Sawnee Mountain

Chief Sawnee
From Sawnee Mountain

Now when I used to talk about the great nearby mountains, everyone knew I was speaking about Kennesaw Mountain and Stone Mountain : the (fraternal) twin sisters residing in Cobb and DeKalb County respectively. Both were about 1600-1700 feet in height and both had their separate but distinct charm. And I thought that was all you or I were going to get, at least until you got up to the Appalachians But I recently discovered I was wrong. Forsyth County has recently (2005) thrown their hat in the mix and opened up a new nature preserve surrounding a comparable mountain just outside of Cumming, Georgia by the name of Sawnee Mountain .
Indian Seat Trail
Sawnee Mountain looms over Cumming at a respectable 1963 feet. It is the mountain that you see when you pass Exit 17 on 400 with the satellite tower on it. And at only about 45 miles outside of Atlanta it serves as another option for those looking to get away from it all without going to far.
View from the Indian Seats
From Sawnee Mountain
The path is impeccably cleared and the footing is fantastic. The current trails run about 3.1 miles and can be covered in 2.5 to 3 hours. There are preparations being made to enhance the hiking here to over ten miles of trails. At that time, I believe this will be a significant destination for people with similar hobbies as mine. Now considering the height of the mountain, you might expect a difficult climb, but it really isn’t that difficult. Unfortunately, my GPS tracker failed and I can’t tell you the elevation gain, but based on experience, I would place this as a bit less intense that Kennesaw or Stone Mountain, even with the higher elevation (I would approximate a gain of about 450 feet). The trail guide indicates that the Indian Seats Trail to the summit is Easy to Moderate, though I would call it a solid Moderate for the casual hiker.
Atop Sawnee Mountain
Sawnee was apparently a well respected Cherokee Indian Chief. There are some rocks called “Indian Seats” that apparently he and the tribal leaders would sit in, surveying their people and land below. I don’t know much about him other than this cool story on Moonlit Road of him burying Indian Gold deep within the mountain and his restless spirit protecting it.
The truth is that there are two accessible gold mine shafts that you pass along your walk. But there were not protected by an Indian Spirit but rather by iron gates and padlocks. Nonetheless, they were an interesting diversion on the path.
Ga. Mountains in the distance
But the main attractions is the view from the top of the mountain. You can sit at the Indian seats or stand at a nearby observation deck to get a marvelous view of the low lying countryside against a backdrop of grand Georgia Mountains in the distance. The vista spans from Pine Log Mountain to the West to Brasstown Bald in the North East. It’s a view that is definitely worth hauling yourself up the mountain.
Abandoned Gold Mine Shaft
From Sawnee Mountain
The park looks to have all the other amenities too. They have a nice visitors center complete with information and comfy rocking chairs. Another part on the path has a tree house to keep the young ones entertained. And perhaps, most curiously, they have these tree top platforms that you can sign up to climb into (under supervision, of course) on the first and third Saturdays of every month.
Inside the Gold Mine
The Sawnee Mountain Preserve is enchanting and seems to be one of the more well thought out nature centers I have encountered. I think its overlooked at this point because of its relative newness, but given time, I believe it will be spoken of as the third great nearby Atlanta Mountain.
Tree Climbing Platform

Trail Essentials
Approximate Time: 2.5 to 3 hours
Approximate Distance: 3.2 miles
Trail Surface: Principally compact soil, small patches of rock footing
Features: Mountain view, views of Mountains, Abandoned Gold Mines.
Overall Rating: A-
Scenic Quality: A-
Athleticism: A-
Solitude: A-
Value: A
Parking: Free
Hours of Operation: Dawn to Dusk, Closed Major Holidays, Visitor Center has shorter hours
Facilities: At Visitor Center, also at secondary parking lot
Maps: At Visitor Center, here
County: Forsyth.


  1. great pics! i did not know that about 'indian seats' very cool :)

    1. this pics. are pretty damn cool!

  2. Osiyo,
    I just found this site and was thrilled. I did not know that the mountain had been made into a park. Chief Sawnee was my 5th maternal Greatgrandfather. I must make plans to come view this new park and recreation are. My family and I are exremely honored by this gesture. Thank you for placing on the internet where we could find it.

  3. AnonymousMay 28, 2013

    We just went there yesterday and it is beautiful. The view on the top is great.
    Would you tell me what Sawnee means? It is an indian word, I guess.

    Thank you!



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