Sawnee Mountain is located in the Sawnee Mountain Preserve, a 943 acre park with hiking trails and an interactive visitors center. The mountain is named after a local Cherokee Native American, Sawnee. Technically Sawnee Mountin consists of a range of five knolls and three gaps with the highest at 1946' and is the highest point in Forsyth County.
Historically, it is believed that the Native Americans used the clearing on top of the mountain called the Indian Seats for ceremonial purposes and there is archaeological evidence suggesting they were doing so as early as 500 BCE. As white settlers began to migrate to the area, a local Cherokee named Sawnee helped them adjust. He was known as a skilled carpenter and farmer and was well respected thoughout the area and the mountain was named in his honor. Though there are no known images of Sawnee, a statue was made of him and stands near the visitor's center.
Gold was found in the area and 1829, spawning the first gold rush, and there are several mines located on the reserve. One shaft in particular is right off the trail to the peak and is marked and covered with a grate to prevent entry.
Sawnee Mountain is located roughly forty miles north of the city of Atlanta in Cumming, GA and is an easy drive mostly on the highways to get there.
There are three parking lots all with trail access. All trails also interconnect and easy to move from one path to another.
The address of the Visitor's Center with access to the trails is: 4075 Spot Rd, Cumming, GA 30040
As well as parking lots at: 2500 & 2505 Bettis Tribble Gap Rd, Cumming, GA.
From the Visitor Center on Spot Road, it is about 2 miles to the top (Indian Seats) with about a 460 ft elevation gain. The trail is broad and well marked and interconnects with the other trails in the park to make for a nice loop.
From the Bettis Tribble Gap parking lot, it is about 3/4 of a mile to the top with about a 300 ft elevation gain.
Parking at the visitor center is free. For those with canine friends, no dogs are allowed anywhere within the park.
No permit or fee is required to park or hike, but you will need a permit in order to go climbing.
When to Climb
Climbing can be done all year round. The weather is relatively mild (at least in terms of ice/snow) but can get hot in the peak of summer. Climbing and rappelling require a permit available at the visitor's center.
No camping is allowed in the park itself.