Hike the two mile, kid-friendly loop at Arabia Mountain near Atlanta, following the Mile Rock Trail and Forest Trail through vast rock fields to a glassy, serene lake.
The Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area is a wonderland of stunningly diverse landscapes just east of Atlanta. The park’s rolling terrain boasts over thirty miles of prime hiking trails that explore lofty mountaintops, serene lakes, open grasslands, and stream-filled forests. Arabia Mountain has long topped our list of favorite Atlanta hiking and running trails, and this two-mile adventure is a great primer to the area’s staggeringly beautiful outdoor spaces.
This double-trail loop explores a shady forest, treks through wide-open expanses of granite, and a visits a serene glassy lake, all on an easy two-mile loop. This hike’s biological diversity is stunning: towering pine, leafy hardwoods, seasonal wildflowers, mosses, and lichens can be found along its stretch. And this landscape is home to diamorpha smallii, a rare, tiny plant that blooms bright crimson in early spring. And the route’s elevation change is gentle, making this trail easy for beginners and family-friendly, too.
Arabia Mountain Loop: the hike
The adventure begins at the Arabia Mountain Nature Center (view maps and driving directions), following the Mile Rock Trail at a signed trailhead behind the building. The hike crosses one of the park’s many paved trails, and follows a dirt path under a shady forest canopy. The hike passes a large mass of granite on the trail’s right side before emerging into a wide-open granite field.
The route follows large, cemented rock piles, called cairns, for this portion of the trail. The hike traverses large, exposed expanses of rock and passes large, angular, blocky granite cliffs, the remains of a former quarry.
A springtime hike offers a chance to spot the rare diamorpha smallii in bloom, painted in crimson swaths throughout the otherwise barren rock landscape.
The hike continues following the trails cairns, carefully remaining on the trail to prevent damage to the fragile lichens, mosses and plants that thrive on Arabia Mountain’s unique terrain. The trail passes a small pond at just over a half mile, filled with grasses, tadpoles and frogs in warmer months.
The hike passes the shell of an old rock mining building at .75 mile, arcing northwest.
The hike passes a small pavilion on the trail’s left side, just before meeting the banks of Arabia Lake at 1.1 miles. The hike turns right at the lake, following the contours of the lake’s shore and catching reflective views of the treeline on the opposite bank. The rusted metal remains of a bridge and mining structures punctuate the lake’s glassy surface.
The trail departs the lake’s shore at 1.25 miles, and reaches a signed intersection that marks the beginning of the Forest Trail. The yellow-blazed Forest Trail meanders through a mixed pine and deciduous forest, gently climbing elevation.
The hike passes through scattered clearings of exposed granite and rock piles. After a rain, small streams cascade over the rock expanses, creating shallow ponds and small wetland areas where plant life flourishes. The trail crosses the paved Arabia Mountain PATH Trail, continuing to follow the yellow-blazed Forest Trail to the trailhead. The hike reaches the visitor center and parking area at 2 miles, finishing the incredibly scenic adventure.
More adventures at Arabia Mountain
In the mood for more mileage? Explore beautiful forest, the Arabia Mountain Lake, the Klondike Boardwalk and the Arabia Mountain summit on a 5-mile hike on Arabia Mountain’s most popular and scenic trails. And check out more on-trail adventures in the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area in our Arabia Mountain destination guide.
This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.
Free parking is available at the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area trailhead on Klondike Road.
33.672095, -84.117488 // N33 40.326 W84 07.049