It’s a ride like none other, and it distinctively changes with the seasons. As you travel up the 72.7 grade of the Incline Railway in the winter, the view of Chattanooga is spectacular, and bare trees frame an unparalleled view of the Appalachian Mountains. Now as the days become longer, and the temperatures start climbing, you can be sure of one thing; Lookout Mountain is the place to stay cool when it gets hot, and below are 9 reasons to travel America’s Most Amazing Mile this spring.
Surround yourself in spring blooms
As bare winter branches give way to spring blooms, the Incline Railway is the best way to get an amazing view of Chattanooga and surround yourself in the colors of spring. Bright white and pink blooms from magnificent Mountain Laurel and the bright yellows of native Azaleas border the trip up Lookout Mountain, making this the best time to travel the most amazing mile.
Cool off at the top
You know as summer gets nearer, the heat comes up quick. Given that this has been a relatively mild winter, it’s a good bet that late spring will ratchet up the temperatures. As we all know, it’s cooler on the mountaintop, and Lookout Mountain is always a few degrees cooler than the valley.
Cut out the wait
While summer is a great time to ride the Incline, one of the advantages of a spring trip is a more relaxed atmosphere, which makes the wait time shorter. This allows you to spend more time exploring historic St. Elmo in the valley, enjoying the view from the observation deck, or finding the perfect souvenir to remember your trip.
Dine in the sun at the 1885 Grill
Down in the valley of historic St. Elmo is one of the best outdoor dining experiences in the area. The 1885 Grill has fantastic service and a burger that can’t be beat. Start at the top and take the Incline down, enjoy the spring weather on the patio, and have a dining experience like no other at the base of the Incline Railway.
Check out the highest view on Lookout Mountain
While there are numerous fantastic sites with a view on Lookout Mountain, the upper observation deck at the Incline Railway is one of the most amazing. It is also the highest on the mountain. Don’t forget quarters for the binoculars, or better yet, bring your own, and soak in a remarkable view of Chattanooga and the Appalachians.
Hike through history at Point Park
Point Park is the gateway to one of the most unique blends of history and hiking trails that you will find. The Civil War battles on Lookout Mountain were some of the most important of the war and Point Park, located a short walk from the top station of the Incline Railway, offers numerous ways to explore the mountain’s history while enjoying nature. On top of being a popular photo spot-as evidenced by the Ochs Museum located on site-there are trails that lead to historic Cravens house, Sunset Rock, and the site where Lookout Mountain’s Point Hotel once stood.
Treat yourself to some ice cream
When it’s hot in the valley, you know the best way to cool off is with some ice cream. Luckily, some of the best ice cream around Chattanooga can be found in Clumpies next to the bottom station of the Incline Railway. Clumpies has been making homemade ice cream since 1999, and everyone will find a flavor they love. Enjoy your favorite flavor while you wait for your ride back to the top, or treat yourself and the family while reliving the journey on the most amazing in America!
Spot a groundhog at the top terminal
These furry animals can be found all year at the top of the Incline Railway, either from one of the observation decks or from the railcar as it is perched prior to decent. They are a little hard to find, as they like to blend in with their surroundings, so make sure you and the kids keep an eye out. Maybe even ask the guide if they know of any groundhog hiding spots.
See the Battle Above the Clouds come to life
You can’t get a complete picture of Lookout Mountain if you don’t explore its history and role in the Civil War. One of the best ways to do both is through the Battles for Chattanooga exhibit. Located just before the entrance to Point Park and a short walk from the top of the Incline Railway, the Battles for Chattanooga is a digital panoramic display that brings this critical Civil War campaign to life using the latest in modern technology. In addition to giving you a unique perspective of the Battle Above the Clouds and Chattanooga area battles, it is one of the best way to explore and get a handle on the geography of the area.
To book your trip on the Incline Railway, and use it as a gateway to exploring Lookout Mountain and the valley, go to www.ridetheincline.com.