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FIVE PLANETS over Stone Mountain

The Basics:
Event Type:Hike
Event Location: Stone Mountain Park   Hike: FIVE PLANETS over Stone Mountain  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Wed, Mar 29 2023  7:00 pm >> Wed, Mar 29 2023 9:00 pm
Registration Opens: Thu, Mar 23 2023 7:07 am
Registration Cut Off: Wed, Mar 29 2023 6:07 pm
Event Duration:2 Hours
Difficulty Rating:D2: Easy to Moderate
Distance:2.6 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
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: No



To all you lovers of the Solar System:

Word on the street is that early next week (March 28th or so), five planets, count 'em, FIVE planets will be visible in the night sky at the same time. Assuming there is no low-level cloud cover, this rare alignment of Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, Uranus, and Mars should be visible in the night sky, and if you look down at the ground beneath your feet, you get to see a bonus planet - Earth - at no extra cost. What a deal!

Here's the plan: Sunset is scheduled for 7:56 PM. We'll start up the mountain at 7 PM (from the Whistle Stop station, near the restrooms, next to  Confederate Hall), get to the summit, tag the geo markers, find a suitable place on the Western face, and settle in to watch the sun dip below the horizon, followed by the rising of the moon and the appearance of the five planets in the darkening sky. Once we've spotted our Quintet, we'll make our way back down the mountain to the parking lot.

Fair warning:

1. We'll be hiking down the mountain in the dark, so a headlamp/flashlight is critical, and mandatory.

2. If you have mobility issues or are uncomfortable with traversing rocky terrain in the dark, this is not the hike for you!

3. This is a weather-dependent event. In other words, if there is any significant cloud cover and I have to cancel the event, I will text you at least ONE HOUR before the start of the event.


BTW, entry to Stone Mountain Park is $20 per vehicle, unless you buy an annual pass for $40.  You can avoid the fee by parking for free on Main Street in Stone Mountain Village and walking into the park (see directions below).

Required Items to Bring:


Boots/Shoes with good traction
Weather appropriate clothing (it can get windy and chilly at the summit)


Your sense of humor

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


Astronomy app with planet finder




How to Get There:
Event Directions:


From the I-285 on the east side of town, take US Hwy 78 East about 7.7 miles.  Bear right at Exit #8 to the Stone Mountain Park "East Gate" main entrance where you'll pay $15 for the daily parking fee if you don't display a valid annual pass.  Suggestion, especially if you're new to the Park, ask the gate attendant for a free color map.


After entering via the East Gate, first follow Jefferson Davis Drive about a mile straight ahead past the lake, to the big fork in the road. Swing right onto Robert E. Lee Blvd and follow it for a mile. Stay in the left lane to avoid the West Gate exit (on your right) and then park in the parking lot on the LEFT, next to Confederate Hall. Look toward the mountain and you'll see the restrooms in front of you. We'll gather at our usual AOC "meetup spot," by the stone wall near the restroom building at the base of the Walk-Up Trail (about 100 yards toward the mountain from Confederate Hall).  For a zoomable map & aerial view of this spot, click on the red "Location Icon" at the top of this article.



There's no charge for pedestrians or bicyclists to enter Stone Mountain Park or to enjoy the numerous free attractions inside the Park including the nice trails.  If you don't have an annual Park Pass and wish to save the daily $20 parking fee, there are usually plenty of free parking spots just outside the Park in Stone Mountain Village.  The Village is near the Park's West Gate entrance which is a 15-minute walk to Confederate Hall and the Walk-Up trailhead.  One such free parking lot is the "Stone Mountain Visitor Center" lot on the Main Street, which has its own paved walking/biking trail into the Park, much like the Silver Comet Trail. To drive to that lot, get off US-78 (Stone Mtn Freeway) at Exit #5, then bear right to exit again about a half mile ahead, turn left onto E. Ponce de Leon Ave, go through the first traffic light onto Main Street and continue about a half mile to the "caboose lot" on your left.  In about 15 minutes you can walk or ride your bike eastward into the Park via the paved PATH trail, turn left on Robert E. Lee Blvd (for ~300 yard) and join the AOC group at the Walk-Up trailhead.


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

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

I understand that Life happens, and if you cannot make the hike, please deregister on the AOC website, or TEXT me at 4O4-7five4-5OO5 and let me know.