One of the oldest attractions at Georgia's Stone Mountain Park also creates one of the parks most enduring impressions. This is the Alpine-style Skylift that carries park visitors 825 feet above the Georgia Piedmont to the top of Stone Mountain. Proposed in the 1950's, the Skylift was dedicated on November 28, 1962. Governor Ernest Vandiver (Ernest Vandiver timeline) and Swiss Ambassador to the United States August Lindt attended the dedication. The Skylift was an immediate success.
The original skylift carried thousands of people to the top of the mountain, who could either ride back down, or walk the mountaintop trail down to Confederate Hall. In 1995 a new skylift began operation, with larger cars to handle the increased demand for a ride to the top of the mountian. The original cars now house consession stands in front of the new skylift, and the original building still stands to the east of the current building.
As the skylift rises, Memorial Lawn spreads out to the railroad station and the carving looms in front of you, growing larger and larger. Continuing to rise, visitors are treated to a side-angle view that cannot be seen anywhere else. For a few seconds it is possible to view the relief of the sculpture and get an accurate idea of the amount of stone that was removed to create the carving.
As the Skylift nears the top of the mountain it levels for the last bit of the journey to the top of the mountain. Once it has safely stopped (docked?), the doors open and riders are welcome to explore the vast rock that has guided folks for thousands of years. A yellow dashed line marks a hiking trail to Confederate Hall, on the west side of Stone Mountain, or follow the white line for a somewhat easier journey to a steep paved road that comes out at "Walking Trails Parking Area." If you end up at Confederate Hall, you can ride the diesel train back to the depot.
Of course, you can also turn around and ride the Skylift back down.
Location: In Stone Mountain Park, east of Atlanta
Directions: Take I-285 to exit 39b, the Stone Mountain Freeway. Head east (towards Snellville and Athens) for 7.7 miles to exit 8 on the right. The exit curves to the right, coming up on the West Gate. Once inside, continue straight.
Date added: December 5, 2004
Last update: January 8, 2005
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