While the mile-long Allatoona Pass is today a serene, pine-shaded trail, in April 1862 it played a role in the Great Locomotive Chase, when disguised Union soldiers seeking to destroy critical bridges along the Western & Atlantic line tore through in The General, a stolen Confederate locomotive. The pass also witnessed a bloody Civil War battle and holds the Grave of the Unknown Hero, burial site of an unidentified Confederate soldier. The packed dirt surface and multitude of historical markers make this a fascinating place for a leisurely hike.
Within minutes of starting, you'll enter the shady reaches of Deep Cut, a 95-foot-long manmade gorge, its rock walls looming 170 feet overhead. Beyond the cut you'll encounter the first of several side trails, a set of stairs on the left that climb to Star Fort. Highlights include markers that detail the Battle of Allatoona Pass and an antique photograph of the view Union soldiers had from this very spot.
Several yards up the main trail, a side path on the right leads to a lookout station known as the Crow's Nest, where a massive tree visible from Kennesaw Mountain served as a signal tower. Farther along, a short path on the right leads to vast Lake Allatoona, hemmed in by mountains. Trail's end is marked by a gate, which you can bypass to stroll the scenic lakeshore.
Parking and Trail Access
Take I-75 to Exit 283 and head east on Old Allatoona Road for 1.5 miles. Cross the railroad tracks and continue another mile to markers for Allatoona Pass Battlefield on the left. Parking is available here.
Etowah Valley Historical Society
P.O. Box 1886
Cartersville, GA 30120