|From Allatoona Pass|
When I think about the best that hiking in Georgia has to offer, I think of two primary things: the natural beauty and the rich American History, About 25 miles northeast of Atlanta, about a mile off I75 near Cartersville lies a place that wears both items well, but with a little extra emphasis on the history. I am talking about spending a portion of the day at Allatoona pass.
If you look at it merely as a hike, you are going to enjoy the nice walk by Lake Allatoona, an Army Corp of Engineers made lake very popular with the boating set. The walk through the pass will impress because of magnitude of human will it must have took to build such a pass for the railroads. And there is a couple of short uphill climbs to get the heart pumping. You could actually take a dip in the lake if you come prepared. And there's a pretty amazing bamboo forest near the trailhead. That would be great in and of itself, but you would be missing the point.
The key to this location is the History. This is where the Battle of Allatoona Pass was fought. Just accross from the parking lot stands the Mooney house (now a bed and breakfast) which served as a hospital at different times for both the Union and Confederacy. The Climb up to Star Fort takes you to a pretty well preserved fortification used by the Union to hold off the Confederates.
The Battle of Allatoona occurred in October of 1864, The Confederates attacked trying to sever the Western Atlantic Railline, which would hinder the Union Supply lines to the Troops already further South at Kennesaw. About four thousand men were involved in the battle, with Major General Samuel French leading the Confederates and Brigadier General John M. Corse for the Union. The Union won the battle as they were able to hold their position long enough for French's troops to sense the arrival of more troops. Actually, the message came from General Sherman, which gave us the American saying "Hold the Fort." The battle saw about 700 dead for the North and another 800 for the South.
There is also the Tomb of the Unknown Hero, and Monuments for the state forces involved in the battle (the biggest ones are for Missouri and Texas, both confederate states). If the North is more your cup of tea, you can read an interesting letter from an Illinois Soldier who fought in the battle, Jefferson Moses.
This is a nice day out for the casual hiker. A little research can really help you enjoy the rich history. If you think its a little short, you can visit nearby Etowah Mounds or Red Top Mountain State Park.
Approximate Time: 1.5 to 2 hours
Approximate Distance: 3.4 miles
Trail Surface: Compact Soil, Rocks, Paved Portions, Stairs, Sand
Features: Lakeside Views, Civil War History
Overall Rating: B
Scenic Quality: A
Hours of Operation: Open Year Round, Sunlight Hours
Maps: Posted at Trailhead Or Here
Directions: I-75 Exit 283 (Emerson/Allatoona Road) in Bartow County, Ga., go east on Old Allatoona Road, In .5 miles the road curves left and crosses railroad tracks. Continue on for 0.1 miles (a total of 0.6 miles. Parking lot is on the left beneath the levee that creates Lake Allatoona.