Chattanooga – Worth It

We decided to travel the extra 200 or so miles up the Tennessee River to Chattanooga and it was absolutely worth it. After you pass through a very industrial section of the river the river then takes many twists and turns through a beautiful gorge. Unfortunately we were a bit early to see the leaves change but when they do it will be spectacular.  

Nuclear plants are not uncommon on this stretch of the trip.

Beautiful gorge on the way to Chattanooga, picture does not show it well but it was spectacular.

We spent 3 days in Chattanooga where we jumped in a car with our friends Mike & Mary on Forever Friday and played tourist.

We first drove out to Smokey Mountain National Park for a hike, again wishing we were able to catch the area when the leaves were changing but we were too early. It was still a beautiful area and worth a return trip to explore at some point when we are back in this part of the country.
Smokey Mountains
Smokey Mountains waterfall hike

We then headed to nearby Lookout Mountain.  We took a 100 year old railway up the side of the mountain (1 mi up, 72.7% incline – those that do not like heights should skip this attraction). It is claimed that a clear day you can view several states. It was a bit cloudy the day we were there but the views of the Tennessee River twisting through Chattanooga were stunning to see. A short walk from this viewpoint was Point Park where we learned about of the Civil War battle commonly referred to as “The Battle Above the Clouds” that took place on Lookout Mountain.  
Train at the top of Lookout Mountain
Looking over Tennessee River and Chattanooga
Point Park – Battle of the Clouds

We then drove a few miles to Ruby Falls, a 145 ft waterfall that is 1200 ft under Lookout Mountain. You take an elevator down, walk a narrow corridor among stalactites, stalagmites and other formations until you end up in a large chamber which was formed naturally and set eyes on the waterfall. Interestingly it is not known where the water originates from. The story of the waterfall being discovered and the cave formations leading in/out of the waterfall are very interesting but this being a tourist attraction the waterfall is lit up in various colored lights and paired music to give it the most dramatic effect possible.
Ruby Falls - 145 ft
Our final excursion was to Rock City, some interesting stone formations but more touristy and obscure than our style so the 4 of us speed walked through it and were grateful it was a self guided tour.

Chattanooga overall was a great city, very clean and walkable. It is booming with new condos, businesses and restaurants. It has an extensive city trail/park system along both sides of the river that is really well laid out to appeal to all types of activities.
Downtown Chattanooga waterfront

Today as we are leaving Chattanooga we are finally heading down river, which means we are enjoying the current pushing us toward our next destination. We have parted ways with Mike & Mary on Forever Friday. It has been great to start off The Great Loop by meeting a fun couple who also happen to have the same boat we do. We look forward to catching up with them again at some point.

Summary picture shows 3 American Tugs at the Chattanooga docks – Heartbeat, Forever Friday and Katie B. We are all pretty proud of our choice in boats.

We have a bunch of pictures to share but are struggling with getting pictures to format in a way that makes reading the blog entries AND viewing the pictures easy. Hoping to come up with something that is better than this.