Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park | KENNESAW MOUNTAIN SUMMIT TRAIL

Trail to the top of Kennesaw Mountain

Trail to the top of Kennesaw Mountain

Length: 2 miles round trip
Time: 1.5 hours, plus time spent at the top.
Difficulty: Strenuous

The most popular trail at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is by far is the 1-mile hike to the top of Kennesaw Mountain and back to the Visitor Center (two miles round trip). To do this hike you will take the West Trail, which starts on the hill behind the Visitor Center. On a busy day, just follow the crowd. Much of the trail is a fairly smooth, graded, gravel path, but there are sections with tree roots, so watch your step. The trail rises 800 feet in 1 mile, so the older and/or more out-of-shape you are, the more strenuous the hike will be. There are plenty of rocks to sit on if you need a break.

Trail also contains areas of roots and rocks

Trail also contains areas of roots and rocks

Is the hike up Kennesaw Mountain harder than the hike up any other mountain. In my opinion, hiking up a mountain is hiking up a mountain. The only difference in hiking up Kennesaw Mountain and any other mountain is distance. The exertion per step is the same. Thus, if in recent times you have hiked up a mountain, however strenuous you felt that hike was, this will be the same per foot traveled. I have hiked to the top of Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park and the incline is about the same (2700 feet in 3.5 miles, or 775 feet per mile). At 3.5 miles long, the only difference between Yosemite Falls and Kennesaw Mountain is 2.5 miles more of misery.

Hike up Kennesaw Mountain

Hike up Kennesaw Mountain

The trail is fairly straightforward, but there is one unmarked intersection to be aware of. Not far from the start, you will come to an intersection and have to choose to go left or right. Although it is not marked as to which way leads to the top of the mountain, since to the right the trail goes uphill, it’s a no-brainer to go right.

There are a few signs along the trail that mark where various commanders and troops were stationed during the fighting.

Sign marking troop position

Sign marking troop position

After about 30-40 minutes you will arrive at the mountain top parking lot. From the lot there are views to the east, including a view downtown Atlanta far in the distance. There is also an observation platform that rises a little higher than the lot; access this by stairs. However, keep in mind that the parking lot is not actually the “top” of the mountain, though most people turn around and head back down after taking in the views.

Observation deck near the top of Kennesaw Mountain

Observation deck near the top of Kennesaw Mountain

View from observation platform near parking area atop Kennesaw Mountain

View from observation platform near parking area atop Kennesaw Mountain

To get to the very top, continue on the trail that runs to the left of the observation platform. From the parking lot, the top can be reached with an additional 10 minutes of hiking. Unfortunately, there is no official marking for the exact summit, but once the trail levels out and you come to cannon exhibits, you’ve pretty much reached the top. I believe the last exhibit is an information panel about the Fall of Atlanta.

Walking path from parking lot to cannon exhibits atop Kennesaw Mountain

Walking path from parking lot to cannon exhibits atop Kennesaw Mountain

Summit of Kennesaw Mountain

Summit of Kennesaw Mountain

Westward pointing cannon atop Kennesaw Mountain, once aimed at Sherman, now aimed at the city below

Westward pointing cannon atop Kennesaw Mountain, once aimed at Sherman, now aimed at the city below

Information panel and view towards Atlanta from the top of Kennesaw Mountain

Information panel and view towards Atlanta from the top of Kennesaw Mountain

Once you have finished your visit at the top, turn around and head back down. You should be able to get up and down in 1.5 hours, plus time spent at the top.

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Last updated on February 15, 2020
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