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Lookout Mountain Parkway Information



 
 
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  #1  
Old November 6th 05, 05:10 PM
HarryB
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Default Lookout Mountain Parkway Information

We are looking for information on biking the Lookout Mountain Parkway
which runs from Gadsen, AL to Chattanooga, TN. We would like to do day
trips on the Parkway, using DeSoto Falls State Park in Alabama and
Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia as bases.

Specifically we are wondering how hilly (or mountainous) the roads are
and if they are reasonably "bicycle friendly."

TIA,
Harry & Mary
Riding on TWOgether
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  #2  
Old November 7th 05, 03:14 AM
Patrick Lamb
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Default Lookout Mountain Parkway Information

On Sun, 06 Nov 2005 11:10:46 -0600, HarryB wrote:

We are looking for information on biking the Lookout Mountain Parkway
which runs from Gadsen, AL to Chattanooga, TN. We would like to do day
trips on the Parkway, using DeSoto Falls State Park in Alabama and
Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia as bases.

Specifically we are wondering how hilly (or mountainous) the roads are
and if they are reasonably "bicycle friendly."


Disclaimer, I haven't cycled it, but I've driven it. (Dad lives on
157.)

The terrain is mostly gentle and rolling, with a few decent hills on
Ga. Highway 157. Off the top of my head, I think the most serious
hill is south of Vulcan Rd., about 3/4 mile; just a guess, about a 6%
grade. The first few miles south of the town of Lookout Mountain on
Lula Lake Rd. are narrow, twisty, and winding, although it straightens
out before you get to the Lula Lake Land Trust. From there south to
136, sight lines are mostly good, with a few curves, but not too
sharp. There are no paved shoulders on either 157, 189, or 136 in
Georgia; can't remember about the Alabama part of the parkway. South
of 136, the road narrows a bit, but it's pretty all the way down.

136 has some pretty good rollers on the sides of the mountain. The
northwest rollers are long, with moderate transition, so sight lines
are good. On the southeast side, there's three sharp rollers; traffic
can't see over the tops, so you'll have to be alert there. In
between, it's relatively flat.

Hwy 189 is pretty to drive, but I wouldn't want to bike it. Steep
rollers, winding road, no sight lines. As I recall, the steepest part
is going south just before you get to Burkhalter Gap Rd., which you've
got to see to believe. I'd go to the east side of the mountain and
take 157.

In Georgia, 157 and 136 have good pavement. Last time I went up 189,
it was OK, but not as good as the other two. The north part of the
Alabama section needed paving 3-4 years ago, but the pavement got
better as you went south.

Dad started biking along 157 in the evenings this summer, and reported
no problems with cagers. I'd be cautious around commuting times and
when school lets out because of impatient drivers and the size of the
lanes. Traffic on 157 and 189 will be lighter than on the
cross-mountain roads (GA 136 and AL 48?). 136 in particular gets some
truck traffic avoiding Chattanooga by going over the mountain.
Traffic on the southern end, near Desoto Falls, is heaviest nearest
Ft. Payne.

To sum up, ride in the middle of the day (or early on weekends), take
a triple for the areas I mentioned as steep, stay alert, and have fun!

Pat

Email address works as is.
  #3  
Old November 20th 05, 03:43 PM posted to rec.bicycles.rides
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Default Lookout Mountain Parkway Information

On Sun, 06 Nov 2005 21:14:45 -0600, Patrick Lamb
wrote:

On Sun, 06 Nov 2005 11:10:46 -0600, HarryB wrote:

We are looking for information on biking the Lookout Mountain Parkway
which runs from Gadsen, AL to Chattanooga, TN. We would like to do day
trips on the Parkway, using DeSoto Falls State Park in Alabama and
Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia as bases.

Specifically we are wondering how hilly (or mountainous) the roads are
and if they are reasonably "bicycle friendly."


Disclaimer, I haven't cycled it, but I've driven it. (Dad lives on
157.)

The terrain is mostly gentle and rolling, with a few decent hills on
Ga. Highway 157. Off the top of my head, I think the most serious
hill is south of Vulcan Rd., about 3/4 mile; just a guess, about a 6%
grade. The first few miles south of the town of Lookout Mountain on
Lula Lake Rd. are narrow, twisty, and winding, although it straightens
out before you get to the Lula Lake Land Trust. From there south to
136, sight lines are mostly good, with a few curves, but not too
sharp. There are no paved shoulders on either 157, 189, or 136 in
Georgia; can't remember about the Alabama part of the parkway. South
of 136, the road narrows a bit, but it's pretty all the way down.

