This unusual park near Atlanta was created to protect a 100-acre granite monadnock (mountain) often compared to Stone Mountain and Arabia Mountain. Minimally developed, Panola Mountain shelters rare plants of the Piedmont region. Hikers may explore the park?s watershed and granite outcrop on their own, or they may join park staff for guided hikes onto the restricted-access mountain. Children especially enjoy the interpretive center with animal exhibits. Due to its delicate ecological features, Panola Mountain was designated a National Natural Landmark, and pets are not allowed on most trails. Bicycles are allowed only on the paved PATH trail.
This 1.25 mile trail skirts two branches of a small creek draining the piedmont uplands. A watershed describes an area containing a network of streams and rivers that all drain into a larger body of water. This creek drains into the South River, which joins the Oconee, eventually becoming the Altamaha which empties into the Atlantic ocean. The vegetative cover of the watershed influences the rate and amount of runoff, as well as water quality. Along the trail you will see evidence of poor agricultural practices in the past, which greatly increased stream erosion and siltation. Modern resource management is improving the watershed?s ability to conserve high-quality water.
ROCK OUTCROP TRAIL
This 3/4 mile trail overlooks a granite outcrop typical of many found in Georgia?s piedmont. After traversing a second-growth pine-oak forest, the trail brings you to the edge of the outcrop where you can see evidence of the geologic forces that created the mountain, as well as the erosional forces shaping its present appearance. Along the way you will see some of the plants and animals found in this unique ecosystem. All have adaptations allowing them to survive on the bare rock face. This enchanting but harsh environment is called ?nature?s rock garden.?