Lookout Mountain is located in the northeast corner of Alabama, the northwest corner of Georgia and along the southern border of Tennessee near Chattanooga. There's a lot of interesting things to see and do up in this area, and riding along the Lookout Mountain Parkway is awesome! During our stay in Ft. Payne over the 4th of July holiday, we spent one day riding north to explore this beautiful area and visit a few of the attractions that make Lookout Mountain a great vacation spot.
The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the air felt cooler as we encroached deeper into the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. For me, riding on a Scenic Parkway (wherever it may be) is always my first choice of travel. I think it gives me a better feel for the landscape and terrain of the area we're riding in. Besides, most parkways provide overlooks, allowing for safe stops, and that's always a big plus!
High on the bluffs, overlooking the city of Chattanooga, the residential community of Lookout Mountain is a twisted maze of tight curvy roads and steep hills winding throughout a fairy tale like neighborhood of grand houses and lovely cottages. Large or small, they all took on a storybook feel, as they were nestled in by it's lush mountain foliage and gardens in full bloom that were rich in color. The "streets" were identified with signs boasting of Snow White's Lane, Aladdin's Avenue, or Cinderella Circle. It was very unusual indeed to see mailboxes and driveways in an area that seemed like it was a perfect home for billy goats. The interesting attractions we seek are also nestled into this community like a welcome and pleasant neighbor.
High on the ridge of Lookout Mountain was Rock City, a site known for it's massive ancient rock formations and beautiful gardens laden with over 400 native plant species. I remember as a child, seeing large barns dappled along the countryside advertising "SEE ROCK CITY" on their rooftops. I've always wondered about it and now I can say... everyone should see this amazing place!
Rock City has an overlook where you can see seven states at once: Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. The view was breathtaking to say the least.
There's also a really cool spot for romantic suicides called Lovers Leap, just in case anyone feels the need to bond their eternal love into the life beyond. Fortunately, no one took advantage of the opportunity while we were there.
As part of the Chickamauga - Chattanooga Military Park, Point Park is where General Joseph Hooker launched an attack 0n November 24th, 1868 that would become known as the "Battle Above The Clouds". The mountain, more than 1200 feet above the valley floor beneath it is surrounded on three sides by a near vertical rock wall that has afforded protection to the occupants of the top for hundreds of years. Although no fighting actually took place in Point Park, a Confederate artillery battery fired on Union soldiers, who were sweeping the mountainside. The view from up here is spectacular as I posted in my previous Pic Of The Week "An Eagle's View".
Erected by the state of New York to honor those soldiers who fought and died on this Civil War Battlefield, this ninety five foot high monument is the largest monument in the Chickamauga-Chattanooga Military Park and can be seen for miles.
Sitting high on top, is a bronze statue of a Federal soldier clasping the hand of a Confederate soldier as they stand beside the Stars and Stripes. On one facade of the monument are the words of President McKinley... "REUNITED - ONE COUNTRY AGAIN AND FOREVER".
THE INCLINE RAILWAY
On November 16, 1895 the railroad known today as "The Incline" opened, rising up the steepest part of Lookout Mountain. This railway boasted of a 72.7% incline at one point, making it the steepest passenger Incline in the world.
At 145 feet tall Ruby Falls is one of the largest underground waterfalls accessible to the public. This remarkable beauty located deep inside Lookout Mountain has been a shared memory for generations of travelers to and through the Chattanooga area. We did not go into Ruby Falls Cave during this trip, but we've been through it a few years back. You really need a few hours to fully enjoy this awesome spectacle. There are several tours a day.
As the daylight began to fade, I was relieved to find ourselves cruising on back to Ft. Payne for the evening. Walking around in jeans and boots when the sun is shinning and the wind's not blowing on ya... it gets pretty darn hot. I was looking forward to a nice cool shower and a tasty steak dinner at the Golden Rule BBQ and Grill across the street from our hotel.
Spending the day playing tourist was sure a tiresome job! I'm just glad there were plenty of rest stops for an aging ol' gal like myself! I'll be back with more of our North Alabama stay-cay.
In the meantime... ride safe and ride on!!