Did you know St. Elmo is the premier Chattanooga neighborhood for hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers, and nature enthusiasts of all sorts? We have immediate access to more trails than any other location within the city limits. The neighborhood borders the 3000 acre Lookout Mountain Battlefield which contains approximately 34 miles of trails. In addition, the trails within the park connect to an additional 12 miles of trails within the Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center. And there is something for everyone, whether you are seeking a stroll on a relatively flat gravel surface like the Guild and Hardy trails or narrow single track quad burners like the Whiteside and Kiddie trails. During periods of wet weather we have access to a beautiful cascading water fall known as Glen Falls that is well worth the hike and is easily accessed via the Whiteside, Shingle, and Glen Falls trails. Simply click here for a detailed map of the Lookout Mountain trails.
There are many opportunities to be involved with your trails community. If trail running is your interest, most Wednesday evenings, St. Elmo resident & executive director of Wild Trails, Randy Whorton, leads "Discovery Runs" on Lookout Mountain and all over the Chattanooga area. If you wish to participate follow the link to the Meetup group below.
In addition, there are many organizations that need your help with maintaining our local trails. Please click on the links below to find out how. We will be updating information on our local trails so please check back with us!
Chattanooga Trail Runners Meetup: http://www.meetup.com/Chattanooga-Trail-Runners/
Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center: http://www.chattanooganaturecenter.org/www/docs/117/volunteer/
Lookout Mountain Battlefield: http://www.nps.gov/chch/supportyourpark/volunteer.htm
Wild Trails: http://www.wildtrails.org/volunteer.html
Glen Falls Trail: If you don't want to hike from the bottom of the mountain, you can drive to an access point: Take Tennessee Ave to Ochs Highway and begin to climb Lookout Mountain. After Sanders Road comes in from the right (sign to Ruby Falls), there is a pull-off to the left in about 200 yards. This is the parking for the trail.
Whiteside Trail: The trail head for this rather steeply climbing singletrack path is easily accessible by parking at the Guild Trail parking lot, carefully crossing the Ochs Hwy, and hiking 3 tenths of a mile on the Guild Trail (gravel 2-track) to a trail on your left. To reach the parking area from downtown St. Elmo drive north up the Ochs Hwy until you see the Guild Trail road on your left. Turn left and another immediate left into the parking area with the trail kiosk.
Shingle Trail: To reach the Shingle Trail drive up the Ochs Hwy until you reach Sanders Rd. and make a right. Drive a short distance until you see a road exiting the picnic area on your left and continue driving to a 2nd entrance and turn there. Park, and you will find the trailhead behind the pit toilets heading up the mountain bearing left. Stay on the well worn path past the large boulder on your right. The trail will exit on the Ochs Hwy. The Glen Falls Trail begins just up the road on the left.
Kiddie Trail: From St. Elmo follow Tennessee Ave. to West 37th St. and turn left. Follow the road jogging to the left careful not to turn left onto Old Wauhatchie Pike. West 37th becomes the Cummings Hwy and you follow it around the point of Lookout Mt with the Tennessee River on your right. On the left just past Lucky's Bar and Grill turn onto Old Wauhatchie Hwy. Drive about 250 yds and turn right onto Garden Rd. There will be an obvious sign for the Reflection Riding & Arboretum. Continue down Garden Rd. until you see an obvious gravel parking lot on your right with a trail kiosk on the opposite side of the road. The trail starts gradually and then climbs steeply until intersecting with the Skyuka Trail.
Contributor: Michael Plummer