Cheatham Hill Trail – Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Cheatham Hill Trail - SignTrail: Cheatham Hill Trail – Kennesaw, Georgia (Near Atlanta)

Directions: From downtown Atlanta, take I-75 North to exit 269 (Barrett Parkway).  Turn Left onto Barrett Parkway and drive 2.1 miles west.  Turn left onto Old 41 highway and continue for 2.1 miles.  Turn Right onto Stilesboro Road, then turn left onto Kennesaw Mountain Drive.  The visitor center is on the left.  (These directions do lead you to the main visitor center for the park and not to the trailhead).  The visitor center will have pamphlets, information and directions to get you to the parking area for the trailhead)

General Information:Cheatham Hill Trail - Mile Marker

Terrain: This is an easy trail with slight elevation changes.

Distance: Approximately 5 miles.  It is a loop trail.  Starts and ends at the parking lot.

Family Oriented: Yes, great trail for kids.  Do be aware the length.  It may not be suited for younger children

Dogs Allowed: Yes, must be on a leash.  You must clean up after your animal.  There are furnished baggies at the parking lot that you can take with you.

Hiking Fees: No fee for hiking the trail.

About: This trail is located in the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.  The park memorizes battles of the Civil War.  The area where the Cheatham Hill Trail is located was where the most intense fighting occurred.  There is access, from this trail, to the Illinois Monument where Union soldiers fell.  The trail is named for Confederate General Benjamin F. Cheatham.  The Confederate army made a Salient (or protruding angle) in their protective line.  This became known as the “dead angle”.

Cheatham Hill Trail - BridgeThe trail has many different features.  It is mostly wooded and covered.  There are large open fields that you walk along side.  You also cross over the John Ward Creek.  There are a bridges where creek or water crossings are encountered.  Down near the creek area is a wonderful place to watch for birds.  It has been recently upgraded with mile markers and trail arrows to keep you on the right path.  All of the trails have heavy foot traffic and the occasional horse.  It is pet friendly and a lot of hikers take advantage to get their dogs out onto the trail.  Many runners also make use of the trail.  Sometimes they come in waves of 5 to 10 at a time.

The Hike: We have hiked this trail many times, but had not been on it in a while. We were pleasantly surprised to find new trail markers on the side of the path.  The first time we decided to take this hike we had to guess as to which way to go when facing quite a few forks.  Now, with the markers, anyone would have a very hard time getting lost.

Cheatham Hill Trail - HummingbirdIt was mid September and the daytime highs made it feel like July, so we got up early to get on the trail just after dawn.  When we arrived at the parking lot, runners were already coming off the trail having already finished their exercise routine.  There is a constant rotation of cars in the parking lot all day long.  If you can’t find a space immediately, just wait a few minutes for someone to come off the trail.  I will say that the parking lot is small and you have to parallel park.

We started off.  The trail is a loop and most people hike it in a counter clockwise orientation.  So, at the end of the parking lot turn to the right to get on the trail.  The loop ends at the same location, just across the road.  It was cool and the birds were noisy.

What was amazing to us was even with the amount of traffic on the trail, we saw a lot of wildlife.  We spotted a single doe eating just off the trail near the half mile marker.  Further along we almost stepped on a snake.  We think it was a Pigmy Rattlesnake by appearance, but we were going off of memory.  Do be careful when hiking on trails around here, snakes do like to sun themselves.  Cheatham Hill Trail - FlowerThis one was just crossing the trail and really didn’t seem to notice us.  Near John Ward Creek, we stopped to look at the beautiful stand of flowers.  There were a lot of bird noises around.  While looking around, we noticed a few humming birds making the rounds to all the flowers.  We must have watched them for 10 or 15 minutes before moving on.

The other people passing us in both directions on the trail were almost always very considerate and  said hello.  The numerous dogs we saw were kept under control and didn’t bother us.  It was a Saturday morning and there were a few track teams from the local schools getting a good work out.

We have never seen any horses on the trail, just their droppings.  On a previous hike we did see one mother deer with her fawn.

This is a great hike to view wildlife.  The best time would be in the early morning.  I would assume that during the week, the crowds would be less, giving you more opportunities to admire the flora and fauna.

Hoping you next hike is Relaxing, Safe and Inspiring,

Russell

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