Land Manager: U.S Forest Service: Chattahoochee-Oconee NF

Native Lands: ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East), S’atsoyaha (Yuchi) (from

Area Rep: Jon Powell,



A granite dome in north Georgia, Mount Yonah could fairly be called the state’s climbing school. It’s a long-time training site for Army Rangers and the scene of many first climbs by beginners.

The history of climbing at Mount Yonah goes back to around 1960, when the Army began using it for basic mountaineering training. A legacy of that period is numbers and colors spray-painted on the Main Face rock to identify routes, along with lots of bolts. The Army still trains at Mount Yonah, but the days of paint and indiscriminate bolting are gone.

In the 70s, non-Army climbers like Chris Hall and Dave Fortner put up harder routes in areas that didn’t interest the military. Later FAs were made by Michael Crowder, Jody Jacobs and others in the 90s, not only on the Main Face, but at the White Wall and Middle Wall as well. Crowder has also been instrumental more recently in working with the Army to replace many of the older unsafe bolts at Mount Yonah.

In 1997, the Access Fund, SCC and the Trust for Public Land worked with the local community to acquire a 45-acre parcel at Mt. Yonah. In response to a closure of the private land surrounding Mt. Yonah, the 45-acre tract at the base of the mountain was identified as a priority acquisition to resolve the issue. The land was purchased by TPL with help from the AF and SCC, and later transferred to the USFS.


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What to Expect

Though it’s primarily a single-pitch area, Mount Yonah has a fair assortment of multi-pitch routes. For most routes, a 60-meter rope is plenty, but some of the Balance Climb routes are very long, so you might need two ropes in places. The Main Face is southwest facing, making it unpleasantly hot in the summertime, but other areas such as the Lowers can be shady enough to be tolerable in hot weather. The approach is long and fairly strenuous (an hour or so of uphill hiking), so pack light (a full rack is unnecessary).

Access notes

  • Follow all rules and regulations of the U.S. Forest Service
  • Dogs: Dogs are welcome, but please keep them on a leash.
  • Leave No Trace: Keep this area beautiful and clean. Clean up after yourselves, your peers, and your pets. Lead by example and pick it up on the first pass.


Camp in designated sites only. Camping information can be found in the kiosk.


Dixie Cragger’s Atlas