Distance: Various Options up to 30 Miles
Trail: Single and Double Track
Difficulty: Easy to Difficult
Location: Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga, TN
Directions: Travel south on Broad Street (Tenn 58). Continue through the railroad underpass where road becomes Cummings Highway. Turn left on Tenn 148 (Scenic Highway). Follow signs up Lookout Mountain to Cravens House. Park in lower parking lot (sign says hikers and RV parking).
Trail Description: Lookout Mountain has an intricate maze of trails rated from easy to difficult. Some trails are steep in places and can be challenging at times, especially during inclement weather. Others offer views from the top of Lookout Mountain. With 30 miles of trails on Lookout, there are many options for hiking and trail running – short, moderate, or strenuous. Because several of the trails intersect, there are also many combinations to provide interesting outings. In addition, the mountain changes with the seasons, so running the same trail at an interval of six months will provide an entirely different experience.
One Suggested Route: From the lower parking lot, walk up the stairs towards the Craven’s House and the trail head. Begin with the Rifle Pits Trail. There are some rocky downhill sections. This will end into the Upper Truck Trail. Make a left on the Upper Truck Trail. This is a jeep road. Stay to the left, as the road will U-turn to the right toward Ruby Falls. Make a right onto Gum Spring Trail. Then left onto Skyuka Trail. This trail is moderately rolling with some wet places to cross unless it’s been dry weather for a while. This trail will take you to the foot of the mountain. Take the John Smartt Trail (i.e., Big Daddy) up Lookout Mountain. The first mile is the most strenuous. It will bring you back into the Upper Truck Trail. This is a good place to regroup, if you’ve separated from your running mates during the climb. Turn right and continue up the John Smartt Trail. The second mile is a little less strenuous, but you can still bust a lung if you’re in it for speed. At the top, the trail turns into the Bluff Trail. Elevation gain approximately 1,180 ft. The Bluff trail is noted for its historic significance and scenic overlooks. The historic Battle of Lookout Mountain was fought near this path and notable signs indicate its historic value. The rock formations along this trail are extremely interesting and an outstanding 100-foot bluff is popular for climbing. Be careful . . .there are many areas of this trail that are right on the edge of the bluff. This is not where you want to trip and fall. Continue passed the climbing bluff, turning left on the Cravens Trail toward the Craven’s House.
This course has not been accurately measured. The distances are taken from information received from the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.
Length of trail: 12+
Rifle Pits Trail: .6 mile
Upper Truck Trail: .5 mile
Gum Spring Trail: .4 mile
Skyuka Trail: 3 miles
John Smartt Trail: 2 miles
Bluff Trail: 5 miles
Craven’s Trail: 1 mile
Average trail time is 2 hours. Many can run this in approximately 1:45 or less, but slower runners will take approximately 2:15 – 2:30. Be sure and bring water.