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Hike through history

Might not want to put your face in the business-end of a cannon. Photos by Melissa Lowrie

Canoe Kids
By Melissa Lowrie

  Melissa Lowrie

Yay summer! Let’s all go outside. No class, no homework, just sun and fun. But wait, if we’re savvy, perhaps we can sneak some history in with our vacation. Shhhh. Don’t tell. 

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Cobb County is one of 11 of Georgia’s National Parks. In June they commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.

The 2,965 acre park preserves the battleground of the Atlanta Campaign. Confederate and Union soldiers maneuvered and fought on the land from June 19, 1864 until July 2, 1864.

Today the property is a draw for history buffs and hikers alike. More than 18 miles of trails wind throughout the park providing a unique mix of exercise and American lore.

On the Monday we visited, the main parking lot was full. There are additional lots, but none as close to the Visitor Center (bathrooms, maps, gift shop). This park is clearly a destination for the locals.


War memorabilia is on display in the museum located in the Visitors Center.

A replica of a Civil War era campsite is just inside the Visitors Center.


Leashed dogs are welcome, but camping is not. There is no fee to visit. Also, if you’re thinking of bringing your trusty metal detector to hunt for Civil War relics, don’t. That’s a felony. Pack a picnic instead; you won’t get arrested and there are plenty of picnic tables and lots of green grass.

  A monument to Georgia Confederate soldiers.

If you are visiting the park with a child in the 4 to 6 age range, they qualify for a shot at a Junior Ranger badge. Ask for the Wee Ranger booklet at the Visitor Center to get started.

The Visitor Center building is open from 9 a.m to 5 p.m. and besides a cool gift shop, there’s a small museum with Civil War guns, flags, uniforms, cannons and other memorabilia. The Battlefield grounds from are open from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.

We went through the museum, but honestly, the kids enjoyed perusing the toy guns and books in the shop.

The draw for me, besides the historical aspect, was the miles of green grass. Being grass deprived here in Big Canoe, it’s a special treat. The family I spotted enjoying a picnic in the middle of the field took on a pastoral vibe and I was instantly (but only temporarily) mad I didn’t plan ahead with my own picnic lunch.

The trails range from a two-mile loop to a five-mile hike. The Visitors Center provides a handy map with “Trails and Calories Burned.” For instance, the Noses Creek Trail from Burnt Hickory Road to Dallas Highway—3.7 miles—burns 325 calories for a 130 pound person. Yikes, that’s only enough to cancel out six Oreos. Anyway, a handy tool for the calorie counters.

Be sure to pack water and snacks if you plan to hike for a while with the kids. There are miles to explore and you can enjoy as much daylight and nature as you want. Up the road from the Visitors Center is a beautiful marble monument to the soldiers, make sure to find it.

There is plenty of open green space at the park to enjoy a picnic.

If you make it to the top there is a spectacular view of Atlanta on a clear day. Only a couple of miles, it’s worth it.

No matter what adventure you take with your Canoe Kids this summer, have fun. The season is fleeting, so take advantage of the warm days and bonus daylight. Wherever you end up, enjoy.



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