Lula Lake Land Trust & Cloudland Canyon State Park: Cloudland Connector Trail from Nick-a-Jack Road to High Point, Chattanooga Valley, Georgia
Lookout Mountain is a long linear mountain ridge that stretches roughly from Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Gadsden, Alabama. Much of the ridge has a relatively constant elevation, and the highest point on Lookout Mountain is in Walker County, Georgia. Simply and appropriately named "High Point", this rise on Lookout Mountain is home to a row of sheer cliffs that provide breathtaking views east and south into Chattanooga Valley and towards Pigeon Mountain and Taylors Ridge. Thanks to the recent acquisition of various tracts of land atop Lookout Mountain by the Lula Lake Land Trust, access to High Point has now been secured, and the 14-mile Cloudland Connector Trail provides the perfect approach into the area. This hike occurred on Saturday, December 3rd, 2016. My plan was to hike the Cloudland Connector Trail from Nick-a-Jack Road to the High Point gated service road. From there, I would follow the closed road and then a short path to the summit of High Point and an excellent vista. I would return the same way.
Cloudland Canyon State Park: Overlook Trail, Bear Creek Backcountry Trail, and Backcountry Loop, Trenton, Georgia
You have probably heard about Cloudland Canyon. Cloudland Canyon State Park's Sitton Gulch and Daniel Creek's waterfalls are known very well throughout the hiking community. The park's West Rim Trail is also known quite well. However, many hikers are not aware of another hiking trail in the park - and one that is much more secluded: the Bear Creek Backcountry Trail. The Bear Creek Trail passes through the Bear Creek gorge and then cruises over hills in the eastern section of the park, before reaching a fantastic vista of Cloudland Canyon. Unfortunately, as of March 21, 2016, the Bear Creek Backcountry Trail is closed east of Bear Creek indefinitely. This hike occurred on Saturday, March 19th, 2016. My plan was to check out the "tourist overlook" of Cloudland Canyon near the trailhead. From there, I would hike the Overlook Trail to the Bear Creek Backcountry Trail. Then, I would hike the entire Bear Creek Backcountry Trail - my plan was to hike the loop section counter-clockwise and then return the same way. On my way back, I planned to hike the park's Backcountry Loop clockwise.
When hearing the name Cumberland Plateau, the plateau and valley pattern in middle Tennessee comes to mind. But did you know the plateau doesn't end there? On its way into Alabama, it passes through the extreme northwestern sliver of Georgia, where one of the most spectacular sights on the entire plateau await: Sitton Gulch. Inside the Gulch, you will find a fine mountain stream and four waterfalls, the highest topping out at 100 feet. And if you want a bonus, do the hike in winter after a cold snap - you won't regret it. This hike occurred on January 10th, 2015, following an Arctic cold blast. My plan was to first hike the Sitton Gulch Trail out and back from the main Cloudland Canyon State Park trailhead. Following this, I would hike the West Rim Loop counter-clockwise.
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