This 3.5 mile loop is a nature trail complete with numbered trail markers, courtesy of the Tennessee River Gorge Trust (TRGT). An interpretive pamphlet that includes information on forest composition and history about the Pot Point Property can be found on the TRGT website. The hike takes around 2 hours to complete—that is, if you go slow, enjoy the views, and read the nifty trail trivia. The trail could be jogged in less than a hour, but families with young children could probably fill most of a day here.
What Makes It Great
The history of the place is really interesting. It's hard to believe that not so long ago people were farming and moonshining the hillsides along the gorge.
The trail, well marked with blue blazes, starts at the kiosk located near the parking area. The first third of the hike is a climb up to a "boulder city" below Azalea Point. While there are some steep sections that are rough, short level sections provide some relief. The second third of the hike is on an old logging road with an easy downhill grade. You then cross River Canyon Road and follow a wide, flat trail next to the river that will take you back the the Pot Point Cabin.
Who is Going to Love It
This loop would be perfect for anyone who wants a short excursion close to the city. Aside from the first big climb, the hike is either an easy downhill grade or a wide path along the river, perfect for families and beginners alike. Naturalists will appreciate the pamphlet and self-guided tour that explains the forested surroundings, and trail runners will especially love it.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The trailhead is about 25 minutes from downtown Chattanooga. As you are driving down River Canyon Road you will pass Pot Point Cabin. Immediately after passing the cabin there is a sign that reads “Pot Point Biological Field Station & Parking.” Turn up the gravel drive and take the first right into the level gravel parking area.
Safety: River Canyon Road is narrow and the locals take the turns like they are driving in a NASCAR event! So, be careful and drive slow.