The first Saturday in June is #NationalTrailsDay sponsored by the American Hiking Association. When you think of trails in National Park Units, often this will bring to mind hiking the Grand Canyon or backpacking in Yosemite. But many of the park units are in urban areas, offering trails in your back yard. The one that came to mind for us was Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park on the outskirts of Marietta, Georgia.
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a 2,900+ acre park that preserves a civil war battlefield from the Atlanta Campaign – the beginning of the end of the civil war. Like other civil war sites, it offers a ton of history. There is a really good movie in the visitor center, displays that describe the various battles, and a lovely driving tour of the park.
Kennesaw plays host to school trips and is a must-see for any civil-war buff. But what struck us most about Kennesaw was how much a part of the community it was.
Urban Hiking in National Park Units
When we visited Kennesaw, we took the Kennesaw Mountain Drive. It began at the visitor center and went up 1,800 feet to the summit of the mountain, where there were civil war gun emplacements, plaques, monuments and a gorgeous view all the way to Atlanta.
Unlike other scenic drives, this one we shared with families with their strollers and dogs, joggers, runners, and even people side-stepping up the mountain. It was a great place to exercise and obviously the locals took advantage of this. We were amazed at the number of people out there enjoying the park on a Monday morning!
Along with the road, the park offers everything from short walks to longer, more strenuous hikes – 2, 6, 11 and 17 miles.
Most of the national park units offer walking tours and trails, and many of the ones near urban areas are well-known and well-used by locals. If you haven’t visited one, look for one near you.
This is exactly what National Trails Day is all about – getting out and enjoying nature, and supporting your local parks.
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