Winter, fall, spring or summer, Southeast Tennessee is one of the most beautiful regions in the country. With a landscape littered with mountains, valleys, natural rock formations, waterfalls and more, there’s something to see in every season—and a reason to see the same things in each season to appreciate their splendor at all times of year.
Here are eight local overlooks near Chattanooga you should check out this season, and again and again as the seasons change.
Great Stone Door at South Cumberland State Park
South Cumberland State Park is located in four Southeast Tennessee counties: Grundy, Franklin, Marion and Sequatchie. The park boasts almost 26,000 acres of land for hiking and backcountry camping, but perhaps it’s best-known for the Great Stone Door.
The door is a cliff line overlooking the Savage Gulf. It draws its name from a crack in the cliff that runs from top to bottom, looking like a door left slightly ajar. The Great Stone Door is one of many ways to access the gulf below. The trails provide great wildflower hunting in the spring and summer.
Sequatchie Valley overlook
You literally don’t even have to get out of your car to take in the splendor of the Sequatchie Valley from this overlook, located on Tennessee Highway 111 North. From the pull-off, you’ll see the narrow valley below and the bluffs on the opposite side that comprise the Cumberland Plateau.
Chilhowee overlooks in Cherokee National Forest
Three overlooks grace the 7-mile drive to the Chilhowee Recreation Area along the Ocoee Scenic Byway. All three offer expansive views of the Appalachian Mountains and Parksville Lake. Chilhowee is also a great area to camp, hike, swim and bike.
Point Park on Lookout Mountain
Only a few minutes from downtown Chattanooga, Point Park offers a beautiful view of the Scenic City and Moccasin Bend. The park sits at an elevation of 2,135 feet above the city and includes a paved walking path that takes visitors by historic tablets, monuments, Confederate artillery and the scenic overlook. Admission is charged most days of the year.
Snoopers Rock overlooks on the Tennessee River Gorge
The Snoopers Rock Trail features several beautiful overlooks and, during the spring and summer, beautiful wildflowers. It’s also a great area for hiking, birding and walking.
Big Bend overlook
Located within the Cherokee National Forest near Reliance, Tennessee, the Big Bend overlook on Hood Mountain provides stunning views of the upper section of the Hiwassee River. From Reliance, cross the bridge and follow Childers Creek Road to Powerhouse Road to Big Bend Recreation Area parking.
Signal Point Park overlook
Just minutes from Chattanooga—and free—the overlook at Signal Point Park provides a bird’s-eye view of the city and the Tennessee River (from the opposite side of the Point Park overlook). The main overlook is easily accessible, but adventurers can also take a short hike along the trail to see multiple other overlooks.
Foster Falls at South Cumberland State Park
Foster Falls is part of South Cumberland State Park and is located along the Fiery Gizzard Trail, which is one of the best-known trails in the state, region and even the nation among hiking enthusiasts. The biggest plus of Foster Falls, besides its beauty, is the fact that it’s handicapped-accessible because the overlook is so close to the parking area.
Fall Creek Falls State Park overlook
Fall Creek Falls, about an hour and a half from Chattanooga via the same highway that takes you by the Sequatchie Valley overlook, is filled with scenic vistas and overlooks. One of the best-known overlooks within the park is Fall Creek Falls, the park’s namesake waterfall. It, like the Foster Falls overlook, is close to the parking lot and fairly handicapped-accessible.