If there’s a prettier spot in the Volunteer State, I’d like to know where it is: Chattanooga, Tennessee, and its immediate vicinity to the East.
From Lookout Mountain (overlooking the heart of downtown Chattanooga) to the “foothills” of the Appalachian Chain, this area can be sheer sensory overload, all year round:
The above photo was taken from Point Park, atop Lookout Mountain, an easy day trip from anywhere in the Chattanooga or Cleveland, TN vicinity. My wife and I spent a gorgeous Saturday at the summit recently. I won’t go into a historical diatribe, but troops were indeed garrisoned here, during the civil war…it was a bit cold during those winter months, sure.
It would be a challenge to take a bad photograph, given this vista!
There’s a virtual 270-degree panorama, as illustrated below:
If we can tear ourselves away, another imposing observational site resides a mere thirty minutes or so due East…Chilhowee Mountain! While not part of its much more famous mountain brethren in the Smoky Mountain National Park, it is indeed part of the same mountain chain: the Appalachians. Chilhowee has three observation decks, each with a unique angle on the breathtaking Ocowee Lake, imbedded in the valley. This shot was taken from the “middle” observation vantage point, gazing West:
A shift to the Northeast yields another gorgeous vista:
And the same sight, late October:
Chilhowee is also honeycombed with hiking trails, from “beginner” treks to more challenging ones…one of the latter, approximately 2.5 miles in and out, yielded a nice place to kick off the shoes and socks, and have lunch: Benton Falls!
And while I can’t recommend the next scenic walk for the average person, on a pretty day it does indeed have its charm:
But one more excursion to the top of Chilhowee: I spent an afternoon up here, at 2200 feet, writing, and taking the preternatural quiet in. You just have to experience this serenity, first-hand, to appreciate just how beautiful Nature can be.
In my opinion, the Chattanooga-Cleveland area is as visually striking as Smoky Mountain National Park, without all the tourists…at least until this “secret” gets out. All of this is just off Interstate 24 (Chattanooga), and I-75 (Cleveland, just NE of the former).
If you reside anywhere close to this region, it’s definitely worth checking out!