Ascent of Sawnee Mountain on 2013-11-09

Climber: Tom Crawford

Others in Party:A.J.Fish
Date:Saturday, November 9, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Sawnee Mountain
    Elevation:1960 ft / 597 m

Ascent Trip Report

We were the first ones on the mountain when the trails opened at 0800. Nice winding, gradual trails. A very casual hike. Not over-popluated while we were there. Near the top is the Indian Seats rock formation, a great photo op and view point, and there is an observation platform about 10 vertical feet further up. Altimeter read 1678 feet at a point a little past the observation deck that was a bit higher up. The return trip we went down the ridgeline SW towards a slightly lower summit, and went off the trail to the high point there, and rejoined the trail for a slow, easy walk down to the Visitor's Center.

But this mountain park is NOT the highpoint of Forsyth County. There is a continuation of the ridge to the southwest that is considerably higher. We drove around to that ridge, and drove up Tower Road in search of the high point, and found easy access to the peak area where there are several houses, large antennas and a fire watchtower. We were stopped by a gate across the road just a short walk from the summit. We parked and were able to walk through open trees about 20 yards to where the high point is. The "Barker House" is a large round spaceship looking residencial structure occupying the summit with a fence around it protecting the actual highest point, so we could only get within about 15 feet of it, and my altimeter read 1952 feet. I have since learned that the structure was purchased by Forsyth County to be eventually included into the Sawnee Mountain Preserve area.

We did not intend to trespass beyond the fence, so we took a few pics near the summit, and headed back.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:634 ft / 193 m
    Total Elevation Loss:634 ft / 193 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.2 mi / 6.8 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
Great cool fall morning
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:634 ft / 193 m
    Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    Route:Indian Seats Trail & Yucca Trail
    Start Trailhead:Spot Road Visitor Center  1326 ft / 404 m
    Time:52 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:634 ft / 193 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:Indian Seats Trail
    End Trailhead:Spot Road Visitor Center  1326 ft / 404 m
    Time:46 Minutes

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