Boasting some of Tennessee’s top attractions, 100-mile-long Lookout Mountain reveals panoramic views of seven states from 1,700 feet above sea level. You’ll also glimpse views of the Chattanooga Valley and Missionary Ridge Civil War battlefields.
You’ve, no doubt, seen barns with painted signs telling you to “See Rock City.” You’ll find legendary Rock City atop Lookout Mountain, six miles from downtown Chattanooga. Take the self-guided 60- to 90-minute walking tour along the Enchanted Trail’s 14-acre property and marvel at the gigantic rock formations, estimated to be 200 million years old. Savor sights of the gardens, with more than 400 different species of native wildflowers, plants, shrubs and trees. Along Rock City’s Enchanted Trail, you’ll see a 100-foot waterfall, a 1,000-ton balanced rock, Fairyland Caverns and Mother Goose Village and that Lover’s Leap legendary view of seven states. Stop at Swing-A-Long Bridge for spectacular photo captures. For Christmas lights fans, you’ll fall for Rock City’s Enchanted Garden of Lights, an award-winning light extravaganza. Summer Music Weekends feature Southern Appalachian folk music. Halfway up the mountainside, Ruby Falls will astound you with a 145-foot waterfall located deep inside the mountain. Start with an elevator ride into the mountain and travel along a lighted path, taking time to marvel at natural rock formations, stalactites and stalagmites. Then, it’s into the “cathedral” to experience the magnificent spectacle of Ruby Falls.Rich in history and geography, the Incline Railway opened in 1895 and is known as “America’s Most Amazing Mile.” The Incline is the world’s steepest passenger railway. The train escorts you through beautiful nature on a 72.7% grade for an exhilarating ride up historic Lookout Mountain. That’s straight up! You’ll travel through the St. Elmo Historic Area, where Victorian homes line the route. The observation windows in the trolley-style passenger cars offer riders a bird’s-eye view of the surrounding mountains, valleys and the city below. Entering the station on the mountaintop, you’ll discover Civil War points of interest, as well.
Point Park, the site of the November 1863 “Battle Above the Clouds,” is preserved as part of the Chattanooga and Chickamauga National Military Park. In addition to the beautiful grounds and fantastic views of the valley, the Battles for Chattanooga Electric Map and other Civil War interpretive exhibits are nearby. To capture the full experience, stop in the visitor center of the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park to pick up a map of Point Park and its trail system.
On the backside of Lookout Mountain, you can soar above the valley at the largest hang gliding school and resort in the nation. Hang Glide Lookout Mountain has been teaching people to fly since 1978, and the grounds offer camping and lodging as well as lessons. It’s a great way to survey the valley on your own!
Tennessee Vacation eGuide
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