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Panola Mountain State Park to South River Trail



19.7 mile 31.7 kilometer point to point
99% Runnable


Ascent: 963' 294 m
Descent: -940' -287 m
High: 878' 268 m
Low: 688' 210 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 13% (7°)


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Trail shared by Clint Fowler

18 miles along the the PATH trail system connecting Dekalb and Rockdale counties.

Clint Fowler

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


Panola Mtn. State Park, and the adjoining Alexander Lake trail are very nice places to run. Good views of nature from the comfort of a paved trail. You might see deer, hares, turtles, squirrels (galore), a hawk, butterflies... you get the picture.

Some good hills along this route. One note, the South River trail was okay up until it cut through some nearby residential areas. There was a lot of graffiti, food wrappers, and even a little blue drug baggie. It's a shame because the rest of this trail and the connected PATH system, are very nice, and not sketchy at all.

See more info on the Arabia Mtn/ Rockdale County trail system here.

Need to Know

If you park at Panola Mountian State park, there is a $5.00 fee. Yearly passes are also available at the Nature Center there (they will credit your $5.00 if you purchase a yearly pass, that day).

Runner Notes

South River Trail is nice for seeing wildlife but is near some sketchy areas. Drug-baggies (allegedly) and junk food trash, as well as graffiti on this portion of the trail. Proceed with caution.


Park at Panola Mtn. State Park, right at the trailhead.

1.75 miles in, the trail splits into two paths which ultimately connect again to create the Alexander Lake Loop. I recommend a loop, or two, around the lake to enjoy the view and get some practice on steep hills. There is also a restroom facility with a water spigot around back.

When ready, head north, up the Arabia Mountain Trail (there is also a southern connecting path to Rockdale River Trail on this route). Swampy wooded areas and pine forest line this section, which wraps around Panola Mtn. There is a clearing that allows for a good view of the large monadnock, as the path approaches the South River Trail South split.

At the split, there is a dilapidated house (Lyon's Farm). Next to the house is a portable restroom, and at the time of this writing, a functioning water spigot. Arabia Mountain Trail continues north, 7-8 miles up toward the Arabia Mountain State Park from here.

South River Trail (South) splits off westward and winds north roughly 2 miles, toward MLK High School. The namesake river, visible for only a small portion of the route, flows adjacent to much of this section. Some decent inclines and nice wood bridges on the route. Also, there is another portable restroom, and parking facility, near Snapfinger Rd. See Overview for possible safety considerations along South River Trail.

Once at MLK High School's parking lot, head back toward Panola Mtn.

Flora & Fauna

Forest and wildflowers.

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Dogs Allowed, History & Background

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in Georgia


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1,250 Since Apr 19, 2015



Boardwalk bridge.
Apr 2, 2015 near Pine Mo…, GA
Alexanders Lake from the Rockdale River Trail
Apr 2, 2015 near Pine Mo…, GA
Boardwalk leading to Panola Mtn. Outlook.
Apr 24, 2015 near Pine Mo…, GA
The front gate at Alexander Lake.
Apr 24, 2015 near Pine Mo…, GA
Alexander Lake from the trail.
Apr 2, 2015 near Pine Mo…, GA
Mossy rocks along the trail.
Apr 2, 2015 near Pine Mo…, GA


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