This is a long and fantastic ride - perfect for weekend mornings - with a great workout, lots of beautiful rolling country with lightly trafficked roads, and two steep climbs. This road bike loop starts downtown, following the valley south along Lookout Mountain, then through Mountain Cove Farms. After climbing Lookout, you'll roll across, drop back into the valley, climb again, then descend triumphantly into Chattanooga.
What Makes It Great
The switchback climb up Doughtry Gap and the roads near Mountain Cove Farms are reminiscent of riding in the Smokies of Western North Carolina. Once on top of the mountain, you'll enjoy rolling roads with the occasional old-timey farmhouse. The descent down Highway 136 is fast and fun with only two flowing switchbacks. After a short and scenic spin through the valley you'll climb the famous - and very steep - Burkhalter Gap Road. If possible, save a little energy at the top because the last few rollers near Covenant College pack a mean punch!
The descent down Scenic Highway is fast and fun, but don't let the majestic views distract you. There are a couple of sharp turns that demand your attention.
Water and food stops are few and far between (and not always open). Bring plenty to eat and drink. An extra bottle is highly recommended. There may be a lot of tourist traffic on the final descent down Scenic Highway, so keep that in mind. Other than that, enjoy this rather epic ride!
Who is Going to Love It
Strong riders who are up for 80 miles with two mountain ascents (including the infamous Burkhalter Gap Road). The scenery will dull the pain.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
A great starting point is 2 North Shore, where food and beverages (not to mention bike resupply at the Trek Store) are available.