During our week-long stay in Tennessee in March, my parents took M. and I on an overnight trip to Chattanooga, located a couple hours by car from Knoxville.
On the afternoon of the day we arrived, we were taken to Lookout Mountain, an area where a couple battles were fought during the Revolutionary and Civil wars. It makes sense, as the location was particularly strategic, being that it was high up and hard for enemies to reach without being spotted.
There are a couple of ways to get to Lookout Mountain, the most practical of which is driving up the hill. However, another way is to ride the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. This is a mile-long railroad, which has a maximum grade of 72.7%, and it is one of the steepest passenger railways in the world (although I can’t imagine how much steeper it can get!).
At the bottom is the district of St. Elmo, and at the top is Point Park. People can ride one way or make a round trip, and since we were parked at the bottom, we opted for the round-trip ticket. At $15 a person, I feel the price is a bit steep (see what I did there?) but then again, for a first-time rider, I did think it was worth it.
The ride itself starts out with the seats leaning back, and by the time you arrive at the top, the incline is so substantial that you are practically standing up! On the 10-minute trip, the overhead speakers play a recording with facts and tidbits about the railway, and they had the foresight to make the recording on the way down different from the way up, which I appreciated.
Of course our trip was just as Spring was arriving, so not everything was green, but I can only imagine what it’s like when trees and flowers are in bloom. Nevermind that though, as the view from the top was the really remarkable part.