Hike the Indian Seats Trail to the summit of Sawnee Mountain, an outstanding overlook with beautiful, long-range views of the North Georgia mountains.

georgia hiking trails: 2-4 miles 4 miles
(round trip)
georgia hiking trails: moderatedifficulty:
georgia hiking trails: no dogs allowed No dogs

LOCATION:north of Atlanta, near Cumming, Georgia

GEAR: REI Flash 18 Backpack, our hiking gear list and Canon 6D Camera

WEAR: Our ultra-soft Atlanta Trails shirts and our favorite outdoor apparel

It’s easily one of the best views in North Georiga. The Indian Seats Trail hikes over and around the sheer face of Sawnee Mountain, exploring breathtaking views of the distant rolling ridgeline of the Blue Ridge Mountains. And sunsets from the mountain’s towering overlook are simply spectacular.

The trail is part of the 5+ mile network of hiking, walking and running trails at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve, a 900-acre stretch of beautiful coniferous and deciduous forest just 40 miles north of Atlanta.

Sawnee Mountain Trail: hike to gorgeous sunset views from Sawnee Mountain at the Indian Seats near Atlanta

The mountain’s history spans from a sacred site for the local Native American Cherokee and Creek tribes to a mining site in the 1800s search for gold in Georgia. Today, the mountain preserve offers a number of fantastic hikes and running trails – and this view-packed loop is one of the park’s most popular, named for the granite, carved seat-like depressions on the mountain’s summit.

Hike the Indian Seats Trail to the summit of Sawnee Mountain, an outstanding overlook with beautiful, long-range views of the North Georgia mountains. #hiking #running #camping #backpacking #atlanta #georgia #travel #outdoors #adventure

Sawnee Mountain Indian Seats Trail: the hike

The adventure begins at the park’s visitor center on Spot Road (view maps and driving directions). The hike reaches the Indian Seats Loop, turning left at the intersection to follow the loop trail counterclockwise, immediately gaining elevation and winding through several wide switchbacks. The trail rolls elevation as it swings south of the mountain’s summit, hiking past a now-gated gold mine entrance, carved deeply in the exposed rock outcrop, at just over 1 mile.

Hike to an abandoned gold mine at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve just north of Atlanta

The hike follows a well-marked side trail to the mountain’s summit, reaching the overlook at 1.9 miles. Carved in the lofty, sheer face of the mountaintop are several natural depressions in the rock, were used by local tribes as seats for lookouts and meditation centuries ago.

Sawnee Mountain Preserve: hike the Indian Seats Trail to stunning sunsets in Cumming, GA

The overlook offers gorgeous, expansive views of the valley stretching below, and the southernmost range of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains rise to the north on the distant horizon. Windswept conifers line the rocky ridge, with excellent views extending along its east-to-west length.

Hike the Indian Seats Trail at Sawnee Mountain, just north of Atlanta, to stunning mountain views

The hike departs the Sawnee Mountain summit overlook, rejoining the Indian Seats Trail to continue the counterclockwise loop, meandering as it winds down the mountain’s southern expanse. The hike reaches the intersection of the Yucca Trail at 2.4 miles, turning left. The trail passes the Southern visitor center and parking area and a second mine entrance at 2.9 miles before turning northward, ascending a small knob at 3.4 miles before descending towards the Spot Road trailhead. The hike reaches the trailhead and visitors center at 4 miles, completing the adventure.

Sawnee Mountain Preserve Indian Seats Trail Map, Directions & Details

This map is not a substitute for official trail maps or topographic maps.

Driving Directions


Free. Dogs are (unfortunately) not allowed in the Sawnee Mountain Preserve, so please leave your four-legged hiking buddies at home.

GPS Coordinates

34.254750, -84.138933     //     N34 15.285 W84 08.336

Elevation Profile

Sawnee Mountain Preserve Indian Seats Trail Elevation Profile
Leave No Trace: Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails and Trailful are official Leave No Trace partners

Please Remember

Always leave no trace, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way, and follow these trail etiquette tips.

Eric Champlin

Eric Champlin is a writer and photographer who loves to hike, run, backpack, kayak and cycle the southeast. He’s the editor and founder of Atlanta Trails, Asheville Trails, and Trailful, digital magazines that highlight the South’s best outdoor adventures and top Southern-worthy outdoor gear. His mission? To inspire others to get fit outdoors and explore the South’s incredible scenic beauty.