Adventure Travel

Explore Chattanooga’s Lula Lake

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Explore Chattanooga’s Lula Lake

With 50 trailheads all within 20 miles of downtown, Chattanooga holds the crown for best hiking scene in Tennessee. Two mountains, Lookout and Signal, tower over this rivertown that’s best known for the historic Choo Choo Hotel and Railway Station.

On the east side of Lookout Mountain, just over the Georgia border, lies the Lula Lake Land Trust. A veritable playground of waterfalls, mountain scenery, and mellow hikes, Lula Lake is a must-visit when in Chattanooga. It’s only open to the public on the first and last Saturday of each month, so be sure to mark your calendars for it. You can’t miss out on Lula Lake!

Six miles of hiking trails within the area are perfect for day trips. The trails range from easy to moderate in difficulty, but the views are definitely worth it. When exploring Lula Lake, it’s practically mandatory to catch sight of the upper falls and lake itself, via a trail that takes you over an inoperative railroad bed from the 1800s.

Another great hike descends from the upper falls down into the lower falls, through a steep and rigorous trail. The view of the cascading waterfall into a huge basin is truly a sight to behold. The hike can be taken slowly, if needed, but it’s not advisable for the very young, old, or frail.

Lastly, for a grand vista of the Chattanooga Valley, take the hiking trail (or gravel road) to the top of the eastern edge of the mountain. As a moderate climb, the effort is worth it. Once atop the mountain, the sweeping views will kick you off your feet…in the best way possible!

Oh, and the best part of Lula Lake? Entry is free. You heard that right! Donations are always accepted, of course, but if you don’t have the spare cash, you’re welcome to join in on the fun. So pack a picnic, lace up your hiking boots, and hit the road.

Mandy Burkholder is a travel, adventure, and outdoor writer who honed her craft in the foothills of the La Plata Mountains of Southwest Colorado. After a stint in the Swiss Alps, she now resides in Tennessee. Follow her on twitter — @mandyburkhold3r

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