"Roadside America's finest" Lookout Mountain by goingsolo

Lookout Mountain Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 36 photos

Are we there yet?

Anyone who's ever done a roadtrip in the USA is familiar with all the signs. They pique your curiosity at first. Travelling down a long stretch of highway with more miles in front of you than behind you, your eyes seeing the same thing for hundreds of miles, the idea of the World's Largest Ball of Twine becomes tempting. After hours of driving and the beginnings of fatigue, the signs tempt you further. As if by subliminal messages, the closer you draw towards your desitination and the more roadside signs you see, the temptation to stop becomes almost irresistable. Soon you are paying $20 to see The Thing, or to walk across The Highest Bridge in America or taking photographs next to a large indentation in the earth that may or may not have originated from a meteor (and, if it did, who cares, really?) You wonder how they did it to you again.

A visit to Lookout Mountain begins with the same dreaded curiosity which leads us into temptation. The neon signs for "Rock City", "Underground Waterfalls" and "Hidden Caves", smaller these days due to new laws or something like that, are almost easy to ignore initially. But, after many miles of driving and reading (which is dangerous, by the way), your curiosity becomes unbearable and you begin to head towards Lookout Mountain, wondering if you're about to be suckered yet again.......

At least I am. Admittedly, I am a sucker for roadside tourist traps. The tackier the better. Something about the nostalgia of times past when a road trip was a Great American Experience and the rapidly disappearing trend of enjoying simple albeit tacky pleasures being replaced by the advances of technology in a world where people watch DVDs while traveling in cars (hopefully just the passengers though) instead of reading the road signs, or something like that. Or maybe its just what happens when you travel a lot of miles in a car.

Unlike many roadside attractions which lead to unfulfilled expectations and broken promises (because, as we know, signs never lie. At least, they are not supposed to), Lookout Mountain actually delivers. Just ask all the people from Tennessee who come here over and over again. And they don't have the excuse that they are taking a detour from a roadtrip. There are plenty of sights worth seeing at Lookout Mountain, including a civil war battlefield, rock gardens and, yes, an underground waterfall. It is part tacky tourist attraction, but, admit it, you wouldn't stop at these places unless, deep down, you actually liked them, right?

Lookout Mountain is more than your average roadside destination. It is a series of natural wonders which, while heavily exploited by the tourism commission, are interesting and worth viewing. There are plenty to choose from, plenty to appease the children and even skeptical adults.

Still not convinced? Take a look inside and see some of what Lookout Mountain has to offer.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Interesting sights, views and history.
  • Cons:A visit here can consume a day or more and wads of cash.
  • In a nutshell:Roadside America's finest.
  • Last visit to Lookout Mountain: Jul 2005
  • Intro Updated Sep 18, 2008
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Reviews (14)

Comments (4)

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo
    Jul 30, 2007 at 10:43 AM

    Nice tips. We were in Chattanooga for a wedding this weekend, just at the base of Lookout Mountain. Glad to see you've been here - near the place I grew up.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    May 23, 2006 at 11:26 AM

    Excellent photos of the attractions at Lookout Mountain! As you say, quite impressive for a road-side 'come on'! I enjoyed driving around Tennessee myself - a nice State!

  • Dec 17, 2005 at 6:59 PM

    Hi L, You have been to places of which I can only dream about.... then again....there are these fantastic pages of yours. Thank you.

  • ferdnbean's Profile Photo
    Sep 18, 2005 at 9:13 PM

    Divine Miss L... I could read your pages all day long. Good thing I have to work!!! About 7 weeks until I will be in N.C. & Tennessee. Be well friend! Yours...Ferd

goingsolo

“"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life."”

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