Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve is an ecological bucket list item. You can visit any time of year and find new and interesting plants taking their turn on the granite. Our family really enjoyed visiting and exploring the preserve with its refreshingly different ambience. We cheated a bit by having a local native help us navigate straight to Arabia Mountain, but time and weather were not cooperating for a full hike through the preserve. Nonetheless, this “big rock” was what we came for and we were not disappointed.
About Arabia Mountain
Arabia Mountain is part of two peaks that form a monadnock (a Native American term for a hill or mountain that rises above the surrounding area of plains, a gentle slope, or peneplain; generally as a result of erosion). Bradley Mountain is its Southern counterpart with the two being separated by a low saddle. Arabia Mountain’s peak is 955 feet above sea level and 172 feet above the Arabia Lake reservoir. Arabia is made of metamorphic rock and is composed of migmatite. Its swirl pattern made it a popular building stone, officially known as “Tidal Grey”, in local buildings in the region as well as the US Naval Academy and the Brooklyn Bridge. The quarry at Arabia produced Lithonia Granite which helped develop the surrounding communities and build many of our nation’s most prominent buildings.
The three monadnocks of Georgia
- Stone Mountain
- Panola Mountain
- Arabia Mountain
Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve is in DeKalb County, Georgia. It began with 500 acres, including Arabia Mountain, which was donated by the Davidson family as a nature preserve for local residents. It is has been expanded several times over the past fifty years and now boasts 2,550 acres with several granite outcrops and two lakes. The mountain and Davidson-Arabia Mountain preserve were designated a National Heritage Area in 2006.
Unique & Interesting Finds
- Bright Red Diamorpha Plant- lives in small pools of water that form on the monadnock, listed as state and federally endangered.
- Black-Spored Quillwort- one of five locations (the largest in the US), listed as state and federally endangered.
- Small’s Stonecrop- takes hold in sandy depressions, also known as solution pools. Endangered in Tennessee, but not Georgia. Rare find in the US.
- Vernal pools
- Cairns designating the trail
When we researched Arabia Mountain for a visit, this facility wasn’t brought to our attention. The closest parking for the mountain is located at the entrance, but we didn’t have the time scheduled in to check it out. We definitely will next visit! Read their mission statement for a quick peak at what they do:
“The AWARE Wildlife Center rehabilitates injured and orphaned native Georgia wild animals and educates the public about peaceful coexistence with wildlife.
On the rehabilitation side, AWARE accepts up to 2,000 injured and orphaned animals every year as patients at its center just east of Atlanta. On the education side, AWARE delivers hundreds of ambassador programs at schools and festivals across Georgia, offers free tours every Saturday and Sunday at 1PM, and reaches millions through streaming media broadcasts of educational wildlife encounters and releases of rehabilitated patients.”
There are so many things to do and see. Here’s a list to get you started:
- Take a retreat at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit
- Hiking Trails
- Biking Trails
- Rangers offer guided hikes at 8am on Friday and Sunday.
- Group tours and education programs available
- Fishing on Arabia Lake with state license
- Wildlife rehabilitation tour
- 3787 Klondike Rd, Lithonia, GA 30038
- Website: arabiaalliance.org
- The trails open dawn to dusk
- Leashed dogs welcome
- Parking facilities are free
- Nature Center at 3787 Klondike Road
- Base of Arabia Mountain
- AWARE at 4158 Klondike Road.
- No park entry fee
Family Adventure Rating ❤️❤️
Cost– If you’re in the area, this is a super low cost adventure. All you need is travel, water, and maybe a hiking snack or picnic lunch.
Parking & Transportation– There’s adequate parking at three different locations (see above) and roadside parking for overflow. Mass transit is a little more difficult in Georgia; but if you’re along a bus route, Bus 116 will take you to Arabia Mountain in Pine Mountain with an additional 73 minute walk. Best suggestion is to have a car unless you really enjoy hiking and have a lot of time.
Location– Georgia has many amazing geographical features to explore, this preserve is just one adventure. The rural location makes it more possible to keep it pristine and adds to the beauty of the views. There’s quite a bit of local history in the neighboring communities as well.
Day Trip or Overnight– If you’re already in the area, this is a day trip.
Experience– We can’t say enough about the beauty of Georgia! This is one of many adventures we chose and really enjoyed the rare and varied species that we encountered. We would love to visit again and explore more of what this preserve has to offer, especially when the Bright Red Diamorpha plant is in its full glory.
Combination– This day trip gave us time to explore other adventures within driving distance. Georgia, especially around Atlanta, is chock full of art, movie sets, waterfalls, and interesting roadside stops. Check out Goats on the Roof! , Black Rock Mountain State Park , Tallulah Gorge . You can also spend the day enjoying Arabia Mountian PATH . This 30+ mile recreational trail is for walkers, joggers, and bicyclists and will bring you through historic landmarks and amazing views including the monadnocks. (Pictured above: My son enjoys a reenactment of a Walking Dead scene.)