Road Trip to Signal Mountain, TN

22 February 2014:

Today marked the warmest day of the new year, a whopping 66 degrees! And my father and I spent the day driving to Signal Mountain, TN and made a few detours along the way, one of which, afforded a spectacular roadway descent on TN 111 just west of Dunlap, TN. The descent has inspired me to in the future, bring my bicycle, “Icarus,” and make several exhilarating rides down and up the 4 mile descent.

TN 111 just west of Dunlap. Check out that descent! Imagine the speeds you'll reach on a road bike!

TN 111 just west of Dunlap. Check out that descent! Imagine the speeds you’ll reach on a road bike!

Also, on this route is a roadside pullout/picnic area with a spectacular waterfall!

One great spot for a picnic!

One great spot for a picnic!

After Dunlap, we continued onward on TN 111 to a beautiful roadside overlook affording incredible views of the Sequatchie Valley! As we neared Chattanooga we detoured to the small, cliffside community of Walden, TN to check out “Falling Water Falls.” This detour required navigating a series of switchbacks very similar to those found on the hairpin, mountain roads of Europe to reach East Brow Rd on top of Walden Ridge. This road is amazing! It literally rests upon the shear ridgeline and provides spectacular views of the Tennessee Valley. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to pull over and take pictures due to the narrowness of the road, but you’ll just have to take my word for it, or better yet, see for yourself!

Sequatchie Valley as seen from roadside overlook. Dunlap, TN and previously mentioned descent in the center.

Sequatchie Valley as seen from roadside overlook. Dunlap, TN and previously mentioned descent in the center.

After Falling Water Falls, we made our way to Signal Mountain and the Cumberland Trail section near Signal Point, part of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. The trailhead begins just below Signal Point, so named due to its strategic importance to the Federals during the Confederate Siege of Chattanooga during the Civil War. The Federals set up a series of signal points on the tops or exposed ridges of the mountains surrounding Chattanooga in preparation for the Confederate destruction of their telegraph lines prior to their siege. Pretty neat actually and from the vantage of the point you can really see why the area was chosen and subsequently named. After gleaning a bit of history from the plaques, we began our hike on the Cumberland Trail. Eventually we arrived at an incredible overlook. The view was of the Tennessee River heading out of Chattanooga and onward to the “Narrows,” a difficult to navigate section of the river, as well as the spectacular Julia Falls plummeting into Middle Creek.

View of the Tennessee River and valley from Signal Point with Lookout Mountain in center-right background.

View of the Tennessee River and valley from Signal Point with Lookout Mountain in center-right background.

Julia Falls as seen from overlook. Off-picture-left is the Tennessee River heading towards the "Narrows."

Julia Falls as seen from overlook. Off-picture-left is the Tennessee River heading towards the “Narrows.”

The picture, due to my 50mm lens, does NOT due the scene justice and I would highly encourage the reader to experience this incredible view in person! After the overlook we made our way to the suspension bridge crossing Middle Creek where, with sunset upon us and light slowly fading, we decided to turnaround.

Our turnaround spot. I sincerely wish we could've stayed longer. Their is a spectacular series of camping locations just behind me to the left.

Our turnaround spot. I sincerely wish we could’ve stayed longer. Their is a spectacular series of camping locations just behind me to the left.

Afterword we made our way to the North Shore area of Chattanooga where I got to experience some of the tasty brews of Chattanooga Brewing Company, I highly recommend their Imperial Pilsner and their Chickbock! We spent the next hour or so wandering around Chattanooga, crossed the Walnut Street pedestrian bridge, and had a great time. Chattanooga is the coolest part of TN!

It was a very good day!

 

 

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