A beautiful 10-mile loop that enjoys great views and a historical site from the summit of Kennesaw Mountain before heading south to eventually double back at Dallas Highway. This hike gets the major climbing out of the way at the start, and the remaining miles follow the area's pleasantly rolling terrain.
From the Visitor Center, look for the well-marked trail to Kennesaw Mountain Trail
. The first mile, which is mostly uphill, is the most populated section of trail, with lots of visitors going up and returning down this stretch. At the summit, enjoy broad views of the surrounding landscape. Civil War plaques and cannons commemorate the Atlanta Campaign of 1864.
Enjoy scenic views, rock outcroppings, and a variety of flora while descending the backside of Kennesaw Mountain, hiking through a saddle and then up to the top of Little Kennesaw Mountain, which also displays cannons from the Civil War.
The hike down the southern side of Little Kennesaw Trail
is both the most scenic and the most technical portion of the hike. Take your time and watch your footing. The rock piles and boulders make this landscape interesting. Remember to pause occasionally to enjoy the views.
Continue straight on the Pigeon Hill Trail
and follow it to Burnt Hickory Road. There are a couple of cutoff trails to the left if you would like to shorten your hike and complete the 5.8-mile look back on the Camp Brumby Trail
To continue on the 10-mile loop, cross the road, pass the parking area, and pick up Noses Creek Trail
, which runs past a broad field. At the fork, veer right towards the North Hardage Mill Trail
, a much less-traveled and nicely forested area. You may enjoy a peaceful encounter with a wild turkey on this section.
At Noses Creek, turn left, go up to the gravel road and then turn right to cross Noses Creek Bridge. Immediately after the bridge, turn right to continue on the singletrack South Hardage Mill Trail
. Continue until the trail meets Dallas Hwy. If you would like a longer hike, you can cross the highway and follow the directions for the Kennesaw Mountain Full Loop
But, to complete the 10-mile loop described here, don't cross the road. Instead, veer left onto the Noses Creek Trail
heading North. This is a wider section of trail that can accommodate several hikers abreast. Continue back over the Noses Creek Bridge, this time staying on the wider gravel path headed north. At the New Salem Church Trail
, veer right, past the New Salem Church Historical Site, and cross back over Burnt Hickory Road onto the Camp Brumby Trail
Once on the Camp Brumby Trail
, your tired legs get to enjoy a much flatter stretch of the hike, winding through the forest and even past a few large homes. Pass Camp Brumby Loop Trail
, a CCC site that housed workers who built trails and signs, planted trees, etc. Continue north and follow signs to the Visitor Center.
Springtime brings wildflowers and the summer canopy is lush and green. Fall colors are spectacular, with particularly striking red sumacs brightening the surroundings. In winter the landscape affords more clear vistas. Wildlife includes deer, wild turkey, squirrels, and snakes.