|Trail Length: 3.4 miles||Type of trail: In and out|
|County: Bartow County, GA||Our rating: Moderate|
|Features: lake, historic, family, 60hikes||Your rating:|
|Usage: Medium||Added on: October 16, 1998|
|Last hiked: May 18, 2010||Updated on: June 12, 2013|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Bartow County, GA
This trail follows the original railroad grade of the Western and Atlantic Railroad into Allatoona Pass and proceeds to a scenic stroll along Lake Allatoona in Northwest Georgia. Civil War entrenchments can be visited at the top of both ridges adjacent to the pass. The trail through the pass is flat, ending with a single turn so gradual that it may not be noticed. The climb to the interpreted trail on the mountains on either side of the pass is moderate.
Allatoona Pass is now part of Red Top Mountain State Park
In late September, 1864, John Bell Hood took the Army of Georgia (the renamed Army of Tennessee) north. He ordered Samuel French to attack the pass and fill it with dirt and logs to cut Sherman's supply line. During the Battle of Allatoona Pass, French's Confederates engaged Yankees under the command of General John Corse. French believed William Tecumseh Sherman was advancing on his position and withdrew before capturing the star fort at the top of the pass.
Beginning at a small parking lot, the trail bears to the right shortly after the gated entrance to the park. Follow the protective berm between the parking lot and Lake Allatoona for some long-range scenic views of the lake, then visit the state monuments a few feet further on the trail. There is no Georgia monument because no troops from Georgia fought in the battle. Return to the road and turn right to begin climbing the hill on a gravel road.
At a four way intersection turn right and follow the pathway straight ahead to the Crow's Nest. Here, a tree tall enough to be seen at Kennesaw Mountain served as a communication center for the fort at Allatoona. In constant contact with General Sherman's stronghold through a flag signaling system, the defenders received the following unsigned, uncoded message: "Tell Allatoona hold on. General Sherman is working for you," but no men left Sherman's fortification at Kennesaw. They were concerned that the attack at Allatoona Pass was a ruse. The common interpretation of this quote was "Hold the Fort," although Sherman never actually signaled that phrase.
Return to the start of the loop trail visiting the eastern redoubt and the artillery stables, A wooden bridge on the path carries visitors across the Tennessee Road. Look to your right as the historic road drops off the mountain at an angle. Continue straight ahead at the four-way intersection to the Regimental Headquarters of the 4th Minnesota. Regimental commander John Tourtellotte was in charge of the fort until relieved of command by John Corse, who arrived from Rome, Georgia at 1:00am on October 5, 1864. Continue on the path to the first view from above of "Deep Cut" (Allatoona Pass).
More than 170 feet high, and 95 feet long, this immense scar in the earth was dug through the rugged Allatoona Mountains to permit trains on the Western and Atlantic Railroad to get to Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was an engineering marvel of its time. Only the tunnel at Tunnel Hill was more difficult to build. At the top of the pass the treadway turns right and begins a steady, moderate descent. Just before reaching the pass the drop sharpens and the pathway turns left, crossing a wood and stone bridge.
Turn right to continue along the level trail. Our trail now runs alongside the lake for a little over half a mile. It offers many scenic views and some good shore fishing, plus a view of the site of the Unknown Hero, grave of a Rebel killed during the battle. The path continues along the lakeshore, offering a number of typical lakeshore views. One major side trail took us out on a peninsula where an eagle had built a nest on the top of a stand provided by the Corps of Engineers.
On the return trip to the parking lot, walk up the set of stairs to the star fort. At the top of the stairs a short, moderate to difficult trail continues to the top of the mountain. Although it is not visible, a ridge runs from the road (on the right as you climb the to the fort). It was along this ridge that Samuel French decided to attack, overrunning a western redoubt and trapping 700 men within the confines of the star fort. It was here that General Corse successfully defended Allatoona Pass from the Confederate onslaught. A foot bridge connected the tops of the ridges during wartime, and when Corse ran out of ammunition he sent men across the bridge to get more.
William Tecumseh Sherman was so impressed with Allatoona Pass when he rode through it in 1844 that he avoided it during The Atlanta Campaign 20 years later. On October 5, 1864 three brigades of Rebels under the command of Major General Samuel French attacked Federal forces under the command of Brig. General John Corse during The Battle of Allatoona Pass. It was actually the third engagement in the area, although the two other fights were little more than cavalry skirmishes.
For a quick day hike this trail is great. Its near I-75, only 45 minutes from Atlanta. Its easy, even with the hike to the top of the ridge, and wide trails make it a good family hike.
For more information on the State of Georgia during the Civil War, visit the Blue and Gray Trail
Your guide to hiking and walking trails in the state of Georgia
Army of Tennessee
Battle of Allatoona Pass
John Bell Hood
Red Top Mountain State Park
The Battle of Allatoona Pass
Western and Atlantic Railroad
William Tecumseh Sherman