4 Amazing Tennessee Hiking Trails to Explore
By Megan Zinger There are four amazing Chattanooga hiking trails known within southeast Tennessee's mountainous aesthetic, and that is one of the many reasons tourists gravitate toward this fun Southern city. If the outdoors are calling your name, go for a hike on one of Chattanooga’s many great hiking trails, each of which offer rewarding views. Be sure to bring a pair of comfortable shoes, a hiking buddy and plenty of water and snacks. Here are four Chattanooga hiking trails to check out this spring.
Cravens House to Sunset Rock Point Park Visitor Ctr, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350
Start at the historic Cravens House, which is nestled into Lookout Mountain. Before you go on the hike, be sure to take a walk around the property to see where the Battle of Lookout Mountain took place during the Civil War. The hike to Sunset Rock is 2.9 miles out and back and is considered moderate. Once you get to Sunset Rock, enjoy the breathtaking view of Lookout Valley. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket and enjoy this scenic hike. Parking is available at the Cravens House property; learn more HERE.
Sunset Rock obviously gets its name for having a breathtaking view of the sun setting behind the mountains. Image: Megan Zinger
Signal Point to Edwards Point 116 Signal Point Rd, Signal Mountain, TN 37377
When you arrive, park at Signal Point Park. Signal Point greets hikers with a panoramic view of the Tennessee River, which is a stunning way to begin your trek. The hike from Signal Point to Edwards Point Lookout is approximately 2.9 miles with steep climbs, rocky paths and a set of wooden stairs called the “mousetrap.” This hike is moderately difficult, so be sure to give yourself at least four hours round-trip. About a half a mile down the trail, you will pass by the Julia Falls Overlook and get a breathtaking view of the river gorge. Continue on the path to reach the Edwards Point Lookout for another spectacular view. Check out the Cumberland Trail website for more information.
Edwards Point Overlook on Signal Mountain shows the vastness of the mountain and the Tennessee River. Image: Megan Zinger
Laurel Point in TVA Raccoon Mountain 3800 Raccoon Mountain Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37419 Laurel Point is one of the many accessible trails to choose from on Raccoon Mountain. An intermediate trail, Laurel Point is about 2.6 miles out and back with some rocky features that make it challenging. Raccoon Mountain also offers a one-way scenic road you can slowly cruise by car or bike to get a 360-degree view of the mountain. Before exiting Raccoon Mountain, be sure to pull off and enjoy the East Overlook that overlooks the Tennessee River. For more information about TVA Raccoon Mountain trails, check out a detailed map on TVA’s website.
Raccoon Mountain’s scenic road loops around the mountain offering a 360-degree view of Chattanooga. Image: Megan Zinger
Snoopers Rock Trail to Snoopers Overlook Game Reserve Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37405 Located in the Prentice Cooper State Forest, the Snoopers Rock Trail is a longer hike, clocking in at 5.9 miles out and back. The path takes you alongside the Cumberland Trail and offers a shaded, peaceful walk. You’ll also pass the Indian Rockhouse natural terrain while on the trail. Once you get to the top, the Snoopers Rock Overlook towers over the Tennessee River Gorge for one of the best views in Chattanooga. Click HERE for more information about Snoopers Rock and other trails in Prentice Cooper State Forest.
Prentice Cooper State Forest trail | Image: Anthony Jones via Flickr Remember to follow these common-sense hiking tips:
Wear sunscreen, preferably a sports, no-sweat variety.
Use bug repellent in the summer months.
Always carry plenty of drinking water and snacks.
Use caution when touching plants or flowers to avoid poison ivy.
Let someone know where you are hiking and what time you are going.
Allow plenty of time to get back to your car before dark.
Don’t look down at the trail all the time while you hike. You might miss Mother Nature winking at you.