Kennesaw Mountain 24 Gun Trail
Hike (or trail run) the Kennesaw Mountiain 24 Gun Trail and Environmental Trail, exploring Kenesaw Mountain’s lower elevations, a rocky, rolling forest, and the site of a fortified Civil War Union camp.
Kennesaw Mountain towers over the landscape just North of Atlanta, its tree-filled slopes and bald mountain summit a local favorite for hikers, trail runners and history buffs. An extensive trail network blankets the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, each offering a unique outdoor adventure across Kennesaw’s varied terrain.
The 24 Gun Trail is one of the park’s newest trails, opened in 2014. Unlike the park’s popular trail to the Kennesaw Mountain summit, there are no stunning, sweeping views on the 24 Gun Trail, and the trail runs close to the often-busy Stilesboro Road. But the 24 Gun Trail is worth a visit: the trail explores rolling forest, several small creeks and a line of large, easily-recognizable earthworks used by Union troops during the Civil War. And, combined with the Kennesaw Mountain Environmental Trail, this two-trail duo explores a beautiful forest on Kennesaw’s northwestern face, escaping the nearby traffic noise. These two trails combine to offer an excellent, gently rolling hike or unpaved trail run that’s rich with history and natural beauty.
Kennesaw Mountain 24 Gun Trail: the hike
The 24 Gun Trail departs from the Environmental Trail trailhead at the Kennesaw Mountain picnic area (view maps and driving directions), hiking a short, westbound hike on the Environmental Trail to reach the 24 Gun trailhead. The route veers right at the first trail intersection, the trail framed with rustic split-rail fence and blanketed with pine needles.
The hike reaches the 24 Gun trailhead at .35 mile, veering right to hike the 24 Gun Trail. The hike crosses a small wood bridge before crossing a paved road at .5 mile. Though sounds from the nearby road are nearly continuous, the forest terrain is beautiful: fern and wildflowers blanket the forest floor in warmer months, catching dappled sunlight from the pine and deciduous forest canopy above.
The 24 Gun Trail drops elevation, descending stone stairs and crossing two wood bridges over creeks at .8 mile and .9 mile. Moss-covered rocks and fallen tree branches line the creeks, the brilliant green moss a contrast to the orange, muddy stream bed below. The trail climbs elevation from the second bridge, meandering through the forest.
An extended line of mounded, crescent-shaped earthworks are to the left, beginning at 1.1 miles. Union troops dug these fortifications during the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain to protect cannon stationed here – a strong line of artillery against the Confederate Troops above. The fortifications’ still-defined crescent shape protected the guns and artillerymen from enemy fire – and if you look closely, you’ll see a dip in the center of each, allowing access for the cannon’s barrel. (To preserve the earthworks, please stay on the 24 Gun Trail and view them from a distance.)
The 24 Gun Trail reaches a large, grassy clearing at 1.2 miles, the site of a Union encampment. Tall grasses wave gently in the meadow’s open expanse as birds of prey soar overhead, searching for prey in the field below.
The 24 Gun Trail crosses a small clearing before reaching a gravel road at 1.5 miles, the trail’s end. The hike doubles back on its outbound trek, retracing its steps to Kennesaw Mountain’s Environmental Trail. The hike reaches the 24 Gun Trail and Environmental Trail intersection at 2.6 miles.
The hike turns right, following the Environmental Trail in a wide, southbound loop on Kennesaw Mountain’s lower elevations. Throughout the Environmental Loop, signs mark the forest’s wide variety of sky-reaching trees and explain the forest’s history and ecology – a great, educational hike for children and adults alike. The trail explores the banks of a creek at 3 miles before climbing elevation through a boulder-filled slope, completing the loop at 3.5 miles. The hike veers right at the loop’s end, hiking toward the Kennesaw Mountain picnic area and reaching the trailhead at 3.6 miles, completing the hike.
Up for more Kennesaw Mountain adventure?
Check out our Kennesaw Mountain Trail Guide for our favorite hiking and running trails across Kennesaw Mountain’s summits, shady forest, and battlefields.
Kennesaw Mountain 24 Gun Trail Map, Directions & Details
Free parking is available at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.
33.983133, -84.579083 // N33 58.988 W84 34.745