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Stone Mountain Park 1

Stone Mountain Park 2

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Stone Mountain Park 3

Great Salt Lake

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Arches National Park

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Escalante National Monument


Georgia's Stone Mountain is a masterpiece of nature that amazes millions of guests from around the world. The giant granite rock, the magnificent Confederate Memorial Carving and the surrounding 3,200-acre Park are results of natural and historical events.

Mankind and nature created this one-of-a-kind environment for everyone to experience and enjoy.


Formation and Early History

Stone Mountain formed approximately 300 million years ago when intense heat caused molten material to simmer beneath the earth's surface. Tremendous pressure caused some of the molten material to push upward. Over a period of 100 million years, the molten rock cooled very slowly and formed compact, uniform crystals. Initially, a two-mile thick overlay of the earth's surface covered the hardened granite.

Over the next two hundred million years, the overlay eroded to its present level, exposing the mountain we see today.

The 825-foot high, dome shaped rock rises 1,683 feet above sea level and covers 583 acres of rolling plateau. Half of Georgia and part of North Carolina rest on the mountain's base.

Granite is the earth's most common igneous (heat-formed) rock. The granite of Stone Mountain, however, is quite uncommon. It consists of a mixture of feldspar, mica and quartz and is described as being closely-grained, uniformly gray in color and dense in texture.

Evidence of primitive settlement near the mountain was discovered by Lewis Larson, Jr., a professor at Georgia State College. Larson found ancient pieces of soapstone bowls and dishes linked to people living around the mountain approximately 5000 years ago.



Home to the largest exposed piece of granite in the world, Stone Mountain Park is one of the United States' most popular attractions, hosting over 4 million visitors annually. Visitors can explore the Park's 3,200 acres of lakes and woodlands, several major attractions and a variety of recreational activities including golf, tennis, swimming, boating, and hiking.


Featured Attractions & Activities

A variety of scenic, historic, recreational and leisure attractions ensure a quality experience for visitors of all ages. Featured attractions include: Mountaintop Skylift, Paddlewheel Riverboat, Discovering Stone Mountain Museum, International Tennis Center,

363-acre Stone Mountain Lake, Stone Mountain Scenic Railroad, Authentic Antebellum Plantation, Lasershow, Top rated 36-Hole Golf Course, Wildlife Preserve and Petting Zoo.

In addition to the featured attractions, Stone Mountain Park makes a perfect destination for fitness enthusiasts, providing 15 miles of scenic sidewalks for joggers and walkers. Nature lovers will appreciate the many trails set aside for hikers. The most challenging hike is the 1.3 mile trek to the top of Stone Mountain.


The Confederate Memorial Carving

The largest bas-relief sculpture in the world, the Confederate Memorial Carving, depicts three heroes of the Civil War—Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.

Conceived in 1912, the project took nearly 60 years to complete. The figures of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and General "Stonewall" Jackson, all mounted on horseback, cover nearly three acres of the Mountain's north face.

The three-acre carved surface is larger than a football field. The carving itself towers 400 feet above the ground, measures 90 by 190 feet, and is recessed 42 feet into the mountain. The deepest point of the carving is at Lee's elbow, which is 12 feet to the mountain's surface.



The Park's colorful history is infused with Native American and Southern culture and American history. The first written records of the mountain date back to 1567 when Spanish explorer Juan Pardo discovered the mountain on an expedition to set up forts in the New World.

Indians farmed around the mountain and traded actively with the Spanish, British and French for more than 200 years. The Indians are associated with two of Stone Mountain's historical curiosities.

The first, named "Devil's Cross Roads" by early settlers, was a rock formation consisting of two crevices about two hundred feet in length. The crevices ran north-south and east-west with an enormous rock at their intersection.

Early quarrymen destroyed "Devil's Cross Roads," but the mystery of its formation still fascinates geologists and historians.

The second curiosity was a wall, made of loose fragmentary stone, that encircled the top of the mountain. The wall was discovered by Reverend Francis R. Goulding on a visit in 1822 and later described in a book he wrote entitled Sapelo. The purpose of the wall has never been explained. Historians believed it was used for ceremonial purposes

Once inhabited by Creek and Cherokee Indians, ownership of the mountain changed hands several times before being purchased by the Venable family in 1887. The Venables turned the mountain into a profitable granite-rock quarry. Today, rock quarried from Stone Mountain granite has been used in construction projects throughout the world including the locks on the Panama Canal; the U.S. Capitol Building; the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan; and the University of Havana in Cuba.


Retreat Spot Highlights

Great Salt Lake: The remnants of the Bonneville Lake for ancient history it is a natural phenomenon because it is an inland body of water that is eight times saltier than the ocean -- so salty in fact that swimmers can float in the water with no effort. It has a 27% salt content and has an average depth of 13 feet. Fishing however is not a common practice since fish are not found in the main bodies of the Great Salt Lake due to the salinity - brine shrimp seem to be the sole occupant along with the occasional tourist. Sailing anyone - Barry knew that wind was good for something other than the jokes about his home town?

Arches National Park -- The world's largest concentration of natural stone arches is found in Arches National Park. Within the park there are over 2,000 natural stone arches in the 73,000 acre area with names like Balance Rock, Skyline Arch, and Fiery Furnace. A 40-mile round-trip paved road in the park leads to the major sights, including Balanced Rock, Skyline Arch, Double Arch, and the Fiery Furnace. Visitors can see many of these arches in the distance from the paved road. Short trails, leading from pullouts or car parks, bring you beneath these forms, where the scale of nature's forces is appreciated. Recreational activities within the park include hiking, backpacking, technical rock climbing, and biking (only on the roads). Backcountry overnight hikers must pick up a free backcountry permit at the visitor center. Arches offers a wide variety of hikes, many suitable for all ages and abilities. Longer and more strenuous hikes are also available. The hike to the famed Delicate Arch is 3 miles round trip. Delicate Arch can also be seen from a newly constructed viewpoint. Two trails in the vicinity of this viewpoint offer different views of Delicate Arch. Elsewhere in the park, trails guide visitors to several other arches. Wayne was last seen trying to run a loop in the arch.

Escalante National Monument cover 1.7 million acres. The Grand Staircase is a series of differently colored uplifting sandstone cliffs. For additional pictures of this area please travel to: which will provide some terrific memories for this retreat. Today, Escalante is a western town surrounded by clean air, intriguing landscape, wildlife and archeology. Although it offers modern accommodations, it still has the quiet charm and warm hospitality that can only be found in a small rural community. Year round activities are plentiful in the Escalante area. Sportsman can enjoy fishing in clean mountain lakes and streams, or hunting a variety of game. Hikers can discover numerous mountain trails and desert canyons. Mountain bikers roll across desert slickrock. Photographers will want to bring several lenses to capture everything from vast panoramas to minute life forms. There are lots of places for riding off-road vehicles and snowmobiles, cross country skiing, horseback riding, picnicking, camping, and sightseeing. But visitors will want to leave time to explore the artifacts left by the ancient civilization that once lived in the canyons and mountains that surround Escalante. (from the Visitor Center info) -= rahvin =- was last seen looking for the waterfall that was shown in the website above.