Get Outdoors

Hiking the Pine Mountain Trail in Cartersville, GA

The Pine Mountain Trail is one of my favorite local trails. It has the kind of beautiful scenery that you would expect to have to drive further north to find. It has all of what I consider the Big 3 of a great hike- waterfalls, a view, and interesting terrain. (Granted, the waterfalls are tiny, but they look and sound pretty and they add an interesting element to the hike.)

Pine Mountain Trail is a figure 8 shape with a West and East loop and two trailheads, one for each loop.

The West Loop is by far the most trafficked, because it’s a short 1 mile uphill hike on switchbacks to the David Archer Overlook, an outcropping of rocks that offers views of the Atlanta skyline and Lake Allatoona down below. On clear days you can see Stone Mountain. When it’s foggy like it was today, all you can see is gray!

It’s a popular spot for picnics and the hammock crowd. It’s suitable for kids as well.

The West Loop trailhead is a literal 2 minutes off of I-75, which makes it easy to access. That helps explains its popularity.

The East Loop is far less busy. The trailhead was completely empty today. It’s harder to access from the main highway, which is probably why.

I started at the West Trailhead, which takes you uphill pretty quickly in the first half mile. From there I hit the East Loop and did the whole thing, which put me back at the intersection of the two loops. I took the short side trail to the Overlook and then did the rest of the West Loop to end up back at the trailhead.

I would call this a moderately strenuous hike. You’re not climbing straight up a mountain, but a good bit of it is uphill and that makes it a good workout.

The entire loop plus the overlook is just over 5 miles. For a middle aged, kinda fit person like myself, it’s a nice workout without being tortuous. It’s not easy, but it’s not misery either.

I really enjoy the East Loop. I was all alone for most of it and it was very quiet and secluded.

The only caveat I would give is that the signage is a bit confusing. Each loop is divided in half and is marked with a different color. So for two circular trails, you follow 4 different color blazes.

I snapped a pic of the trail map before I went out and I was glad I did. I got a little turned around at one point. I’m directionally challenged and I know this about myself. I always pay close attention of maps, signage and landmarks, just in case.

Happy hiking from Simple Southern! See you on the trail!

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