Patricia King and Noel Durant

Patricia King and Noel Durant

Best Day Hikes

From “Chattanooga Magazine”

Visitors and residents need easy access to outdoor recreation for exercise and the opportunity to see the natural world around Chattanooga. Fortunately there are several great trails that are perfect for day hiking. Some are relatively new and they offer interesting views over a variety of terrain. Those featured here are easy to moderate trails that hikers of all ages may enjoy. The trails are maintained by various conservation organizations or by the city.

Cloudland Connector Trail

Long Branch Trail may be accessed at the Nick-A-Jack Trailhead

The Lula Lake Land Trust protects the 4,000-acre Rock Creek watershed on Lookout Mountain and oversees the new Cloudland Connector trails that encompass three segments—the Long Branch Trail section, with direct access from Nick-A-Jack Road, the popular 5-Points Trail and a the Ascalon Trail section. Five-Points is well used by mountain bikers on the weekends.

The Lula Lake Land Trust was established by the will of Robert M. Davenport in January of 1994. The Trust is governed by a 10-member board and has a staff of two, new Development Director Tricia King and Land Manager Noel Durant. King, who was formerly with Land Trust for Tennessee, was recently tapped to develop the education component of the work of the Trust. Noel came to the Trust over two years ago from the park service and is knowledgeable about the biological inventory of plant life found there.

“Hikers are welcome. We can accommodate scout troops and class outings,” says King. “And the trails are open seven days a week through our partnership with Cloudland Canyon State Park.” The core property where the lake and falls are is open to the public from 9-5 on the first and last Saturday of each month. Groups may reserve the core property during the week for outings by contacting Noel Durant.

Parking is free at the Nick-A-Jack Trailhead where hikers may access the Long Branch Trail. The other trailheads in the system require a $5 parking fee.

The Long Branch Trail is open for hiking biking and horseback riding. The trailhead has a pavilion for picnicking and a latrine-style, enclosed outhouse. Well-maintained trails and dramatic views of the mountains are a highlight of this day hike, which is especially beautiful in spring and fall. The trailhead is 15 minutes south of Chattanooga.

Visit for directions to the trailhead and maps.