Saturday Hike at Sawnee Mountain

Published: 12/14/15 11:05 AM in Local, North America, Travel.
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Another weekend, another hike! And ultimately, another chance to get to know the area by hiking a local Atlanta trail. This time, Kevin and I decided to drive over to Sawnee Mountain and hike up to the Indian Seats for a beautifully scenic overlook of the town below. So geared up and headed out on a Saturday in order to take our time outdoors for the day.

This was another trail in our Falcon Guide, Best Hikes Near Atlanta by Ren and Helen Davis. We have been using this guide to discover the many great day hikes in Atlanta and the surrounding areas. So far it has helped us discover the trail to Old Roswell Mill Falls which we might have overlooked despite it being so near to where we live. The trails around Sawnee Mountain would have been another area we may not have experienced without the help of our guide since it is a little further outside the city.

The scenic view from the Indian Seats on top of Sawnee Mountain.

Kevin Banogon stands at the top of the Indian Seats in Sawnee Mountain Preserve.

Kevin Banogon looks out over the view from the Indian Seats on Sawnee Mountain.

Meredith Lambert Banogon stands on the Indian Seats in Sawnee Mountain Preserve.

Meredith Lambert Banogon and Kevin Banogon laugh on top of Sawnee Mountain at the Indian Seats.


Our Hike to the Indian Seats of Sawnee Mountain

Overall the hike up to the top of Sawnee Mountain was not too strenuous. Although there were increased inclines here and there and a few steep switchbacks, reaching the area known as the Indian Seats only takes about a mile of hiking. The shorter distance makes it overall less difficult. However, be prepared for some steep switchbacks before you reach the summit.

The Indian Seats are named for the granite, carved seat-like depressions at the Sawnee Mountain summit. This land was once thought sacred to the local Native American Cherokee and Creek tribes and it is clear why. The view from this clearing allows visitors to see the distant peaks of the southern Appalachian Mountains. At the official overlook, a diagram is provided to illustrate the location of these peaks in relation to where you are.

Before leaving the Indian Seats, Kevin and I found a shaded spot to set up our camp chairs and spend a bit of time reading while basking in the view. This was the best part of the hike overall because it gave us time to stop and reflect. Sometimes we focus on completing the hike within a certain timeframe that we forget to stop and take in where we are and the beauty and being engulfed in our surroundings. That is why sometimes a shorter hike leads to a bigger pay-off since we finally take some time to just take it in.


Graffiti tells people to stay outside at the lookout at Sawnee Mountain.

A deer seen on the trails through Sawnee Mountain Preserve.

Kevin Banogon poses in front of a closed min shaft at the Sawnee Mountain Preserve.

An eerie entrance to a closed mine shaft at Sawnee Mountain Preserve.

A fawn sighting along the trails at Sawnee Mountain Preserve outside of Atlanta, Georgia.


The Trails around Sawnee Mountain

The Sawnee Mountain Preserve encompasses 963 acres just north of Cumming, Georgia. The park contains over 4 miles of trails along the slopes of the mountain and up to its summit making it well worth the day trip out of Atlanta. After reaching the summit to see the view from the Indian Seats, heading back down and around the trails along the slopes is an easy to moderate hike.

Along the way, you will come across two historic mine shafts that were used back in the 1800s to search for gold in Georgia. These huge tunnels into the mountain have been very tightly sealed from public entry, but the entrance has been blocked by bars that allow you to look into its dark recesses. It was definitely eerie to look into.

As we continued along the trail, we also came across a mother deer and her fawn. As Floridians, the novelty of seeing a deer so close has still not worn off so we were very pleasantly surprised when these two wandered along the path in front of us.


Kevin Banogon hikes along the 4.4 miles of trails available along Sawnee Mountain.

The beauty of Georgia in the Spring at Sawnee Mountain.

Kevin Banogon and Meredith Lambert Banogon celebrate reaching the top of Sawnee Mountain.

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