Lookout Mountain Incline Railway (Chattanooga, TN)

Just after I left Chattanooga Airport on Day 3 of my CMA Fest Trip, I went to the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. I originally planned to visit this place already in 2018, when I was in the city with Weird Al Yankovic, but I just did not manage to make it. Here is my view on one of the icons of Chattanooga TN.

Lookout Mountain Incline Railway – Location & Admission

The Incline is located on the Southern part of Chattanooga, very close to the border to Georgia already. There are restaurants and parking facilities near the valley station. Parking is 2 USD per day.

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There are numerous tickets including the Lookout Mountain Incline, combined with other attractions. Due to lack of time, I just went for the standard return ticket, which was 15 USD for adults. I also skipped any uphill attractions, like Points Park or the Battle of Chattanooga Museum. Trains leave roughly every twenty minutes.


Lookout Mountain Incline Railway – The Train Ride

The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway opened in 1895. The ride takes roughly 15 minutes. Thereby, the wording “railway” may be a bit misleading, as the wagons heading up and down Lookout Mountain are not working like trains, but are funicular railways. This means, they are attached to each other by a strong cable, which is driven by a motor on the upper station. Its maximum steepness, which is reached close to the upper station, is roughly 70 per cent.

This means that when you board the train on the lower station, you feel a bit like in a deckchair, as there is quite some recline. However, at the end of the uphill ride, you rather feel that you are falling out of the seat, which is now leaning forward due to the steepness.

Riding the funicular railway is fascinating due to two main reasons: the technology and the incredible view on Chattanooga and surroundings during and after the ride. You mostly pass forest on both side of the track, so you will typically look forward, enjoying the view. I had a very front seat on the uphill ride and sat quite on top on the way down. You board and unboard the train from the top.

Lookout Mountain Incline Railway – Scenic Views

It is just amazing to look from above down to the valley. You may see up to seven States from above. Here are some views, majorly down to Chattanooga.


Lookout Mountain Incline Railway – Services

The lower station offers tickets and a gift shop. There are restaurants and other services around, though.

The upper station has more services. Apart from the observation decks (for free), there is a gift shop, some stores offering refreshments and some small exhibits about the funicular railway. You may also visit the engine room (which I missed during my visit)


Lookout Mountain Incline Railway – My View

I loved riding the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. The views are massive and it is lovely to enjoy the old-fashioned, but still well-working technology. There is even some enjoyment watching some scared passengers, especially on the way down. It felt a bit sad that I did not have more time to visit other Chattanooga mountain attractions, but at least this one was a great memory of the Southeastern Tennessee city. If you are around and the weather is fine, there is no argument not to do it. Top Pick!


“Rides on Rail” Postings

Here is everything about trains, trams and other rail vehicles: in Chattanooga TN

Here are all postings dealing with the Southeastern Tennesse city:

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