- Distance- short
Terrain- moderately difficult
Location- Cleveland (White County)
Last Sunday was a stunningly beautiful sunny day so we chose a iconic NEGA (Northeast Georgia) mountain for our hike. Strangely enough most days we hike, it is cloudy and we rarely get a clear blue sky as a back drop.
Mount Yonah is a very popular mountain. In fact, I might even call it a "party" mountain. There were definitely more people there than we have ever seen on other hikes. So if you are looking for solitude and peace, this is not your mountain. We encountered several large groups of teenagers and very young adults along the way who were quite noisy. Yes, I'm an old curmudgeon who prefers silence while I hike.
Mount Yonah is also a training area for the Army Ranger School and there are certain times of the year the general public should not visit. Reference this handy, grammatically questionable sign for further information.
Mount Yonah is a very rocky mountain and large stretches of trail are covered with boulders. It makes for an interesting hike, especially with dogs since mine think they are mountain goats and like to just bound over the rocks.
The trail is one of the more difficult ones we've experienced due to some steep inclines and the rocky path. It is also mentally challenging because you can see the summit of the mountain throughout the whole hike and it just looks so far away.It's really not a long hike though, at about 4.25 miles up and back.
The summit is very rocky and can be dangerous, so don't get too close to the edge while taking those selfies! Unfortunately people have died falling from the rocks on Mount Yonah. We also encountered ice near the summit due spring water coming out of the side of the mountain along the trail. This section also happened to be incredibly windy, so be very cautious on cold days.
There are several spots great for picnicking or camping and judging by the amount of people we saw with overnight gear, it seems Mount Yonah is very popular for camping.
Unfortunately I did observe more trash on the mountain than other places we've been recently and also a still smoldering but unattended fire. The previous campers had put a rock over the ashes but this actually created a draft which kept the ashes smoldering. Don't worry, Ranger Cara was there to put it out!!
Despite the gorgeous views and interesting trail up Mount Yonah, it's things like this that make me stick to less traveled wilderness areas typically. I just like being the only person on the trail (well, I'll let James come along too)
I don't understand why it's so hard for some people to follow the mantra "take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints". Like if you are interested in nature enough to go on a hike, why would you leave garbage?? Regardless, Mount Yonah was beautiful and I'm happy we got up there on a sunny day.