Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,161.00 ft (353.87 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
5.90 mi (9.50 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

You don’t have to go all the way to North Georgia to find a mountain worth climbing. Kennesaw Mountain, just northwest of Atlanta, offers a stark contrast to the experience you would find at Stone Mountain, which more Atlantans tend to think of when planning for a nearby summit to reach. The forests, history, and views of the far off foothills add a different flair that is easily worth the drive up from Atlanta. Along the trail you’ll find monuments to the battle for Atlanta, old cannon positions, and plenty of other families enjoying the little bit of nature tucked into the heart of Kennesaw.

You can start this hike from an upper lot or the main lot next to the visitor center, but if you’re not one of the first people there in the morning, you’ll likely find yourself starting from the overflow lot just north of the park. Don’t fret, as the upper lot only adds a short distance to the hike. From there, make your way to the main trailhead and be sure to use the restroom and grab some water since you won’t find any for the rest of the hike. The loop can be done in either direction, but the more rewarding way is to hike the steep Kennesaw Mountain Trail to the summit and loop around the back.

Begin making your way up the steep trail as it weaves through forest and the occasional gap in the tree to prove to yourself that you actually are making upward progress. When you get to the upper parking lot you’ll be about three-quarters of the way there. At the summit you'll find a nice clearing with views of the Atlanta skyline, and just on the other side of the summit on the way back down you’ll have some openings that look north. Keep making your way down the far side of the mountain and cross the road to keep toward Little Kennesaw; it doesn’t have the big views of Kennesaw, but it is worth doing the full loop for a sense of the other parts of the park.

Few places really give you a sense of Atlanta as the “City in the Trees” as doing a hike at Kennesaw Mountain in the fall. Many hardwoods begin turning in the last week of October and continue through the middle of November when the leaves start to come down. During those magical few weeks the post oaks, white oaks, American elms, and more put on a dazzling display of orange, red, and yellow that is very hard to resist (not that you would want to). From the top of Kennesaw a carpet of color stretches out all the way to the skyline of Atlanta, and it is quite a reward for the steep trail.

Descending Little Kennesaw marks the end of your climbing for the day. Follow the Camp Brumby Trail back to the main parking lot, passing the historic CCC Camp clearing on the way. From the Camp Brumby clearing you’ll be almost done and get a nice view of how much higher you just were on top of Kennesaw just an hour or two before. Complete the loop and make your way back to the car the way you came.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Great views. Isolated summit. History.

Cons

Crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

1,127.00 ft (343.51 m)

Highest point

1,778.00 ft (541.93 m)

Net Elevation Gain

680.00 ft (207.26 m)

Features

Family friendly
Flushing toilets
Historically significant
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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