If you’ve explored the Chattanooga area much, you’ve probably taken in the view from some of the most popular scenic overlooks at places such as Signal Point, Raccoon Mountain and Lookout Mountain’s Sunset Rock. But these are just a sampling of the overlooks in the South Cumberland region that are in easy driving distance. I’ve compiled a few examples of such potentially lesser-known overlooks I think are worth the drive.
Located within the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the historic Cravens House sits directly below Lookout Mountain’s Point Park and provides a great view of downtown Chattanooga, but without the parking or entrance fees of Point Park. See a map to Cravens House here.
Sequatchie Valley overlook on Highway 111
While only partway up the western side of Walden Ridge, this overlook by the side of Highway 111 offers an expansive view of picturesque Sequatchie Valley just south of Dunlap.
Taking Highway 111 from Dunlap east toward Soddy-Daisy and Chattanooga, watch for the overlook on the right as you climb the mountain.
My favorite view of the Tennessee River Gorge, Snoopers Rock is deep within the 24,000-acre Prentice Cooper State Forest. The drawback is that getting there requires about 6 miles of driving on gravel road, but you’ll find it worth the drive. See a map here.
Green’s View at Sewanee
The best overlook on the sprawling domain of the University of the South, Green’s View, on the bluff above the popular wildflower trail at Shakerag Hollow, takes in the western escarpment of the Cumberland Plateau and the patchwork of farmland on the Eastern Highland Rim.
Gazing across Middle Tennessee from Green’s View, you can just about see the curve of the earth.
Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge
The lodge and conference center at Lake Guntersville State Park near Guntersville, Alabama, provides an awesome view of Lake Guntersville from the back porch. Learn more at the park’s website.
Gorham’s Bluff is a unique community on Sand Mountain near Pisgah, Alabama. Just behind the imposing lodge, a small white gazebo on the bluff is one of my favorite overlooks in the entire South Cumberland region.
A good place to see bald eagles and other raptors, and a site on the North Alabama Birding Trail, the overlook views Coon Gulf and the Raccoon Creek Wildlife Management Area, the Tennessee River, and the Cumberland Plateau on the western horizon. Find a MapQuest map and directions here.
All photos are by Bob Butters.
Bob Butters explores nature and the outdoors, primarily in and near the South Cumberland region, and publishes the blog www.Nickajack-Naturalist.com. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.