Weekend Trip to Chattanooga and South Cumberland State Park

Back in April 2017, when I was still living in Nashville, Aleksi (who was visiting from London over Spring break) and I took a fantastic weekend camping/road trip down to South Cumberland State Park and Chattanooga. I’m sharing the Chattanooga photos first because they turned out so much nicer. (Fun fact about me, I am incapable of saying “Chattanooga” without humming the classic Glenn Miller tune. I probably watched The Glenn Miller Story with my grandma dozens of times growing up, so the tune is really nostalgic for me.)

South Cumberland is another fantastic Tennessee State Park. It’s known for a long hiking trail (with a great name), Fiery Gizzard Trail. But we decided to see the incredible waterfalls at each end of the trail the easy way, by driving between and enjoying the two shorter hikes instead of day/multi-day hike. We camped at the Foster Falls campground, which was a really lovely and peaceful spot in the woods.

After a day of camping, we popped down to Chattanooga. The downtown, touristy area in Chattanooga is really cute. They have a fantastic aquarium with interesting exhibits on fish around the world and in the local ecosystem as well as a really impressive art museum, the Hunter Museum of American Art, that’s held in three buildings: a historic 1850’s mansion, a brutalist structure from the 1970’s, and a stunning contemporary building cantilevered over the Tennessee River. The photo above is from outside the art museum and so are photos 5,6, and 7). 

35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more posts from Tennessee.

And don’t forget to check out my podcast about museums and travel, Museums in Strange Places, available on Apple Podcasts and wherever else you get your podcast fix.

The Hike to Sunset Rock in Lookout Mountain, TN

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Last spring I went on a weekend trip with a new friend to hike. We hiked 14 miles across the Tennessee border into Georgia and back out again on the Bluff and Gum Spring Trails before ending up, exhausted, at Sunset Rock, where we had a grand finale of an overlook after over an hour of great views as we walked along the Bluff trail, which follows the base of bluffs on Lookout Mountain. (That’s me below enjoying the view before begging water off other hikers).

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After the hike, we grabbed dinner in Chattanooga, then headed back up to Falls Creek Falls, where we pitched our tent (lousy camping FYI). The next day we did some easy hiking to see the beautiful waterfalls in the park, then headed up to Cookeville (pronounced Coke-ville) for a Mothers Day brunch at a great New Orleans style restaurant.

 

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While I’m always down for weekend adventures, this may have been one of my most spontaneous trips ever. I’d been using Bumble’s BFF feature to meet new friends. I met up at Bar Taco in Nashville on a Thursday to get drinks with a woman I’d been chatting to on the app. While eating, we realized we both had been looking for folks to go camping with us that weekend. So, that Friday, we met up to adventure together. I love those moments when you connect with someone and instantly make adventure plans. It was a great weekend. My toenails are still healing today, almost a year later, from the damage my too-small boots did, but it was worth the pain!
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[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more photos of Tennessee.]