Lula Lake Trip Report

Fynn Glover
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What makes this destination worth exploring?

Lula Lake and Lula Lake Falls, located on Lookout Mountain just 25 minutes from downtown Chattanooga, are spectacular geological formations that will stay with you for a lifetime.

Fynn Glover

3-Sentence Overview:

Lula Lake Land Trust has breathtaking views around most every corner and over six miles of trails, making it a prime destination for a great trail run, hike or bike. However, the property is open to the public only on the first and last Saturday of each month, excluding certain holidays. The short hike from the parking lot along Rock Creek to the cascading falls that flow into turquoise Lula Lake is serene and easy, and just after about 3/4 of a mile, you reach the staggering 100 foot Lula Falls, which plunge into an expansive gorge below.

Who would enjoy this experience?

Who wouldn't enjoy this experience? Lula Lake is perfect for hikers, trail runners, families with young children, and friends looking for something memorable to do outdoors.

Getting There: How long is the drive and how much time will people need for this?

The short 25 minute drive from downtown Chattanooga is well worth it, and it doesn't hurt that the drive itself up Lookout Mountain provides beautiful panoramic views of the Chattanooga Valley.

Parking and Trailhead: What's the parking situation, and are there fees?

Fynn Glover
Fynn Glover

 There are no fees, but again, it's important to plan ahead, as the Lula Lake Land Trust is only open on the first and last Saturday of each month.

Where do you start and how long is this going to take?

Starting in the main parking lot, a quick hike to the falls and back can take as little as an hour, and the hike itself is no more than 1.5 miles. But, if you're making your way to Lula Lake, you should give yourself at least 2-3 hours to enjoy everything that the land trust has to offer. With more than six miles of hiking trails on the property, you can make extended hiking or running loops, and on sunny days, many people will rest and relax for extended periods of time on the rocks overlooking the falls and cascades.

What's one thing about this place that visitors should look forward to?

Fynn Glover

Lula Lake itself is a deep mountain pool surrounded by an amphitheater of sandstone. The lake is fed by Rock Creek, which plunges 100 feet into a deep basin just a few hundred yards from the turquoise lake. It's not an overstatement to say that you'll likely never forget the staggering beauty of the falls and the surrounding cathedral of southern sandstone.

Was the trail in good shape? Was it washed out? What should a user expect when visiting?

Lula Lake Land Trust is a managed property, and the trails are always in excellent shape.

Are there any safety precautions that a user should know about?

Reckless behavior on the cliffs overlooking the falls can lead to serious injury or death. Please always exercise caution, especially with young children, around the falls.

Before and After: Where should a visitors grab food or coffee beforehand, and where should they grab a meal afterward?

Mojo Burrito in historic St. Elmo wraps the best burritos in Chattanooga. Conveniently, it's also located right at the entrance to Chattanooga as you make your way back from Lula Lake. The signature Mojo burrito is always a good choice, and if you're looking to share, the Macho Nachos are a local favorite.

Difficulty: 1= Easy and 5=extremely difficult:

I'd give Lula Lake a 1 in terms of difficulty. It provides a very easy and accessible day outdoors. If you're a trail runner, and you're looking for a workout, there are a few punchy, very technical climbs that can make a workout really demanding, but if you're here for the hiking and the views, then you've got a relaxing day ahead.

Mileage:

The hike to the falls and back is about 1.5 miles.

Dog Friendly: Yes or No?

Yes

Are fees or permits required? Yes or No?

No

What's the best time of year to go? 

Anytime. The summer is beautiful, as you can rest and dip your feet in the creek and in the pools at the bottom of each of the falls. The winter can be stunningly beautiful too though, as the falls often freeze, creating an enormous frozen ice sheet.

What's the best time of day to go?

I recommend getting up early to enjoy the Trust before the crowds arrive. Since it's only open twice a month, open days are fairly heavily trafficked and especially so during the late afternoons.

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