probably not. I’m glad we did it. There were some cool things to see, but once was enough.