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Kennesaw Mountain Full Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.2 (23) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A great hike with singletrack, rock gardens, and gravel roads.


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Map Key

17.0

Miles

27.3

KM

Point to Point

1,783' 544 m

High

985' 300 m

Low

1,876' 572 m

Up

1,858' 566 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

25%

Max Grade (14°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildlife

Overview

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is one of the premier training grounds for long-distance runners and hikers. Expect everything from steep, technical rock gardens on Kennesaw and Little Kennesaw Mountain, to loamy singletrack, to gravel roads and horse trails through historical battlefields. Also, you'll get one of the best views of the Atlanta skyline.

Need to Know

The route is marked with green arrows and mile markers. The mile markers are quite accurate. There is water at mile 3.5, 8, and you can easily alter to get water again around mile 13 by deviating a little. Be prepared for crowds going up Kennesaw Mountain. There is no fee for parking or using the trails.

Description

This direction gets the biggest climb out of the way early while your legs are fresh and there are fewer people on the trail.

From the visitor center, cross the summit road and follow the signs for Kennesaw Mountain. Avoid the Brumby Cutoff Trail and keep going up, up, up! The summit trail is quite varied, but quite wide. You'll gain about 800 feet in the first mile. At mile one, enjoy the vistas to the north and south as you summit big Kennesaw Mountain. Most crowds turn around here.

Continue across the top of the mountain and begin hiking through some easy rock gardens. Cross the summit road again. Cross over the rocky summit of Little Kennesaw Mountain and start into the real rock gardens. On the south side of Little Kennesaw, the trail is very rocky! It is VERY reminiscent of rocky sections of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia. Several side trails will branch off to the left, but continue straight towards Pigeon Hill.

Cross Pigeon Hill's Grant Knob and begin a steep descent to Burnt Hickory Road. Cross Burnt Hickory Road (water fountain here) and continue straight on gravel roadbed. After about 3/4 of a mile, you'll turn right down a singletrack trail. Follow this trail all the way to Noses Creek. Depending on the water level, you may be able to cross the creek as soon as you hit it. Otherwise, follow the trail to the left along the creek and cross a bridge, then take an immediate right back along the creek.

Once across the creek, keep following the loamy singletrack to Dallas Highway. Cross Dallas Highway and follow the singletrack until it opens up into some fields. Turn right through the fields on horse track/road bed. This road bed will T into another road bed, turn left onto the gravel road. Follow this trail all the way until you see a side trail on the right leading to a visible parking area. There are usually portapotties at this trailhead.

In the parking area, turn left and hike through the parking lot. On the SE end of the parking lot, a trail paralleling the road will lead you back to the main trail. Turn right on the main trail, passing through a gate. This trail leads to Kolb Farm. Keep following the green trail markers (there are no official side trails through here). At about mile 8 from the beginning, you'll parallel a paved road and there is a water fountain. After the water fountain, you'll cross a gravel road that leads to the horse stables. Continue on singletrack across the road. You'll cross a large paved road and return to singletrack on opposite side. Follow this singletrack through a field and back to the woods.

Shortly after returning to the woods, you'll turn left towards Cheatham Hill. Follow the green trail signs and singletrack towards Cheatham Hill. After you cross the two foot bridges, there will be some trails off to the right but stay straight, heading up a long gradual climb. After you crest that climb you'll come to an intersection. Turn right at intersection. This will take you back to the Cheatham Hill parking lot with one really steep climb leading to it. Cross the parking lot heading roughly north, and you'll see a trail entrance and some canons on the left.

Enter that trail and turn right/north. Follow that trail 1 mile back to Dallas Highway. Cross Dallas Highway at the same spot you did before then stay to the right and hike down the gravel road descent to Noses Creek. Cross the creek and continue on a gravel road. Look for the first trail to the right after the creek (about 1/4 mile on right). Take this trail to a field and keep bearing right as a trail comes in from left.

Follow this trail up over another little hill and back to Burnt Hickory Road. Cross Burnt Hickory and follow signs directing you to the visitor center. You'll stay on this gravel road about 2 miles. You'll pass a circular field on the left but do not take the perimeter road - keep straight on the same road you're on. Shortly after this field, look for the left turn towards the visitor center. Take the trail to the right and

Flora & Fauna

Deer, birds of prey, ferns, hardwoods, pine forest, and grassy fields.

History & Background

This was the site of one of the final and biggest battles leading up to the Battle of Atlanta in the Civil War. Lots of historical markers with Union and Confederate troop lines marked along the trail. You'll see lots of earthworks and a few canons.

Contacts

Shared By:

Daniel Jessee

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 23 votes

#523

Overall
  4.2 from 23 votes
5 Star
35%
4 Star
57%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#11

in Georgia

#523

Overall
136 Views Last Month
9,535 Since Oct 24, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

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42%
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Photos

View from Pigeon Hill.
Oct 15, 2016 near Marietta, GA
Taking a break at the top.
May 2, 2018 near Marietta, GA
Large trees on Hardage Mill Trail.
Oct 15, 2016 near Marietta, GA
Cannon with wildflowers.
Oct 15, 2016 near Marietta, GA
View from Little Kennesaw Mountain.
Oct 15, 2016 near Marietta, GA
Marker along the Illinois Monument Trail.
Nov 17, 2016 near Marietta, GA

Weather


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Check-Ins

Jan 26, 2020
Maud van der Beek
7h 30m
Nov 11, 2019
Eric Smith
Great hike. Ended with the big mountain, should have done big Kennesaw at the beginning of the hike instead of at the end 16.5mi — 5h 00m
Mar 24, 2019
Amy Palmer
Mar 16, 2019
Susannah Swanson
17mi
Feb 21, 2019
Jasim Shuja
Nov 17, 2018
Bo Adams
With Phillip and Jackson 6mi
Aug 4, 2018
David Gray
Cut it short and did like 9 miles
Jul 21, 2018
David Gray
8mi