Thursday, April 21, 2016

Trail Report: Yonah Mountain

Stats
Round trip distance: 4.4 miles
Highest point: 3,166 feet
Elevation gain: 1,450 feet
Pass: None; free parking

Atlanta Trails page: http://www.atlantatrails.com/hiking-trails/yonah-mountain-hiking-trail/
HikeTheSouth page: http://www.hikethesouth.com/hike.aspx?id=25

After spending a Saturday in north Georgia visiting waterfalls, I went back on Sunday to hike Yonah Mountain - my first hike in Georgia that wasn't at Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield Park or Stone Mountain. Although I grew up in Georgia, I hadn't explored much beyond the area I lived in. I'm looking forward to seeing what hikes are available in north Georgia!

Yonah Mountain was recommended to me and I figured it would be a good introduction to hiking in north Georgia. I knew it wasn't as big as the mountains I'd hiked in Washington and I knew it wouldn't be as difficult as those, but I was hoping for something much more difficult than Kennesaw Mountain.

The trailhead is off Chambers Road and is up a slightly rough gravel road. The trail starts out mostly flat, winding through the woods, and then begins to gain elevation. There are a couple spots where you have to go over or around boulders, but it doesn't require climbing or anything difficult. A few trails split off from the main trail in different directions, but the main trail is the widest one. If you're not sure where to go next, look for bright green rectangles posted on some of the trees.

The Atlanta Trails page says this hike is moderately difficult, and the HikeTheSouth page says it's not a beginner's hike, but I was a bit disappointed with the difficulty. It didn't seem any harder than hiking up Kennesaw Mountain and to me, it was a beginner's hike. I think I expected much more, and next time I hike I'll have to remember that what's rated as "moderately difficult" in Georgia would be rated as "easy" in Washington. I'll have to keep looking and go further into the mountains to find a more strenuous hike in Georgia.

That said, the views from the top of Yonah Mountain were gorgeous! I am used to looking at the snow capped mountains in the Cascades and seeing Mt. Rainier in the distance, but this view was a nice change and offered something different than what I'm used to. There was a smaller peak right in front, covered in trees with bright green spring leaves, and a few more peaks in the distance. The landscape below consisted of farmland and forest.






It took 57 minutes to reach the top, and that included stopping at a clearing on the way up to talk to other hikers and take pictures at the halfway point. I would do this hike again, but probably only as a warm up to another hike or as an extra stop when visiting waterfalls in the surrounding area. I would like to come back in the fall when the leaves are changing colors - the view should be even more amazing! For anyone who hasn't done much hiking, I recommend this as a good beginner hike.

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