The Lookout Mountain Parkway follows a high altitude, sharp-edged ridge through the states of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, and is among America’s most breathtaking scenic drives. For 93 miles, it winds through a crisply beautiful mountaintop terrain of oak forest, laurel leaves, rocky canyons and crashing waterfalls. It’s a slow, quiet route, created by knotting together several old rural byways, and provides a breathtaking new perspective over an old swath of America’s South. Once on top, there are a few attractions and stunning views of Chattanooga, TN.
The Lookout Mountain Parkway carries the most scenic stretch of the World’s Longest Yard Sale, which began in 1987 and now covers a staggering 690 miles. It takes place on the first Thursday of every August, and runs all the way from Addison, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama. The original purpose of the sale was to lure drivers away from state highways and onto quieter back-roads, so the sale’s route weaves together lots of family friendly attractions – natural, historic, cultural, crafty, sporty – that you can enjoy alongside perusing the sale’s plethora of stalls.
The slopes of Lookout Mountain contain several hidden treasures that it’s worth digging out during a visit to its famous rooftop road or railway. Winding into the mountain is Ruby Falls, a big cave with beautiful water-carved formations and, deep within the mountain, one of the world’s most spectacular cave waterfalls. Nearby, eccentric attraction Rock City features a long and winding trail through rock-strewn terrain lined with gardens and hundreds of labelled local trees and plants. And, of course, myriad hiking trails thread through the oak forest and mountain laurel that cover the mountain’s upper slopes.
The Incline Railway climbs a stretch of track cutting directly up the side of Lookout Mountain. It’s one of the world’s steepest railway rides, with an incline of 72% at its most vertical point, and has been carrying tourists, workers and freight up and down the mountain since the 19th century. The train travels among the trees, waterfalls and canyons that cover Lookout’s slopes, reaching a platform at the top with spectacular views over the city of Chattanooga and the surrounding valleys and peaks.