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Lookout Mountain 50 Mile

The final Salomon/ Rock Creek Trail Series event of the year. **Portions of course are closed except on raceday.
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Difficulty: Strenuous
Length: 50 miles
Duration: Full day

Overview:  This course features a tour of Lookout Mountain in both Tennessee and Georgia offering stunning bluff views, creek crossings and... more »

Tips:  ** Do not enter Long Branch unless authorized. The Connector Trail is open, but the 50 mile course is closed except on race day.

**... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Covenant College

To find the start go to the campus of Covenant College atop Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Drive past main entrance and down road another .5 miles or so. Turn left into baseball/softball complex.

2. CC S/F

The start for 21012 has moved to inside the gravel lot on the right just after turning off of Scenic Hwy. From the gravel lot run across the entrance road and get on gravel path. Follow path across Scenic Hwy and take a right heading for campus.

3. Left onto campus

You will see tennis courts on left, turn left into South Entrance at Barnes Center. Follow road around back of building and just keep going straight on road.

4. Road through campus

Stay road until road turns right uphill, you stay straight and concrete becomes gravel path. There are 2 brown stanchions in the roadway and the pavement becomes a gravel road.

5. Hello single track

Almost immediately after hitting gravel there is a left turn downhill onto single-track. It is easy to miss this turn as it does not look like a trail when overgrown. The day I was there it looked like a washout. If you see a left, take it. There is a green dot on a tree or telephone pole on your left as a marker.

6. Ochs Gateway

The trail soon crosses a road and you enter National Park Service property. Normal NPS rules apply: dogs on leash, no alcohol, firearms, no bikes on these trails. Be prepared for some rocky, technical sections along this route. There is a bronze plaque set in stone on this short downhill section. Thanks to the Adolf and Milton Ochs for preserving ... More

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7. Ochs at Bluff

Ochs Gateway ends at the Bluff Trail. Turn right. This is your first really nice view of Lookout Valley. Stay on Bluff all the way to Point Park about 4.5 miles away.

8. Bluff Trail

9. Gum Springs Trail

After running the Bluff Trail for about 2.5 miles you will cross a metal bridge and then the first reach your first intersection. This is Upper Gum Springs Trail and it goes left and sharply downhill. Stay up and to right on the main trail. I believe there is also a very steep set of stairs to Sunset Rock. Stay on main path. The only sign I saw... More

10. Bluff to Sunset

On the Bluff Trail there are only 2 rights. One, is almost immediately after Gum Springs and is a set of steep steps to Sunset Rock and two, the metal steps to Point Park which you can't miss.

11. Bluff Trail at Craven's Trail

About half a mile later, you come to another, more definitive split when the Bluff Trail intersects Craven's Trail. There are signs here and a wodden kiosk. Again, stay up and to right heading towards Point Park.

12. Point Park

This is really cool to see and I don't care if it is raceday, stop and check it out. At the point of Lookout Mountain is Point Park. There are large plaques placed into the rock memorializing The Battle Above the Clouds during the Civil War in 1863. The metal stairs take you up to the park itself. Your path continues around the corner.

13. Mountain Rocks

As you move along the trail there are many rock formations to observe. I love exploring these formations.

14. Ohio Monument

After finishing the Hardy Trail you arrive at Craven's House, a Civil War landmark. Immediately on your left is a set of stairs leading to the Ohio Monument. The course follows the adjacent driveway, I recommend walking the steps and checking out a bit of history. Yes, you are adding about 20 yards to your 50-miler.

15. Craven's House

As you come up driveway with Ohio on left Craven's House is on your right. Plenty of green grass, a few cannons and assorted monuments await you. The plateau was the scene of intense fighting during the Battle Above the Clouds in 1863. Aid Station 1 is in the parking lot and the trail continues up the hill behind house. There is a signboard with... More

16. Craven's Monuments

I love running through Craven's and admiring the Civil War monuments and plaques. The workmanship is superb and classical. Don't forget to lookout over downtown Chattanooga during your short time there.

17. New York

The large monument in the grassy field before you is dedicated to the soldiers from my home state of New York.

