|Trail Length: 4.0 miles||Type of trail: Loop|
|County: Forsyth County, GA||Our rating: D|
|Features: visitors center, scenic, picnicking, historic, family, bathrooms||Your rating:|
|Usage: Medium||Added on: October 17, 2011|
|Last hiked: November 10, 2012||Updated on: March 29, 2013|
|About these ratings|
Hiking trails in Forsyth County, GA
Pets are not allowed within the Sawnee Mountain Preserve.
Trails are for foot traffic only.
Climbing and rappelling require a permit.
This loop trail is accessible from the Bettis-Tribble Gap entrance of the Sawnee Mountain Preserve or from the Spot Road entrance. Indian Seats climbs to the top of 1,963 foot Sawnee Mountain, a gain of 600 feet from start. Dogs are not allowed on this trail.
Sawnee Mountain is named for Chief Sawnee (also spelled Sauney), a Cherokee Indian who lived southwest of present-day Cumming. While tales abound of Sawnee being too old to be removed on the Trail of Tears, he received $618.50 in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1839 in payment for
"removal damages", probably his property (Sawnee Mountain and a 16-acre parcel of land southwest of present-day Cumming, Georgia). A second man, Sawnee Vann from the Rome area is also on this list, but he is not related to Chief Sawnee.
The gold in Sawnee is part of the Hall County Gold Belt which begins in Fulton County, Georgia and runs for 100 miles through Rabun County and into North Carolina. The earliest discoveries of gold in the Southeast were along this belt. It is not part of the Dahlonega Gold Belt, which was responsible for the Georgia Gold Rush.
Hiking Indian Seats Trail
This narrative is told hiking the trail in a clockwise direction from the visitors center on Spot Rd. From the trailhead behind the center follow the Laurel Trail Spur to the Indian Seats Trailhead. Our distance is different from the 3.5 mile length listed by the Preserve because of this trail. Climbing at a moderate pace, the gravel roadbed passes through an oak/birch forest at lower levels, switching to pine near the top.
After making a hard right-hand turn at 0.5 miles the path does lose altitude at times, but only briefly. A mine shaft at 1.2 miles has a grate over the entrance to prevent access, but gives hikers confirmation of the gold-mining history of the mountain. Passing the Yucca trail, which comes off to the right, the path begins a switched approach to the top of the mountain. This switch-back makes the approach from the visitors center easier than the approach from the Bettis-Tribble Gap Road entrance.
To continue the loop, turn left as you return to the path, about 20 feet below the top of the mountain. Follow the trail down a steep incline, joining the other end of the Yucca Trail at the bottom of the steep drop. As the downhill rate moderates you enter an area where a number of placers were dug in 1895. Two men, noted only as Messrs. Hampton and Herman of Atlanta in a geologists report dated 1896, worked the gold deposits of the southeastern side of Sawnee Mountain. They dug off 12 feet of "topping," then extracted the gold by washing the gravel.
After the placers, the Eaglet Trail comes off to the right. This .25 mile trail is an easy, fun hike for small children. The Eaglet Trail returns to the main trail at the picnic area at Bettis-Tribble Gap Road. Follow Indian Seats Trail as it first bears left and then right to a second grated mine shaft opening before following a gravel road once known as the Lower Laurel Trail back to the visitors center.