Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, a hallowed expanse encompassing 2,965 acres that preserves the echoes of a pivotal Civil War battleground. This historic site bore witness to intense battles between June 19, 1864, and July 2, 1864, during the Atlanta Campaign. While it is renowned for its Civil War history, Kennesaw Mountain holds a more profound and diverse story that deserves exploration.
The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain: A Turning Point
The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain was a decisive confrontation within the Atlanta Campaign, marking General William Sherman’s final obstacle before reaching Atlanta. The stakes were immense, and the drama of this pivotal moment in history is vividly brought to life in the captivating documentary, “Kennesaw: One Last Mountain.” Narrated by Emmy Award-winning Peter Coyote, this cinematic masterpiece is a daily feature at the park’s Visitor Center and is also available for purchase, offering visitors a deeper understanding of the site’s significance.
A Journey of Discovery
A visit to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park promises a wealth of activities and experiences, ensuring a memorable and educational journey:
Calendar of Events
Before you visit Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, check the park’s Calendar page to discover ranger-led programs, guided hikes, and other engaging events. The visitor center regularly updates the schedule, so you can plan your visit accordingly.
Visitor Center Resources
Immerse yourself in the 35-minute movie, “Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park: One Last Mountain,” which explores the Atlanta Campaign and the Battle of Kennesaw. The film screens every hour, starting 15 minutes after the hour.
Bookstore Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Explore the park’s bookstore, managed by America’s National Parks, where you’ll find an array of books, posters, replica Civil War items, and other retail offerings. If you can’t make it to the Visitor Center, you can also browse the online store.
Museum Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Renovated in November 2002, the museum is now more than double its previous size and showcases artefacts never before on display. These exhibits not only recount the military narrative but also delve into the civilian, medical, and communication aspects of the Atlanta Campaign.
Join a Park Ranger or volunteer for a 30-minute guided tour of the museum, held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 2:00 pm. No reservations are required, but tour availability depends on staffing.
If you’re here on a weekend, don’t miss the ranger presentations and living history demonstrations, typically starting at 11:00 am. These sessions last 20 to 30 minutes and cover a wide range of topics. Check the calendar for specific details.
Junior Ranger Books
Young visitors can pick up a free Pee-Wee Ranger book, Junior Ranger book, or Spanish Junior Ranger book from the visitor centre (or download them in advance). Upon completion, kids earn a special Kennesaw Mountain Junior Ranger Badge.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Brochure & Site Bulletins
Obtain valuable information about the park by visiting the visitor center, where you can collect a free Kennesaw Mountain NBP brochure and various site bulletins that delve into different aspects of the park’s interpretive themes.
3. Outdoor Adventures Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Take a Hike
Kennesaw Mountain NBP boasts over 22 miles of maintained interpretive trails for hiking and learning. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a challenging workout while absorbing historical knowledge, there’s a trail for you.
Follow a Ranger-Led Hike
For more in-depth information than what’s provided by the wayside signs, consult the calendar for ranger-led hikes that explore the events of the Battle at Kennesaw Mountain.
Experience Living History
Engage in living history experiences, from artillery fire and infantry volleys to field medicine tents and cooking demonstrations. Dedicated rangers and volunteers authentically recreate history for your enjoyment. Check the calendar for upcoming living history events.
Go Horseback Riding
Some park areas permit horseback riding. Please contact the visitor center for specific locations. Note that you must bring your own horse, as there are no rentals in the park. Horse trailers can be parked at the dirt lot on Cheatham Hill and Powder Springs Rd. Please be aware that John Ward Creek Crossing is currently closed to horses due to an unstable streambed.
Enjoy a Picnic
Numerous picnic benches are scattered throughout the park, surrounded by grassy areas—an ideal setting to savor your lunch while basking in the sunshine. Be sure to pack your sunscreen!
Kennesaw Mountain is a crucial natural habitat for neotropical bird migrants, earning it the designation of a globally Important Bird Area in 2000, the first in Georgia. Grab your binoculars, acquire a checklist of common birds from the visitor center, and enjoy birdwatching.
Explore by Vehicle
Drive through the park to admire its natural beauty and historical landmarks from the comfort of your vehicle.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park History
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is much more than a historical site; it’s a place that immerses you in the cultural history of the Civil War. Over 67,000 soldiers lost their lives in the Atlanta Campaign, and this park bears witness to the sacrifices made during that tumultuous time.
The park received authorization for protection from the War Department in 1917 and became a part of the National Park System in 1933. Covering 2,888 acres, it includes the site of some of the most intense fighting during the Atlanta Campaign of the Civil War.
The name “Kennesaw” comes from the Cherokee Indian word “Gah-nee-sah,” which means cemetery or burial ground. The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain raged from June 19, 1864, until July 2, 1864, leaving behind a legacy of courage, sacrifice, and valor. Today, the park serves as a living memorial to those who fought and fell during that period.
When you explore Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, you’ll find a wide range of activities and experiences suitable for visitors of all ages. Here are some of the highlights:
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Drive to the Summit
On weekdays, you have the convenience of driving to the summit of Kennesaw Mountain. However, on weekends, the park encourages you to leave your car behind and take the park shuttle to the top. This eco-friendly approach allows you to enjoy the park’s natural beauty without the hassle of parking. Don’t forget to explore the main battlefield at Cheatham Hill and the old homestead-turned-battle site at Kolb Farm. You can find parking details for each stop on the park’s website. Please note that the park shuttle may not be operating at all times, so plan accordingly.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Entrance Passes
If you plan to visit Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, it’s essential to be aware of entrance passes. The America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Series is your gateway to various federal recreation sites, including this park. Each pass covers entrance fees at National Park Service sites and standard amenity fees (day use fees) at sites managed by other federal agencies.
Starting in 2024, all passes will feature one signature line for a single passholder. A pass includes the pass owner and all occupants in a personal vehicle at sites that charge per vehicle or, alternatively, the pass owner and up to three additional adults (16 and over) at sites that charge per person. Children ages 15 or under are admitted free.
Various pass options are available, including the Annual Pass and Military Annual Pass, both offering unique benefits and cost savings for different categories of visitors. Passes can be obtained in person at federal recreation sites or ordered online from the USGS Online Store.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Natural Beauty
The park’s landscape features steep, rocky slopes, and a mostly forested environment. While the terrain played a crucial role in the Civil War battle, it now offers opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. Explore over 22 miles of maintained interpretive trails for hiking and learning. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, you’ll find a trail that suits your preferences. Birdwatchers will also delight in the park’s designation as a globally Important Bird Area, making it a prime spot for birdwatching.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a treasure trove of history and natural wonders. It not only commemorates a significant chapter in American history but also provides a sanctuary for those seeking outdoor adventures. Whether you’re exploring its trails, attending ranger-led programs, or simply taking in the breathtaking scenery, this park offers an enriching experience that leaves a lasting impression. Plan your visit to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park and discover the legacy of the past and the beauty of the present.
This park is not just a repository of Civil War history; it’s a living testament to the past and an educational treasure trove. Whether you’re an avid history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a family seeking a day of exploration, this park offers a rich tapestry of experiences waiting to be discovered. Plan your visit to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, and let its legacy unfold before your eyes.