OverviewPanola Mountain in the past was often referred to as "Little Stone Mountain" or "Hog" or "Pig" Mountain. By whatever name you choose to call it, Panola Mountain is a 100-acre granite mountain that is often compared to Stone Mountain and Arabia Mountain. Unlike the previous two mountains, however, Panola was never a granite quarry primarily because it is composed of a younger granite that is more brittle than the granite found on its nearby neighbors. The area around it was extensively farmed up until the 1970s, and much of the surrounding vegetation consists of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). In places where the pine doesn't completely obscure the ground, lycopodium and other groundcover can be seen. As you get closer to the top, the plant cover begins to change with patches of cedar seen periodically. For those who are unaware, there are native cactuses in Georgia, particularly the prickly pear cactus which can be seen growing along the trail.
History of Panola Mountain State ParkNote: In 1967, the Yarborough family put up 471 acres of land, including a 100 acre granite mountain for sale. Several conservancy groups tried to purchase an option on the property including the Georgia Conservancy and the Nature Conservancy but they were unable to come up with all of the requisite funds. In 1969, the Nature Conservancy placed $20,000 down as a down payment towards a total purchase of $200,000 and offered the property to the state.
The general assembly approved the purchase and received the funds through the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Land, and Water Conservation Fund. Panola Mountain State Park was opened and dedicated by Governor Jimmy Carter July 24, 1974. Once dedicated, the purpose of Panola Mountain, Georgia's first conservation park, was to protect for all time the unique features of the area, to interpret the significance of the natural history of the area, utilize the area for public education, and to create a place for public recreation. Over time, additional land has been purchased and in 1980, Panola Mountain was dedicated as a National Natural Landmark. The current acreage of the park is 1230 acres.
With development encroaching on this land, the state park service is doing a fairly remarkable job of keeping it connected to wildlife corridors.
Getting ThereDirections to Panola Mountain State Park are given as if one is driving there from Atlanta and are on the beltway (I-285).
* Take I-20 East towards Augusta.
* Take the Wesley Chapel Road Exit (Exit 68) and make a right off of the exit.
* Take the next left onto Snapfinger Road (In 1.5 miles Snapfinger Road eventually becomes Highway 155 South).
* Drive a total of 6.5 miles on Snapfinger Road (Highway 155 South) and you'll see the sign for the Park on your left.
For those who like to use Googlemaps, here is a link to the Park address.
Red TapeNote: There are several endangered species on Panola Mountain. The only way one is allowed to hike to the top is in the company of a park ranger. To make a reservation to climb, please contact the Panola Mountain State Park Ranger Service at: 770-389-7801. Guided 3.5-mile hikes to the mountain are offered from Wednesday through Saturday. There is a $5.00 fee to reserve a space on the hike.
Twice a year (once in spring and once in the fall), a geologist leads a Saturday hike up Panola Mountain and Arabia Mountain and describes not only the geology, but the effect that geology has on the resulting flora and fauna. Please check out the website of the park for more information and the schedule.
There is a $3.00 parking fee to park at the lot. Alternatively, there is a year pass available for sale for $45.00.
CampingDue to the presence of several species of endangered and protected plants, no camping is allowed in the park.
External LinksGeorgia State Park: Panola Mountain Official Site
Address and Contact Information for the Park:
Panola Mountain State Park
2600 Ga. Hwy. 155, SW
Stockbridge, GA 30281
Hours of Operation
Park: Daily, 7 am - dark
Interpretive Center: Tuesday - Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday - Sunday, Noon - 5 pm