Location: Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is located Kennesaw, Cobb County.
Description: Kennesaw Mountain is a mecca for local runners as well as for cyclists who like to do hill repeats on the mountain road. There are upwards of 17 miles of trails at Kennesaw Mountain with options to combine trails for longer runs or to do shorter loops of only a mile or two. Preferred runs include the 5.5 mile Kolb Farm Loop started at Cheatham Hill with options to increase distance by starting and the area adjacent to Burnt Hickory Road.
KM or Kemo, as locals call it, is a National Battlefiled Park, property of the US Federal Government and is managed by the US Department of the Interior. The mountain and surrounding parkland saw heavy fighting during the Civil War and the land should be treated with the proper decorum and respect that the men who gave their lives deserve.
The trail maps indicating water sources are not accurate. The park has seen fit to remove the the spigots so plan on being self sufficient. Gates close promptly at the posted times and cars will be towed from Cheatham Hill or the Visitor's Center so if in doubt, call and ask for the opening and closing times. I was picked up by a park ranger and transported back to my car for running after dark when I first moved to Georgia; they saw my headlamp in the woods and thought I was a poacher.
Trails are generally wide gravel roads closer to the mountain itself or packed dirt singletrack in the more remote sections past Cheatham Hill. Exterra types may like the trail which runs from the visitor's center, directly up the side of the mountain and down the other side on it's way to the Burnt Hickory area. Since it is a developed federal park, the trails are generally well maintained and its proximity to suburban Atlanta means that the park sees heavy use. You will not be alone on the trails and will often be passed by world class runners when track and field events are in town.
Simply put, this is as good as trail running gets this close to Atlanta. The biggest downside . is actually getting to the park on weekday evenings. The park closes too early for most people to run after work in the winter and traffic is a nightmare, epecially on Hwy 120 and Whitlock Ave when trying to get to Cheatham Hill during rush hour.
Trailheads: There are several location from which runners can access Kemo including: