Big Daddy Loop

A staple hiking loop on Lookout Mountain that extends into Georgia.

Also in Tennessee, United States of America

Hiking Moderate

Distance
18 km
Ascent
639 m
Descent
639 m
Duration
4-5 hrs
Low Point
213 m
High Point
574 m
Gradient
11˚
VIEW ON MAP
Big Daddy Loop Map

Description

Whether you're a local or just visiting, this is one of the best hiking loops Chattanooga has to offer. Just a short drive from downtown, the route traverses historic Lookout Mountain into Georgia and showcases one of the best trails in the region - the Bluff Trail.

Start your hike at Cravens House, the trail enters the forest just behind it. If the gate is closed, there is a secondary lot just below the main one. Most hikers prefer this route counter-clockwise, beginning with a steady traverse on an old road bed to warm up.

After descending Gum Springs Trail, you'll take a left onto Skyuka Trail and gradually descend closer to the valley below. This portion is quite secluded and you'll quickly forget how close to town you are. This section has a rugged, backcountry feel and Skyuka Springs is the perfect opportunity to hydrate before a punishing climb out of the valley. The Bluff Trail lies ahead - an excellent reward for your efforts.

The Bluff Trail parallels the western ridge of the mountain and showcases several massive sandstone cliffs on one side - with incredible views of the valley on the other. Your last stop along this loop is Sunset Rock, a rock outcropping with a phenomenal overlook. Its close proximity to the trailhead makes this an excellent destination for a shorter hike. From there, it's all downhill back to the trailhead.

The official route links the following trails when completed counter-clockwise: Rifle Pits > Guild > Gum Springs > Skyuka > John Smartt > Bluff > Cravens House

Sources: https://rootsrated.com/chattanooga-tn/trail-running/big-daddy-loop-on-the-bluff-trail

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Historical
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Dog friendly
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation