Overview of Cherokee Trail

Welcome to the Cherokee Trail at Stone Mountain Park, an exciting adventure for the whole family! This beautiful and historic trail offers a unique opportunity to explore the great outdoors while learning about the region’s rich history. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a family with young children, the Cherokee Trail provides an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages and abilities.

As you venture along the Cherokee Trail, you’ll traverse a diverse landscape featuring lush forests, serene lakes, and impressive geological formations. The trail will lead you past iconic sites like the historic Grist Mill and Historical & Environmental Education Center, as well as to spectacular vantage points overlooking Stone Mountain and the Atlanta skyline.

Trail Information

Cherokee Trail Map

Distance: ~5 miles
Duration: 2.5 – 3.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate

The Cherokee Trail spans approximately 5 miles, taking most hikers between 2.5 to 3.5 hours to complete. With moderate difficulty, it’s suitable for visitors with basic hiking experience, although some sections can be a bit challenging for younger children.


The trail boasts a variety of features, including breathtaking views of Stone Mountain, the expansive Stone Mountain Lake, and the Atlanta skyline. Along the way, you’ll encounter historical sites such as the Grist Mill, Historical & Environmental Education Center, and a reconstructed covered bridge. Keep an eye out for native wildlife and unique plant species that call this area home.

Parking and Trailhead Access

To access the Cherokee Trail, you’ll need to park at one of two convenient locations within Stone Mountain Park:

  • Historical & Environmental Education Center Parking Lot: Located near the base of Stone Mountain, this parking lot provides easy access to the trailhead. From here, you’ll start at the Walk-Up Trail entrance and follow the signs for the Cherokee Trail, which branches off to the right. Directions to Education Center Parking Lot
  • Nature Garden Parking Lot: This parking lot is situated close to the Nature Garden Trail and offers an alternative starting point for the Cherokee Trail. From the parking lot, follow the Nature Garden Trail until it intersects with the Cherokee Trail. Directions to Nature Garden Parking Lot

Trail Rules and Regulations

To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all visitors, please observe the following rules and regulations:

  • Stay on designated trails and do not create new paths
  • Keep pets on a leash at all times
  • Dispose of trash properly and leave no trace
  • Respect other hikers and yield to uphill traffic

How to Prepare For Your Hike

Necessary Gear

To make the most of your Cherokee Trail experience, be sure to wear comfortable hiking shoes or boots with good traction, as the terrain can be uneven and rocky. Pack plenty of water, snacks, and a fully charged cell phone for emergencies. Sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat are also recommended.

Safety Tips

Always hike with a buddy or let someone know your plans before setting out. Stay on the marked trail, and be mindful of your surroundings to avoid getting lost. Keep a safe distance from wildlife and avoid feeding animals.

Weather Considerations

Check the weather forecast before you head out on the trail, and dress in layers to accommodate temperature changes. In case of rain, bring a lightweight rain jacket or poncho. During the summer months, be prepared for hot and humid conditions.

Cherokee Trail FAQs

Is the Cherokee Trail suitable for young children?

The Cherokee Trail is rated as moderately difficult, which means it’s suitable for visitors with basic hiking experience. While some sections might be challenging for younger children, the trail can still be enjoyed by families. Just be prepared to take your time and keep an eye on your little ones as you navigate the terrain.

Are there restroom facilities along the Cherokee Trail?

There are restroom facilities available at the Historical & Environmental Education Center near the trailhead, and at the Nature Garden Trail parking lot. It is a good idea to use these facilities before starting your hike, as there are no restrooms along the trail itself.

Can we have a picnic along the Cherokee Trail?

Yes, there are several scenic spots along the trail that are perfect for a family picnic. However, be sure to pack out all your trash and avoid feeding any wildlife. Remember to follow the “Leave No Trace” principles to help preserve the park’s natural beauty for future generations.

What wildlife might we encounter on the Cherokee Trail?

The Cherokee Trail is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, squirrels, rabbits, and numerous bird species. Be sure to keep a safe distance from all wildlife and avoid feeding them, as this can be harmful to both the animals and the ecosystem. Remember, the goal is to observe and appreciate these creatures in their natural habitat.

Are strollers allowed on the Cherokee Trail?

Due to the uneven and sometimes rocky terrain of the trail, strollers are not recommended. Instead, consider using a child carrier or hiking backpack to carry younger children who may have difficulty navigating the trail on their own. This will ensure the safety and enjoyment of all family members during your hike.

More Stone Mountain Park Hikes to Enjoy


Walk-Up Trail to Top of Stone Mountain

While on top, 1,683 feet above sea level, enjoy amazing views of downtown Atlanta, the North Georgia mountains and the surrounding area. On a haze-free day, you can see 60 miles from the mountain.

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Hiking Trails

Stone Mountain Park features 15 miles of hiking and walking trails with varying degrees of difficulty. Enjoy the 5-mile trail around the base, the 1-mile trail to the summit and more!

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Walk, Jog or Bike

Walkers, joggers, and bicyclists can circle the mountain on a 5 mile loop. Motor vehicle traffic is one-way on the back side of the mountain with wide, dedicated lanes for jogging and biking.

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The Best Things To Do In Atlanta Are At Stone Mountain Park!

Explore a wide variety of fun family activities, exciting seasonal events and more at the home of the best things to do in the Atlanta, Georgia area.


From full service restaurants to quick-service concessions, Stone Mountain Park offers a wide variety of locations where you can fill your stomach and quench your thirst.


Stone Mountain Park is home to a variety of unique shops featuring handmade crafts and signature souvenirs for every member of the family.

Festivals & Events

Don’t miss exciting annual events at Stone Mountain Park like the Yellow Daisy Festival, Pumpkin Festival: Play by Day, Glow by Night, Stone Mountain Christmas and more! With something every season, there’s always plenty of things to do in Atlanta at Stone Mountain Park.