Sawnee Mountain Preserve: hiking the Indian Seats Trail
Hike the 4 mile Indian Seats Trail to summit Sawnee Mountain, an outstanding overlook with beautiful, long-range views of the North Georgia mountains.
The Indian Seats Trail hikes over and around the sheer face of Sawnee Mountain to breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the mountain’s overlook. 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.
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 on the Indian Seats Trail is one of the park’s most popular.
Sawnee Mountain Indian Seats Trail: the hike
The Indian Seats Trail – named for the granite, carved seat-like depressions at the Sawnee Mountain summit – departs south from 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 Sawnee Mountain summit, hiking past a now-gated gold mine entrance, carved deeply in the exposed rock outcrop, at just over 1 mile.
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, legendarily used by local tribes as seats for lookouts and meditation for many centuries.
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.
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 to remain on the Indian Seats Loop. 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.
Sawnee Mountain Preserve Indian Seats Trail Map, Directions & Details
Free. Dogs are not allowed in the Sawnee Mountain Preserve, so please leave your four-legged hiking companions at home for this hike.
34.254750, -84.138933 // N34 15.285 W84 08.336
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