Yonah Mountain Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, GA
miles
LENGTH 4.4 MILES
DIFFICULTY 11.4 Medium
DURATION 2-3 hours
ELEVATION GAIN
1520
feet
TRAIL TYPE
There And
Back Again
Yonah Mountain

One of north Georgia's most popular hikes for good reason, Yonah Mountain offers breathtaking views from the south to the northwest all along it's lengthy bare rock face. The scenery is even more rewarding due to the steep climb of 1500 feet in just over 2 miles. Although this trail is definitely not for beginners, it's one that should be on every hiker's bucket list.

A short but bumpy dirt road leads to the large parking area where the summit of Yonah Mountain looms above the trees directly in front of you. Two trails leave the parking lot on the left and quickly join together, so take either one. Green blazes mark the trail and are present at most intersections, but not all so make sure to check out the navigation below.

The trail begins ascending immediately and other than a couple short sections, doesn't let up until reaching your destination. At first, enjoy a more moderate rate of 600 feet per mile. Hike across a small footbridge as you hug the contours of the mountain, navigating through small boulder fields and up stone staircases.

At the halfway point you'll reach a small field on the left. Standing atop a large boulder you get a preview of what's to come. A few side trails lead away from the field but fade out quickly. The main trail continues along the right side of the field, following the blazes. You'll start to ascend an extremely rocky ditch. You can go up it but look for the friendlier trail up above to the left. Either way you'll be climbing over 1600 feet per mile for the next 400 feet before continuing the rest of the way at around 750 feet per mile.

At 1.5 miles turn right on the wide gravel road, continuing uphill. Make sure not to miss this turn on the way back down. Just after you'll reach the US Army training area. The gravel road continues to the right, with another trail splitting off even further right. The simplest directions are to stay on the wider gravel path all the way up, but you can take this other trail straight up the hill making for a more difficult, but slightly shorter route.

These two trail reconnect at a 5-way split with the gravel road turning back to the left. Again you can take a trail straight up the hill just as before. Also straight in front of you is another trail that leads toward the base of the rock face so ignore this one. Again the two trails connect with the gravel road again turning sharply back to the left. At this intersection is a short side trail to a view as well.

At 1.9 miles the trail opens to a steep bare rock clearing. Continue along the bottom and the trail splits just after forming the loop around the summit. Turn right to head straight to the majority of the views along the main rock face of Yonah Mountain. Continuing straight takes you to the open grassy field at the summit. A short side trail on the left leads to a view and a network of smaller trails connect the two sides and lead to further views.

Explore around for amazing view after amazing view but always be careful. All of these open views are due to the near vertical drops. Unfortunately people do occasionally fall and die so just pay attention and keep your distance if the rock is wet or icy. On your way back down make sure to take it slow down the steep slopes, lose rocks are just begging for an ankle to roll.

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Elevation Map Length (miles) by Elevation (feet)
Slope Breakdown
Elevation Gain
Elevation Range
Grade Range
Length
Elevation Gain
0 - 250 ft/mi
~ 0 - 5 %
0.3 mi
31 ft
250 - 500 ft/mi
~ 5 - 10 %
0.4 mi
156 ft
500 - 750 ft/mi
~ 10 - 15 %
0.7 mi
438 ft
750 - 1000 ft/mi
~ 15 - 20 %
0.4 mi
371 ft
1000+ ft/mi
~ 20+ %
0.4 mi
544 ft
For out-and-back hikes, elevation loss is the same as the gain.
Terrain Map Click to control map
Navigation
0.0 mi
0.0 mi - Trailhead There are two trails on the left side of the parking area. They connect almost immediately so either one is fine.
0.33 mi
0.33 mi - Stay Straight Side trail on right. Stay straight, following green blaze.
1.15 mi
1.15 mi - Field and View Pass a small field on the left with a view from on top of a large rock. A couple small side trails leave here but quickly fade away. Continue along the wider path along the edge of the field.
1.52 mi
1.52 mi - Turn Right on Gravel Road Turn right on the gravel road, continuing to head uphill. From this point on there are multiple options but the easiest route is to just stay along the wider gravel road.
1.59 mi
1.59 mi - US Army Training Area, Turn Right/Left Make a right at the US Army Training Area. Two trails split. The wider gravel road is on the left. You can also take the trail on the right which heads straight uphill. If so, there is a side trail on the right just after this intersection that heads toward the base of the rock face, so stay straight.
1.72 mi
1.72 mi - 5-Way Split, Hard Left If coming from the gravel road, the other previous trail will connect from below. The gravel road makes a hard left, but as before you can also take another trail directly up the hill where it will reconnect. There is another trail directly in front of you that goes toward the base of the rock face. There are a few minor views along here but nothing worthwhile.
1.84 mi
1.84 mi - View The previous straight up trail connects on the right from below then just after there is a smaller view on the right as the gravel road once again makes a hard left.
1.92 mi
1.92 mi - Loop Split and Views At another bare rock section, stay along the base of the rock and just after the trail splits. Turning right will take you directly to the multiple views all along the top of the main face. Staying left will take you to the grassy field first with side trails down to several views. A network of narrow trails connects the two sides. Explore around for even more views.
Details
length4.4 miles
difficulty11.4 Medium
duration2 - 3 hours
features Dog Friendly  Summit  Views 
trail typeThere And Back Again
blazeGreen
elevation gain1520 ft.
state Georgia 
park/forestChattahoochee-Oconee National Forest
ranger districtChattooga River District
9975 Highway 441 S
Lakemont, GA 30552
706-754-6221
parking feeNone
trailhead coordinates 34.637322, -83.725648 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°38.24, W 83°43.54 (Degree Minutes, MinDec)
N 34°38'14'', N 34°38'14'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Trailhead Directions
34.637322, -83.725648 (Degree Decimal, DegDec)
N 34°38.24, W 83°43.54 most GPS units use this one
N 34°38'14'', N 34°38'14'' (Degree Minutes Seconds, DMS)
Google Map It
The entrance road is rough but you can make it in a low ground-clearance car. You will have to navigate around some ruts and bumps, especially a large one on the way out. Just go slow, it's not long.
Parking Capacity
50-60 vehicles depending on how people park
Notes
Although I have been told the hiking trails remain open during Army Ranger training, you can call ahead to be sure. Much of the climbing routes will be closed during training. US Army Ranger Training Office Camp Merrill - 5th Ranger Training Battalion: 706-864-3367 or 706-864-3327.
The main rock face has near vertical drop offs. Keep close watch on children and pets.
Rocky and rooty throughout.
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Reviews / Comments
Average Review Rating
4.7 (3)
hikethesouth-1 year ago
Updated Review: Still Amazing
Still a GA classic and must hike trail. My first trip here was back in 2012 and the summit was completely covered in fog with no views. Still a good trip but this time I got the views and they make this even more worth the trip. Definitely be careful on the rock ledges. Someone did recently fall and die but it you use basic common sense and watch children and dogs you'll be just fine. You can still enjoy the view without getting close to the edge.
Medium | Hiked Fall 2019
cropduster-2 years ago
Short but tough - GREAT VIEWS!!!
This is a great hike. It's short but a steady uphill battle. It has some of the best views in Georgia. The top half is nearly all along a cliff face with a steady view of the beautiful country side.
Medium | Hiked Fall 2017
hikethesouth-3 years ago
One of the Best Hikes Just North of ATL
This is a must hike. At a medium difficulty it won't be for beginners that are very out of shape but the incredible views are worth the effort. Unless it's completely foggy. Still worth it. Just go.
Medium | Hiked Spring 2012
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