Hike the Environmental Trail, exploring the base of Kennesaw Mountain on an easy, one-mile loop. With signs that teach about Kennesaw Mountain’s forest and wildlife, it’s a kid-friendly hike, but great for adults, too.
The Environmental Trail at Kennesaw Mountain explores the natural landscape on the mountain’s northwestern slope. It’s a great hike through a beautiful forest, exploring a wide diversity of trees and wildlife habitats, enormous boulders, and a meandering creek. And with illustrated signs that explain the surrounding forest systems, wildlife, and geology, it’s a great, educational, kid-friendly hike for families with kids and adults alike.
Kennesaw Mountain’s extensive trail network offers a great outdoor adventure for runners, hikers, and Civil War buffs, with trails that scale mountains, run through battlefield meadows, and explore a creek-filled forest. Kennesaw Mountain is steeped in history, most notably known as a major Civil War battle in the Battle of Atlanta. But it’s an equally beautiful, diverse landscape.
Kennesaw Mountain Environmental Trail: the hike
The adventure begins at the picnic area near the Kennesaw Mountain Visitor Center (view maps and driving directions), trekking into a forest shaded with needled pine and leafy deciduous trees. The hike reaches a signed intersection at .1 mile, veering right and trailing between two rustic, split rail fences.
Along the trail’s length, tree species are identified with signs, calling attention to Kennesaw Mountain’s wide variety of towering tree varieties. The trail also features nine signs that educate hikers on the surrounding environment. Scattered throughout the trail’s loop, the signs illustrate the trees, wildlife, habitats, food chains, creek systems, geology, forest succession, human impacts, and conservation of the forest. Beautiful illustrations explain the forest landscape with interesting facts in an easy-to-read, educational format. They’re great for kids, but equally interesting for adults, calling attention to woodland features that most hikers quickly breeze by without noticing.
The trail passes an intersection with the 24 Gun Trail, which veers to the right to explore a Union Army encampment and cannon earthworks from Kennesaw Mountain’s Civil War battle. This hike continues straight through the intersection, passing a bench and trailing through a vine-filled forest. The trail rolls elevation to reach a small grove of native azaleas that bloom mid-Spring, scenting the air with a sweet fragrance.
The trail reaches the banks of a creek at .75 mile. Grasses and moss-covered fallen branches and rocks line the creek’s banks. A series of benches line the creek: it’s a perfect place to relax, listen to the stream’s trickling flow through the forest, and watch for creekside wildlife.
Departing the valley, the Environmental Trail climbs elevation steadily through a rocky forest. Boulders, ranging from small to giant, dot the sides of the trail, covered in vibrant green moss and silvery lichen.
The trail crests at 1 mile, beginning a continual descent toward the trailhead through rocky terrain, hopping over small streams that often intersect the trail. The hike reaches the end of the Environmental Loop at 1.3 miles, turning right to reach the trailhead at the Kennesaw Mountain picnic area.
More Kennesaw Mountain outdoor adventure
Kennesaw Mountain’s diverse (and growing) trail network offers a great hike or run across a staggering variety of terrain. Explore the site of a Union Army encampment in a grassy meadow flanked by Civil War earthworks on the 24 Gun Trail. Catch a great workout – and great views of the Atlanta skyline on the horizon – on the Kennesaw Mountain Trail. Or explore more running and hiking trails at the park with our list of our favorite Kennesaw Mountain trails.
Always leave no trace, pack out everything you pack in, and if you see trash, pick it up and pack it out.
Stay on the marked trail, tell someone where you're going, pack safety and wayfinding essentials, and don't rely on a mobile phone to find your way. Please always practice good trail etiquette. And before you go, always check the trailhead kiosk, official maps, and the park or ranger office for notices of changed routes, trail closures, safety information, and restrictions.
Love the trail?
This trail is maintained thanks to the hard work of countless volunteers and donations from supporters of the Kennesaw Mountain Trail Club. Please support them by making a donation or joining a volunteer day. Let's work together to keep these fantastic trails maintained and open for use!
Beginning November 13, 2019, the National Park Service will be charging a $5 per vehicle entrance fee with a $40 annual pass option at Kennesaw Mountain.
33.983133, -84.579083 // N33 58.988 W84 34.745