Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park | GLEN FALLS TRAIL

Glen Falls Trail (click to enlarge)

Glen Falls Trail (click to enlarge)


See the Chattanooga Hiking Trails web page for a trail map of the entire park.


Distance: 1.2 miles round trip to falls and back from north entrance
Time: 1 hour (30 minutes hiking, plus 30 minutes at the falls)
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous, up and down hills

Of all the trails on the east side of Lookout Mountain in the Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the Glen Falls Trail is the only one worth hiking because it leads somewhere—to a waterfall. Keep in mind that the water only flows during wet times. I have seen other photos of the falls when the water is flowing full force and it is certainly a spectacle. Unfortunately, during my visit in November the water was nothing more than a trickle, but I still had fun and spent a half hour taking photos of cool rock formations.

With that said, there are a few things you need to know. Per the map, you can see that the trail starts and ends on Ochs Highway. You want to start at the trailhead closest to where the Shingle Trail comes out, and you only want to hike to the falls and then turn around. The falls is fairly close to the middle of the trail. The trailhead on the south side of the falls (left on the map) is treacherous and nearly overgrown. It is pretty obvious that nobody hikes to the falls from this end. The point of this hike is to see the falls, nothing more, so there is no compelling reason to hike the entire length of the trail.

Parking for the trailhead is at a small roadside pullout lot on Ochs Highway. If you are traveling up the mountain from Chattaonoga, you may have to find a place to turnaround because the parking is on the opposite side of the road. Once you pass Sanders Road, be on the lookout for it—it should be the first pullout parking you come to.

The Glen Falls Trail parking, Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

The Glen Falls Trail parking, Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Like nearly all trails in the park, there are no confusing side trails or intersections (at least to the falls and back). The hike is mainly downhill to the falls, with a slight upturn once you get to the falls. However, you are never hiking straight up or down the mountain.

Terrain of the Glen Falls Trail in the Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Terrain of the Glen Falls Trail in the Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Wonderful rock formations greet you as you approach Glen Falls, and the falls itself is a creation of cliffs and boulder fields.

Cliffs along the Glen Falls Trail in the Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Cliffs along the Glen Falls Trail in the Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

When you get to a foot bridge, turn around and the falls—I assume—is in the area before you. As mentioned, I was there in November and there was just a trickle of water, but that trickle came from the area marked off with a semicircle of rocks.

Foot bridge at Glen Falls, Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Foot bridge at Glen Falls, Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Glen Falls, dry in the fall, Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Glen Falls, dry in the fall, Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

But alas, you are far from done. Keep walking over the bridge to get to the cool stuff: a set of stone stairs that takes you through a “fat man’s squeeze” and to a path that leads above the falls, to the stream bed itself that, if flowing with water, would feed the springtime wonder.

Stone staircase to the "fat man's squeeze" on the Glen Falls Trail in the Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Stone staircase to the “fat man’s squeeze” on the Glen Falls Trail in the Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Fat Man's Squeeze on the Glen Falls Trail leads to the top of falls, Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Fat Man’s Squeeze on the Glen Falls Trail leads to the top of falls, Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Stream at the top of Glen Falls covered in fallen leaves, Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

Stream at the top of Glen Falls covered in fallen leaves, Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

View from the top of Glen Falls down to the pool below (dry in the fall), Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

View from the top of Glen Falls down to the pool below (dry in the fall), Chattanooga Unit of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

I spent half an hour exploring the area and taking photos and there wasn’t even a water fall, so I can only imagine the photo opportunities when the water is flowing. Once done with your visit, hike back the way you came. Don’t be a glutton for punishment and try to hike to the end. It’s doubtful you will even find the trail. If you do get to the end, DO NOT attempt to walk back to your car along the Ochs Highway because you will probably be killed. Cars zoom by and there is no shoulder to walk on. Return via the Glen Falls Trail.

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Last updated on August 8, 2023
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