Arabia Mountain PATH
The PATH Foundation, in partnership with DeKalb County, Rockdale County, and the Arabia Mountain Heritage Alliance has developed an extraordinary trail system through 7000 acres of greenspace southeast of Atlanta. The Arabia Mountain PATH network meanders through incredible rock outcroppings, colorful wildflower fields, rushing streams, and towering pines as it makes its way from the Mall at Stonecrest into Panola Mountain State Park and beyond. The trail system is over 33 miles long with several additional segments planned for development. Nature hiking is permitted off the trails; however, cyclists and skaters are urged to stay on the trails to protect the rock outcroppings and nature trails from damage. The Arabia Mountain PATH system is not built on a rail bed so it follows the hilly terrain offering users a more challenging experience than the Silver Comet and Stone Mountain Trails. Fishing at Alexander Lake is allowed by permit.
Arabia Mountain PATH: Connecting parks and trails through Dekalb and Rockdale Counties
PATH formed a partnership with Georgia State Parks to build trails at Arabia Mountain sixteen years ago. Today, the PATH trail connecting the South River to Alexander Lakes provides access to a large portion of the park that was previously reserved for determined hikers who were willing to blaze their own trails through the thickly vegetated northern half of the park. It's much easier now. You could begin your walk or ride in the City of Lithonia, at the Mall at Stonecrest or from the Stonecrest Library on the north end of the Arabia Mountain PATH, then wander through the Arabia Mountain National Heritage area, before heading to Klondike Park. Since our South River Trail connects with the Arabia Mountain PATH, you could head out from Martin Luther King Jr. High School to meander along the South River past Panola Shoals before connecting with the Arabia Mountain PATH near Lyons Farm.
PATH and Georgia State Parks also partnered to construct a trail from the existing Rockdale River Trail to the Panola Mountain Visitor’s Center on State Route 155 (Snapfinger Road extended), as well as many more miles of trails within the Park. One spur trail passes through an historic barn and visits the best site in the entire park for viewing Panola Mountain before connecting the main trail to the Panola Mountain State Park Visitor’s Center and the new headquarters for Georgia State Parks on State Route 155. PATH worked with the State Parks to design and build the visitor’s center parking lot near the Panola Nature Center, which serves as one of the many trailheads for the Arabia Mountain PATH trail system. Another spur trail encircles Alexander Lake with a boardwalk over a portion of the lake.
The trail section between Alexander Lakes Road and Union Church Road connects the Lakes with the existing Rockdale River Trail and Rockdale Community Park. The trail winds through a hundred-plus acres originally slated for residential development. The state worked with the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance and the Conservation Fund to acquire the property from the developer and expand Panola Mountain Park to Union Church Road. This acquisition paved the way for PATH to connect two segments of the Rockdale River Trail which ultimately resulted in a continuous trail to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.
Can you find the marker for our 200th Mile of Trail?
As you're enjoying your day on the Arabia Mountain PATH, look for the marker commemorating our 200th mile of trail!
PATH Foundation has built 275+ miles of trail so far. We're always adding more trails, so we hope to reach 300 miles of trail in the next year or so. If you'd like to help us build more trails, scan or click here to donate.
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area
Panola Mountain State Park is the crown jewel of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, one of only three National Heritage Areas in the state. The park’s unusual natural beauty and intriguing cultural changes are the basis for this special recognition. Over the years, this area has been home to early settlers, immigrant rock cutters, freed slaves and even Trappist monks. Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is a partnership among the state of Georgia, DeKalb, Henry and Rockdale counties, the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, and numerous communities and public-private partners. Panola has also been designated a National Natural Landmark.
Lunar Landscapes, Inspiring History at Arabia Mountain
Creating the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area (AMNHA) took some time—about 400 million years, give or take. Nature, history, and culture converge in this remarkable part of Georgia to create a landscape found nowhere else. The AMNHA features geological oddities known as monadnocks, a small historic town built out of granite, an active Trappist monastery, and more than 25 miles of dedicated paved hike/bike trails linking it all.
Arabia Mountain Named One of the Best Bike Trails Around Atlanta
Atlanta Parent names Arabia Mountain one of the best bike trails around Atlanta. With over 30 miles of biking, hiking and running trails, your family can enjoy exposed granite, creeks and lakes along the Arabia Mountain PATH.
Panola Mountain State Park
Panola Mountain State Park
Many Atlanta area residents have no clue that a 1300 acre state park with hiking, biking, fishing, and camping is only a 30 minute drive from the city. Even if they are aware of Panola Mountain State Park they are likely unaware of the incredible PATH trail system being developed in the park.
It is a short ride out I-20 East to some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Georgia. Mountainous rock outcroppings, trickling Rocky Mountain-like streams, and an abundance of native critters help make this close-in park a true get-away from the stress and noise associated with city life. The park, a National Natural Landmark, is also part of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, a 40,000 acre region dedicated to protecting and promoting historic, natural, cultural, and scenic resources, one of only three such areas in the state.
Rockdale River toward the Monastery of the Holy Spirit
Rockdale Community Park, Rock Creek and the Monastery
Are you ready for a really great workout?
PATH partnered with Georgia State Parks and Rockdale County to complete over five miles of new trails in and around Panola Mountain State Park. The portion of this trail that will get even the most avid hill climber’s attention occurs just east of the Alexander Lake Trailhead in Panola Mountain State Park. Expect almost a mile climb as you leave the trailhead before the descent begins into a thickly forested valley, accented by a serpentine bridge high above a trickling creek (see picture above). You will enjoy a stop near the bridge to view the wonders of this beautiful north Georgia setting. This area, previously slated for development, was recently incorporated into the park to serve as a corridor for the trail.
This segment of the Rockdale River Trail was funded by Georgia State Parks, Rockdale County SPLOST, and your donations to PATH. This trail section continues south and east all the way to South Rockdale Community Park on Fairview Road before continuing to the Monastery of the Holy Spirit and their visitor’s center.
Running Trail Spotlight: Rockdale River Trail
Over the hills and through the woods at Panola Mountain
Lured by a description on the PATH Foundation website about a trail that will get even the most avid hill climber’s attention, Atlanta Magazine contributor Elizabeth Florio writes and reviews her trail run on the Rockdale portion of the Arabia Mountain PATH.