Sawnee Mountain Preserve Opens New Hiking Trails


The new six miles of trails travel around Sawnee Mountain and pass by Tower Road and the cell towers at the top of the mountain. This is the third phase of Sawnee Mountain Preserve, which opened its first phase in 2005.

Matthew McFadden, Staff Writer

For those who are drawn to the many outdoor facilities that Forsyth County has to offer, the list of options has grown larger.  On Friday, January 29, the Sawnee Mountain Foundation performed the opening ceremony for the third phase of the Sawnee Mountain Preserve.  The new branch is located on the other side of Bettis Tribble Gap Road from the original Sawnee Mountain Preserve Visitor’s Center.

This segment includes six miles of new walking trails, which wrap around Sawnee Mountain, as opposed to the previous trails, which run up and down the mountain ridge.  Funded through a 2008 parks and recreation bond and the 1-cent sales tax, $2.3 million were used to build the new addition.

As the trail ascends, it crosses Tower Road, passes the cell towers at the peak of the mountain, and returns to the parking lot.  There is a half-mile trail that allows you to bypass a large part of the entire trail, in case hikers would prefer a shorter hike.  Also, the builders created a short trail linking the main trail to Cumming First United Methodist Church.  Besides the hiking trail, the county also opened new pavilions and a playground located at the parking lot.

Pete Amos, who is the Forsyth commission chairman, commented, “When other people ask me what’s so great about Forsyth County and makes our system unique, I come to a glow and say, ‘We own a mountain.’”  The Parks department, which aims to own 90% of Sawnee Mountain, plans on continuing the development of outdoor amenities, especially with the next phase of the Big Creek Greenway connecting to the Sawnee Mountain Preserve Visitor’s Center.