Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,214.00 ft (370.03 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
11.30 mi (18.19 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.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield is full of trails and quiet forest path to enjoy, and it is brimming with history and a sense of peace that you can only get by leaving the pavement for a few hours. With most of the visitors to the park sticking to the more mountainous northern end, you’ll sometimes find that by sticking to the central and southern parts of the park you can have it almost to yourself some days. This loop will take you on a long tour of the lesser seen parts of Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield, but it is definitely worth a visit. Old cannons, the Illinois Soldier's Monument dedicated to those that died during the most violent part of the battle at Cheatham Hill, and many signs showing where the various regiment emplacements were all located add an educational element to bring this walk through the woods to life.

There are many places to start this trek, such as the Pigeon Hill parking area on Burnt Hickory Road, the Cheatham Hill parking area, and Kolb Farm Loop parking area on the southwest side of the park. As this loop involves trails near all of them, it does not really matter where you begin. The description below will follow from the Pigeon Hill parking area.

Start by walking north on the Pigeon Hill Trail that kicks off with a healthy climb to the top. A long rolling descent takes you around the right side and back over the road past the Eaton House Historical Site. Follow the New Salem Church Trail south until it meets the Noses Creek Trail that descends until you cross a bridge. Climb up on the other side of the bridge and descend some elevation again at the next road crossing. South of Whitlock Avenue are many more historical sites like Cheatham Hill and the Unknown Soldier. Just south of the Illinois Monument you will meet the Kolb Farm Loop, which will be the least crowded section of the hike. A big sweeping loop on the southern end of the park goes behind some neighborhoods and across a few creeks.

Along the West Kolb Farm Trail you’ll know you’re almost at the parking lot and close to Illinois Monument again when you start seeing many signs for battle positions from the war. Keep to the left on the Old John Ward Road Trail until you’re almost back at Whitlock Avenue, take the connector to the old cannons just north of Cheatham Hill and cross at the same point, but keep left on the Hardage Mill Trail instead of the Noses Creek Trail. Some quiet rolling paths along the creek will bring you back to the bridge, where you’ll keep left on the other side so as to not retrace your steps. Eventually you’ll meet back up with the Noses Creek Trail, though north of where you joined in the first place, and only a few hundred more feet to the north will be your trailhead and the end of a satisfying and peaceful day hike.

In the fall the trees along this loop are simply lovely. From the very end of October through the middle of November would be the best time most years, though the season can vary. Eastern cottonwood, American elm, post oak, white oak, and many more hardwoods burst with yellows, oranges, and reds for an incredibly colorful experience. Since this hike is mostly forested and without large vistas, it becomes extra rewarding when the trees themselves put on such a show.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Quieter trails. Fall colors. Historical.

Cons

No big vistas.

Trailhead Elevation

1,028.00 ft (313.33 m)

Highest point

1,247.00 ft (380.09 m)

Net Elevation Gain

309.00 ft (94.18 m)

Features

Family friendly
Vault toilet
Historically significant

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

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