With over 8 miles of well-maintained trails for running and hiking, Arabia Mountain is a wildly rugged granite ecosystem in Atlanta's backyard. It's a testament to the beauty and diverse ecology of Georgia.
Arabia Mountain sits on the Davidson Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve, on 2,500 acres that boast a rich history of early settlers, quarrying and rare biodiversity. This granite monadnock, the same rock as both Stone Mountain and Panola Mountain, is also home to five species of endangered plants including red diamorpha and quillwort.
The visitor center accesses the Forest trail (1.1 miles) and the Mile Rock trail (1 mile), aptly named for its distance. Both trails connect at Arabia Lake, and the terrain is composed of loose rock and gravel.
One the southwestern side of the lake, look out for old quarry ruins. The daunting appearance suggests that it was used as a jail or an office facility for the quarry.
From the Evans Mill parking lot, the Cascade trail (0.8 miles) connects to Wilburn Farm (1.6 miles). It reaches the PATH, where you’ll want to travel east on the Boomerang trail (0.5 miles). As the name suggests, this trail connects the east and west PATH trails. From Boomerang trail, follow the PATH trail south briefly and hop on Laurel Creek Trail (1.8 miles). Follow the lollipop loop clockwise and you’ll meander along Laurel Creek before circling to your starting point. From here, you can follow the trails the way you came.
What Makes It Great
The rich history of quarrying is evident throughout your hike to the summit of Arabia specifically on the north peak of the mountain. Geometric blocks are the only remains of the granite quarrying. A 360-degree spin will give views of neighboring Panola Mountain to the southwest and Arabia Lake below.
Also on the summit of Arabia Mountain, dimples in the granite surface have created vernal pools where ecosystems now thrive. After heavy rains, these pools are filled with water and glisten in the sun, acting as mirrors for the sky. The diamorpha is prominent in the winter, offering a stunning bright red contrast to the washed granite.
The slogan for Davidson Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve is “see 400 million years from here” because of its history with early settlers, who are said to have inhabited the land 10,000 years ago.
Who is Going to Love It
The climb to the summit of Arabia Mountain is moderate and only 400 feet in elevation, making it approachable and easily doable for families with children.
Geology and botany geeks can spend hours at the summit of the mountain, observing the incredible variety of wild flowers, mosses, trees, and wildlife.
Arabia Mountain also connects the paved PATH bike trail through Panola State Park to downtown Lithonia. 20 miles of trails that offer varying levels of difficulty, from leisurely rides along the river to challenging switchbacks and hills.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The main parking lot is located at the visitor center off Klondike Road, but it is small, with no more than 20 spaces. From this lot, you have immediate access to the Forest and Mile Rock trails. Or you can follow the boardwalk south to hike the Mountain Top trail. Another lot is located at the base of the mountain as well.
The Evans Mill parking lot, off Evans Mill Road, is the other main lot that provides access to Cascade, Wilburn Farm, Boomerang and Laurel Creek trails.
To access PATH trails, Pole Bridge trailhead starts at Browns Mill Road, and is central to PATH trail access for both north and south trails. You can also park at Murphey Candler School on weekends, which is at the intersection of Klondike and S. Goddard Road.
Parking is free at all lots. Bathroom facilities are only available at the visitor center. Dogs are allowed with a leash, but keep an eye on their paws because the rocks can easily cut them up.