18. Leaving Craven's onto Rifle Pits

Back on the trail. Take the trail going uphill behind Craven's House and you will almost immeditely come to an intersection. There will be 2 minor trails before you reach the split of Craven's and Rifle Pits, don't be fooled by small signs. Look for Rifle Pits Trail!

19. Rifle Pits to Guild Trail

Follow Rifle Pits Trail for .5 miles until it terminates at the Guild Trail. Looks just like Hardy Trail from earlier. Take a left and head downhill. Stay on wide gravel path in .7 miles the Guild will intersect the Upper Truck Trail. Stay to right around corner.

20. Jura Trail

In just under a mile there is a left turn here off the Guild Trail onto Jura Trail. It is the only turn off the Guild in this section. If you reach the opening with gas pipeline, you missed the turn.

21. Too Many Trails

Okay, there's no easy way to guide you through this next section. There are too many intersections and trails. On raceday the trails will be marked, so pay attention. For training or hiking use the app or keep heading downhill and left. The Nature Center is at the bottom. You could just get on Skyuka and run out to John Smartt.

When you reach the bottom of the mountain you have arrived at the Chattanooga Nature Center and Aid Station 2. Home to wolves, a bald eagle and other critters, the center occupies a beautiful piece of land beside Lookout Creek. Take a deep breath, look around and enjoy yourself before heading back onto the trail.

23. Blue Beaver Trail

Okay, once again too many trails. Run along road till you reach intersection with road on left. Take the left uphill and look for Blue Beaver Trail. Take trail until you reach Skyuka and turn right. If you miss turn onto Blue Beaver on a training run don't worry. Stay on gravel road, Lower Truck Trail, and you will reach Skyuka Springs. Skyuka and... More

24. Skyuka Springs

Small watering hole. Get ready to climb back up mountain.

25. John Smartt Trail

2 miles of climbing ahead of you to Bluff and another 1.4 to the college. Great rock formations and fantastic views await you.

26. Jackson View

You are treated to some awesome views as you approach the top of the climb. You arrive at Jackson Gap Trail and the start of the Bluff Trail. Take right uphill towards the spring and lake. If you go left you will be back at Ochs Gateway and Bluff.

27. Jackson Gap Trail

The climb continues. You come to a very small water crossing and then Jackson lake. At the lake there is a new road for 2012. Follow the road and at the intersection take a right. You will pop-out at student housing near Scenic Hwy.

28. Heading for Lula

Exit the back of the gravel lot on the Challenge Trail and then a right onto the cross-country trails. You will be running on fairly wide trails in this next section crossing Gerber road and Gerber Creek before arriving at Lula Lake Road.

29. Lula Lake Road

Lula is only open on the first and last Saturday of each month. Please respect this restriction. We are offered the opportunity to conduct races at this venue twice a year and want that relationship to continue. Cross road bearing left. At end of guardrail there is single-track to right. Take the right and descend into Lula Lake.

30. Running in Lula

The single track emerges onto a gravel road. Take a left and then an immediate right following the washed out area downhill. Aim for footbridge ahead to cross creek. Turn right after crossing and follow path around to right until you get on Middle Trail. Follow to across until you are directed to left and down.

After descending on steep trail you arrive at concrete bridge and Lula Lake and Waterfalls. Follow road to right and this is home to Aid Stations 4 and 7. Keep going on road until directed right and up to bluff.

32. Lula High Point

Follow trail along high bluff. There are some great views from this point of the valley below. Stay on track until directed back off bluff on Turkey Trail. Pay attention. There are numerous trails in the property and it can be confusing.

33. Rock Creek

Take right onto F4 trail towards creek. Expect the trail to be wet and muddy along this section.

34. F4 Trail to Cloudland Connector

This is the connection between Lula and Long Branch and was devastated by an F4 tornado in April 2011. The path is rough and narrow. The trail is pretty straight forward for the next mile or so until you climb away from creek. Once out of the woods take a right onto a short road section to get to Long Branch. The parking lot is up over slight rise... More

35. Nick-A-Jack Cloudland Connector Trailhead

Home to Aid Stations 5 and 6 the parking lot is off Nick-A-Jack Road. The course is not on the Connector Trail, but instead meanders through the property on other trails. This area is off limits except on raceday. There are some really cool signs here!

After a 4-mile loop, turn around and head back the way you came to Lula, Covenant and the... More