One of the best hikes or trail runs in Chattanooga is the Cumberland Trail, especially this route from Signal Point to Mushroom Rock. This is a popular segment, drawing trail veterans and casual hikers alike because of its magnificent views of the Tennessee River Gorge.
What Makes It Great
Signal Point once served as an important signaling post for the Union army during the siege of Chattanooga. Enjoy the view before beginning your adventure. Take the path to your right and pick up the trail down the steps. You'll make your way through the rocks to emerge at the majestic Julia Falls Overlook. The trail traverses another very rocky section before crossing Middle Creek on a suspension bridge. You then begin to work your way upward, following the white blazes of the Cumberland Trail past ledges, boulders and more rocky sections, with sandstone monuments above. The trail eventually leads you to the opposite side of Middle Creek Gorge and Edward’s Point for another awe-inspiring view.
Ignore the ATV road and stay on the Cumberland Trail as you press on to Mushroom Rock. You'll go in and out of the woods, popping out on rocky outcroppings before being drawn back into the trees. The trail in this section can be overgrown in summer, so watch your footing and check for chiggers, ticks and snakes. At Mushroom Rock, you have the option to continue by descending into Suck Creek Gorge for a dip in the creek at an impressive suspension bridge. The trip into the Gorge is fun (and the creek is a welcome refreshment) but the climb back out is not easy.
Remember, there is no faster way back - the ATV roads and trails in the woods can be very confusing. Our advice is to carry water, food and a phone, and stay on the Cumberland Trail (white blazes) at all times.
Who is Going to Love It
Long-distance hikers and experienced trail runners will enjoy this classic route.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
If you park at Signal Point, plan to be back by dark so your car doesn't get locked in. With a shuttle, one-way trips to Suck Creek Road are a fun option.