The Rock/Creek Trail Series Lookout Mountain 50 mile trail race, one of the crown jewels of the Salomon Rock/Creek Trail Series, includes a 10k option to make this a great way to end the year for all running levels.
What Makes It Great
The Lookout Mountain 50 Mile Race is not just an ultra-marathon--it's a trip through history. Each December, no matter the weather, the race begins and ends at Covenant College, a former posh hotel once known as "The Castle in the Clouds." The route descends into the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park via Ochs Gateway, named for Adolph and Milton Ochs, who preserved the land for future generations. After a quick descent, Ochs ends at the Bluff Trail with a panorama of Lookout Valley. Turn right towards Tennessee. This section of trail becomes more technical as you near Point Park.
Along the route runners cross the Tennessee state line and pass popular rock climbing spots like Sunset Rock. The trail changes names at Point Park to Mountain Beautiful Trail and then descends to the Guild-Hardy Trail which is built upon the bed of an old railroad. Enjoy the quick and wide gravel downhill section as you head towards Craven’s House (Aid Station 1). There are plenty of monuments and Civil War-era cannons, and Craven’s House also offers a nice view of downtown Chattanooga. The descent continues to the Reflection Riding Arboretum in the valley below for AS 2 and a speedy run along Lookout Creek.
You'll have an easy time on the Lower Truck Trail to Skyuka Springs, then a endure 2-mile climb back to the college on the John Smartt Trail, passing massive rocky outcroppings and, finally, the college’s lake. The start/finish line doubles as AS 3 as you pass under the arch in the opposite direction heading toward Lula Lake. The runners now transition to the smooth trails of Covenant's cross country course. Lula Lake is home to two stunning waterfalls, AS 4, and a creek. Then runners are sent scrambling up to Eagle’s Bluff for a view of Chattanooga Valley. Descend back to the creek and onto singletrack for the trip over to Longbranch and a lap around this private residential community (home to AS 5). It’s now as easy as returning to the college the way you came to complete this magnificent course. Hope you have a headlamp!
Who is Going to Love It
You know who you are. See Ry Glover's 2014 race report. If you're not up for 50 miles yet, try the 10k option, which is a good race, despite the alleged uphill finish.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Although the trails north from Ochs Gateway are generally open for running, south of the College many portions are on closed or private land. Lula Lake has restricted access.
Longbranch is private property and the connector is off-limits except on race day.
There is a fee to access Reflection Riding.
Please respect our hosts and only run where it's allowed (and leave nothing but footprints)!