Let me take you on a sacred journey up a mountain with me. Which is to say, “let’s go hiking.” I think if I asked people to go on a sacred journey up a mountain with me, I would forever be a solo hiker. But that’s what this place is to me—it’s sacred ground.

And no, I don’t mean it’s actually sacred. Some people might think that because it’s a historical battle site, but that’s not what I’m talking about. Do you ever just love a place? Like, you show up at this place and it just makes you happy? And not even like a bubbling-over-with-excitement kind of happy. Just a plain and simple content kind of joy. This is what Kennesaw Mountain is to me.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is so normal. It’s a regular hiking or running or walking-the-dog location for a large (and growing) number of metro Atlantians. That’s one of the beautiful things about this place. It offers lots of different options, and has such a prime location. It’s a beautiful patch of nature that’s practically in my backyard.

The park encompasses more than 16 miles of trails and spans across multiple roads, which allows for multiple trailheads with parking lots. The main hub for the park is at the base of Kennesaw Mountain itself, where there is a visitor center, a small parking lot, and an overflow parking lot to accommodate the considerable number of daily guests. One of my favorite trails to hike at the park starts at the mountain, which is where I started today.

I parked in the overflow parking lot and took the sidewalk that leads back to the visitor center. The visitor center houses a small museum on which I can make no comment, since it’s been at least ten years since I’ve been inside it. I usually only go inside the center to use the restroom. There are also water fountains inside as well as one fountain outside the visitor center, and plenty of maps available. A road winds up the mountain starting from this parking lot, but is only open on weekdays. On weekends, you can purchase a ride on a shuttle if you want to visit the summit without having to hike.

Starting from the visitor’s center, the majority of the trail is uphill…I feel like this is obvious, but I might as well say it. It gets your blood pumping, but is only a mile hike, so reaching the top of Kennesaw Mountain is very achievable for most people. It also has a smattering of benches that climb the trail with you, providing plenty of opportunities to rest or take in the view. My favorite bench is one of the last ones before you reach the parking lot at the top, and faces away from the trail. From this bench, you may see the Atlanta skyline for the first time on your ascent. It was pretty gloomy and overcast today, so Atlanta was more of a shadow in the distance than anything else.

Being so popular, the mountain section of the trail is very wide, well worn, and a large portion of it is gravel. Steeper sections have “steps” that act as a resistance against erosion as well as an aid for hikers. The trail reaches the upper parking lot 0.1 mile from the summit. I almost always stop at a bench here and congratulate myself for exercising, grab some water, and enjoy the view. I once was caught in a tornado warning on the mountain, and a gentleman was shuttling hikers back to the lower lot from this parking lot in his truck. Today I took a beat and then continued up to the summit.

The last 0.1 mile to the top of Kennesaw Mountain is paved and the incline is gradual. There are historical markers along this short section of trail, as well as civil war cannons. The top of the mountain opens up, and this is where you will find the best view of the skyline to the south side of the mountain, and a whisper of the Appalachian Mountain range to the north side.

From the summit, you have the choice to turn back and return the way you came, or continue over Kennesaw Mountain. I usually choose to continue on, and today was no different. Possibly my most favorite trail to hike at Kennesaw Mountain continues across Kennesaw Mountain to Little Kennesaw. At the base of Little Kennesaw, the trail continues on to Pigeon Hill (my close second favorite trail) and intersects with Camp Brumby Trail, which is a flat two-ish miles that loops back around the base of the mountains to the visitor center. This loop is about 5 or 6 miles and very leisurely. My plan was to take this trail today, but the thunder began to roll in while I was on the back half of Kennesaw Mountain, and I had to make a choice between completing the trail I had intended to take, turn back and hike back the way I came, or hop onto the road where the trail crosses it, and take it back to the parking lot. I chose to take the road back to the base, because this was my fastest route back to my car. Buckets of rain started coming down within seconds of reaching my car.

All seasons, all kinds of weather, all variations of company, Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park never disappoints. Regardless of how crowded it can be, I love that Atlanta has such a sprawling park with so much variety of hiking right in it’s backyard. I’m hoping to branch out to some of Atlanta’s other parks this summer (like Panola and Arabia), but Kennesaw Mountain will always be my number one!

22 thoughts on “Kennesaw Mountain: My Favorite Place in Atlanta

    1. Agreed!! This post ran the risk of becoming one giant “this one time at the mountain…” story, but that would have had to be a collaborative effort! Thank you for reading!

  1. Yes, I totally understand… some places are so special to us, it’s akin to them being sacred even though we don’t mean that they are literally sacred in a religious sense. It’s that sense of wonder and peace and belonging… So lovely to visit your sacred place with you, I can see why you love this beautiful mountain spot.

  2. Shame we didn’t see this a few months ago as we were in Atlanta for a few days before flying on to New Orleans. May try next time as we often fly into Atlanta from the UK.

    1. Yes! It’s a bit of a drive from the airport, but if you have the time to check out the city next time you are passing through, I would highly recommend it!

  3. It looks like a nice trail to get some exercise in. I’d do the loop too, as I prefer a loop to and out and back when you’re just retracing your steps.

  4. This looks a nice hike to the mountain. I love walking through the stretches of the trail where there are trees on both sides. The park really looks lush and well maintained. This reminded me of Eco Park in Dhanaulti Hill Station in India. Loved your post. 🙂

    1. Thank you for reading! Kennesaw Mountain is a great little slice of nature–I saw a few deer there just today!

  5. It’s funny, I always picture Atlanta as a sprawling city and urban landscape, but didn’t consider that it has such opportunities to spend time in nature. Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park looks beautiful, and is definitely a place I would dedicate a day when I make it to Atlanta. I prefer to be at one with nature, and spend a day out on the trails – would definitely make the mountain hike 🙂

    1. There’s a reason Atlanta is called the city of trees! 🙂 Kennesaw Mountain is not technically inside the perimeter of the city, but it’s very close and definitely worth a visit if you are in Atlanta! It’s a great place to get out of the urban lifestyle, and has a great view of the Atlanta skyline!

  6. I loved your writing. Reading your workds, Kennesaw mountain trail looked to me like the most amazing hike in US. Love to discover those little places here and there hidden in this kind of travel blog. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Well thank you! I don’t know if my little spot would stand up next to places like the Grand Canyon or Yosemite, but I definitely love it! Thanks for reading!

  7. The Kenneswaw Mountain Trail looks really enchanting. I can see an aura of tranquility around there. I can understand why you use the term ‘sacred’. Have felt the same about many places where nature seems so blissful and pristine, that there is no other word to describe it.

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