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Seldom-Explored Hidden Gems of Arabia Mountain & Panola Mountain

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: ~20 mi E of Atlanta near Lithonia, GA   Hike: Seldom-Explored Hidden Gems of Arabia Mountain & Panola Mountain  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Tue, May 15 2018  9:00 am >> Tue, May 15 2018 3:00 pm
Registration Opens: Thu, May 10 2018 9:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Tue, May 15 2018 6:00 am
Event Duration:6 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Distance:11 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Charlie Cottingham
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:15
Minimum Group Size:2
Number Registered So Far: 10 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes


Weather Update:  Tuesday's "spot forecast" for the Arabia-Panola vicinity expects only very light showers (about 1/10 of an inch likely between 9AM & 3PM) - but we'll have comfortable hiking temperatures in the 70s and still intend to go ahead with the event.  I suggest that we each simply carry a lightweight poncho, compact umbrella, etc. and use if needed - also be sure to wear comfortable hiking boots or shoes that have a good rubber tread.  - reposted by Charlie, Monday night

N A NUTSHELL:  Hope you can take the day off to explore these two "sister parks" of Stone Mountain with us and
 visit some of their seldom-visited "hidden gems" that make them both such ecological treasures.  We'll gather a few minutes before 9:00 AM at the Nature Center at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve.  (Please be on time and carefully follow my Directions and GPS advice below.)  After introductions we'll begin our first series of hikes at Arabia, and after arriving back at the cars at about Noon we'll have a Picnic Lunch (BYO) there at the Nature Center.  We'll then car-caravan (~5 miles southward) to nearby Panola Mountain State Park where we'll hike to several of its off-the-beaten-track hidden gems and also visit some of its more popular spots, including its Nature Center & Museum.

MORE about the two PARKS and their TRAILS & FEATURES:  Arabia and Panola both offer a huge network of hiking trails through hundreds of acres of scenic terrain that includes rocky outcrops and summits, shady forests and open meadows.  With free parking and entrance year-round, DeKalb County's Davidson-Arabia Nature Preserve has several beautiful trails that are often overlooked or "taken for granite."  :>) One is the blue-blazed "Mountain View" trail that loops around a pretty lake just beyond the twin rocky Arabia summits, and another is the "Mile Rock" trail to another lake.  If time permits at we'll include hike to an old farm on Arabia parkland whose meadow s higher than its "twin summits" and has a nice view of them.  While rounding out the day after caravaning to Panola Mtn State Park we'll enjoy lots of "gems" there including the Rock Outcrop Trail which boasts an amazing view of Stone Mountain (with Panola Mtn in the foreground) and a high rocky "cave" adjoining the new PATH trail.  At both parks we'll stop occasionally at scenic spots along the way to observe birds & wildlife, take photos and discuss some of the rare native flora that thrive on the rocky outcrops.

For More Info click these Links:
Arabia Info:
Arabia Trail Map:
Panola Info:
Panola Trail Map:

FASCINATING "MONADNOCK" GEOLOGY!  Like their nearby "big sister," Stone Mountain, the hundreds of acres of exposed rock "outcrop" at Arabia Mountain and Panola Mountain are remnants of huge globules of molten rock that bubbled up deep inside the earth 300 to 400 million years ago. The igneous globules cooled and hardened and their tops were eventually revealed as miles of softer layers of earth and rock eroded away above them.   All three mountains are called "monadnocks" - the geologic term for such ancient granitic igneous domes.

Required Items to Bring:

1.  Wear comfortable weather-appropriate Clothing and Walking/ Athletic Shoes or Boots.  If showers are forecast, carrie lightweight Raingear or a compact Umbrella.

2.  Hydrate in advance and carry a filled Water Bottle or two (or “Camelbak” hydration daypack etc).

3.  Bring a Picnic Lunch  (perhaps in a small cooler).  We can leave these in our vehicles while hiking at Arabia Mtn and enjoy lunch together at the Nature Center when we return there from our first series of hikes.

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

1.  Bring your Camera and/or SmartPhone.  Arabia is a very photogenic place.

2.  Consider bringing Trekking Poles, esp. if you already have a pair and like to use them.  They can be useful for balance and extra propulsion.  A single Trekking Pole of simple shoulder-high Hiking Stick may also be beneficial.

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

DIRECTIONS from the I-20/ I-285 INTERCHANGE on ATLANTA'S East Side:  (The Arabia Mtn Nature Center is about an 8-mile drive from this interchange.  For a zoomable map or satellite view of our Arabia meetup spot click the square blue & green "Event Location" icon near the top of this article. )
1.  From the East-side I-20/I-285 Interchange proceed eastbound on I-20 about 5 miles (outside I-285 toward Augusta) and exit to your Right at Exit #74 ("Evans Mill Rd/Lithonia").
2.  Take the 1.3-mile-long exit ramp and access road STRAIGHT AHEAD to its end at the second traffic light where Evans Mill Rd crosses underneath I-20.  (AVOID the first "Evans Mill" opportunity, which would be a right turn before the end of the access road.)
3.  Turn Right at the traffic light onto Evans Mill Road and go just 0.1 mile to another traffic light.
4.  At that light continue straight ahead onto Woodrow Drive and continue another 0.8 mile to the stop sign at Klondike Road.
5.  Turn Right onto Klondike Road and in about 1 mile you will pass through a traffic circle at Rockland Road.  Stay on Klondike Road for another 1/4 mile beyond the circle and look for the" Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve" nature center on your right.
6.  Turn Right into the Nature Center's gravel parking lot where we can park for free.  We AOCers will gather initially by the big bulletin-board kiosk between the parking lot and the Nature Center building.

GPS and users:   To augment the above verbal directions you can enter as your destination address the following Arabia Mtn Nature Center street address or its concise Lat/Lon coordinates:
- Street Address:  3787 Klondike Rd, Lithonia, GA 30038
- Lat/ Lon: 33.6724, -84.1163 (Be sure to include comma & minus sign.)

AOC "Caravan Driving Route" from Arabia Mtn Nature Center to "Alexanders Lake" satellite parking lot at Panola Mtn State Park:
From our initial Nature Center parking lot turn Right onto Klondike Road and go straight ahead 4.2 miles to the State Park parking lot on your right.  (Note: After the first 3.2 miles of this route Klondike Road is renamed "Flat Bridge Rd" and the parking lot is at its intersection with Alexanders Lake Rd beside the lake's main dam.  The self-service parking fee here is $5 if you don't display a valid GA DNR annual parking pass.)

Post-event Driving Route from Panola's "Alexander Lake" parking lot back toward Atlanta:
1.  Take Alexander Lake Rd southward 1.9 mile to GA-155 "Snapfinger Rd."
2.  Turn Right onto Snapfinger Rd and go 7.0 miles to the traffic light at Wesley Chapel Rd.
3.  Turn Right onto Wesley Chapel Rd and go just 1/2 mile to I-20's "Wesley Chapel" entrance/ exit ramps that are just 1 mile east of the I-285 east-side interchange.  Here you can turn left to take I-20 West toward Atlanta, etc.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cost Includes:

Free Event, with free parking at Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve and a $5 parking fee at Panola Mtn State Park for vehicles that don't display a valid annual GA Dept. of Natural Resources parking pass.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.