Davidson-arabia Mountain Nature Preserve

The Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve protects Arabia Mountain, a large granite outcrop in the east Atlanta metro area. The preserve is near two similar outcrops: Stone Mountain and Panola Mountain. These outcrops are known as monadnocks, or isolated hills that stand above the surrounding area. Arabia Mountain is 940 feet high.

Arabia Mountain is estimated to be the oldest of the three outcrops, at 400 million years old. The mountain was formed as rock that was still underground was pushed up towards the earth's surface. The unusual swirling rock patterns in the granite are known as Lithonia gneiss. Stone Mountain and Panola Mountain do not have the gneiss rock patterns. Granite quarries were developed in the area after the Civil War. The commercial granite industry provided materials for foundation stones, chimneys, steps, and tombstones.

The nature preserve is a DeKalb County Park that protects the ecology of the area and regulates recreational use by the public. Plant life on the mountain includes two protected species that are unique to these outcrops: Small's Stonecrop and Diamorpha, which turns a brilliant red color in the spring. Other plants found on the outcrop include sunnybells, sparkleberry, and the fall-blooming yellow daisy. A variety of bird species can be found in the area, including hawks, vultures, and pileated woodpeckers. Mammals such as white tailed deer and coyote are sometimes seen.

The Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve encompasses 2,000 acres. The park is open daily from 7am to sunset. A nature center is open on Saturdays from 10am-1pm. The center has educational exhibits and shows a film on the area's plant and animal life. Many visitors to the area enjoy the nature trails. There is a panoramic view from the top of Bradley Mountain, also within the preserve. Visitors may want to explore the area around Arabia Lake or Frog Pond. Hikers must stay on the trails to avoid damaging rare and protected plant life. A PATH Foundation trail passes through the nature preserve. This is one of a series of connecting trails linking parks, neighborhoods, and points of interest throughout DeKalb County. Hikers, bikers, and skaters are allowed to use the concrete PATH Arabia Mountain Greenway Trail.

Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve is located at 3787 Klondike Road in Lithonia, Georgia. Visitors may park in two parking lots off Klondike Road. The north lot is adjacent to the nature center building. Restrooms are adjacent to the south parking lot. Maps are available at the trailhead kiosks.

By: D. Wells