Just NorthEast of Atlanta in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest stands a mountain 3,166 ft high. That mountain is Yonah Mountain. Named from the Cherokee word for Bear, this mountain has become a hiker and rock climber’s hidden gem; as well as a training ground for the military.
We packed up our climbing gear and went down the explore the routes available after hearing through the grapevine that it was a happening place to be.
We weren’t disappointed.
When we parked at the trailhead for the Yonah Mountain Trail, we found it slammed full with cars. It was a beautiful day outside, and the trail was packed with hikers tackling the tough hike. (It’s really steep most of the way, so it’s not for the faint-hearted or out-of-shape.)
Along the way, we saw boy scout groups, working together towards getting a rock climbing badge, as well as several college kids out for a nice hike.
We aimed for the Main Face, which took us about 45 minutes to hike to with all of our gear, along with crossing a fourth-class slab (holding onto cables for balance and trying not to slip on the wet rock had my anxiety level so high!) to get to the base area. Once we made it, we were in for a treat.
The wall was filled with many other climbers, making it a really enjoyable and sociable day. Climbing this rock is so different than climbing in Alaska was, without pieces of shale cutting my hands or breaking off. At the same time, in Alaska I rarely worried about spiders crawling onto my hand so a bit of a trade-off I say.
The area has roughly 6 areas for climbing/rappelling/bouldering. Aside from the Main Face (which is a longer hike, but easier routes) you can tackle The Boulder, The Lowers, White Wall, X Wall, and the Parking Lot Boulders.
For any rock climber that hasn’t downloaded the Mountain Project App – go do it ASAP! It let’s you download maps of areas for off-line use.
The hike at the end of the day back rewarded us with a long sunset, creeping through all the trees.
If you’re interested in checking out Yonah Mountain for yourself, make sure you check with the military before making the drive out. The US Army leads active training sessions on Yonah Mountain, so call 706-864-3367 to check the training schedule and avoid hiking on training days.
Also, reward yourself after a fun day with dinner at Yonah Burger (2051 Helen Hwy, Cleveland, GA). Seriously, their burgers are large and amazing, as well as their milkshakes. You’ll replenish every calorie you exerted through the day.
If you’re interested in rock climbing around the Charlotte area, but are looking for people to climb with then come climb with us! We’ll be at Crowders Mountain this Saturday (February 20th) with a crew from the Charlotte Rock Climbing Meetup. RSVP here, and we will see you Saturday!