136 has some pretty good rollers on the sides of the mountain. The
northwest rollers are long, with moderate transition, so sight lines
are good. On the southeast side, there's three sharp rollers; traffic
can't see over the tops, so you'll have to be alert there. In
between, it's relatively flat.

Hwy 189 is pretty to drive, but I wouldn't want to bike it. Steep
rollers, winding road, no sight lines. As I recall, the steepest part
is going south just before you get to Burkhalter Gap Rd., which you've
got to see to believe. I'd go to the east side of the mountain and
take 157.

In Georgia, 157 and 136 have good pavement. Last time I went up 189,
it was OK, but not as good as the other two. The north part of the
Alabama section needed paving 3-4 years ago, but the pavement got
better as you went south.

Dad started biking along 157 in the evenings this summer, and reported
no problems with cagers. I'd be cautious around commuting times and
when school lets out because of impatient drivers and the size of the
lanes. Traffic on 157 and 189 will be lighter than on the
cross-mountain roads (GA 136 and AL 48?). 136 in particular gets some
truck traffic avoiding Chattanooga by going over the mountain.
Traffic on the southern end, near Desoto Falls, is heaviest nearest
Ft. Payne.

To sum up, ride in the middle of the day (or early on weekends), take
a triple for the areas I mentioned as steep, stay alert, and have fun!

Pat

Email address works as is.


We camped at DeSoto State Park for a few nights and rode our tandem on
AL176 which runs along the west rim of Little River Canyon.
Spectacular scenery! It took us a long time to ride this section
because we *had* to stop at each lookout! AL35 did have quite a bit of
heavy truck traffic, but Little River Canyon Parkway itself was almost
deserted.

We would, however, caution against riding AL148/275 between Eberhart
Point and Canyon Mouth Park on a road bike. It is nothing but a series
of roughly filled in pot holes along with some incredibly steep climbs
(or descents depending on the direction of travel.) We drove it in the
truck and agree with the state's warning against attempting to drive
it with an RV in tow. An account of riding this stretch of "road" on a
mountain bike can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/cfjbc

We also rode our bike from the campground to DeSoto Falls (which was a
mere trickle due to the lack of rainfall) and then through Mentone on
AL117 towards the Alabama/Georgia state line before returning to camp.
There was some heavy truck traffic on AL117 and a few narrow bridges,
but other than that it was very enjoyable riding.

We then camped at Cloudland Canyon State Park in Georgia. The scenery
at this park is breath taking! We spent much more time in the park
than we had planned due to the scenery as well as a couple of days of
inclement weather.

We agree with your assessment that AL189 is less desirable to bike
than AL157 from a safety perspective as well as difficulty level. (We
are rather new to bike riding and are not up to riding AL189 at this
time. However, we would like to ride it next year when we are a little
more experienced.) We would also like to climb Burkhalter Gap Rd. as
it appears to be quite a challenge for newbies like us (especially on
a tandem!) We didn't have time to do so this trip, but hope to do so
in a future one.

At the urging of a local Chattanooga biker we rode the Tennessee River
Park. It was not our cup of tea, but is a good example of what can be
done with (apparently) ample amounts of money to create a MUP. (Brass
inlays in the concrete to denote half-mile points?) We then rode up
TN58 (Ochs Highway) from the parking lot of the Incline Railway to
Rock City and back down the mountain. Beautiful scenery! It was
unfortunately too late in the day to explore the top of this part of
Lookout Mountain on our bike, although we did explore it on foot and
with the truck the previous day.

There appears to be many biking opportunities in this part of Lookout
Mountain. We belatedly found excellent biking suggestions for this
area at Chattanooga Bicycle Club's web site: http://www.chattbike.com/

We didn't have enough time to really explore the Lookout Mountain
Parkway on our tandem, but got a good sample of it and look forward to
returning for an extended visit, maybe in the spring.

Thank you for your helpful suggestions,
Harry & Mary,
Riding on TWOgether
 




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