Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

#7 in Best Things To Do in Chattanooga
Lookout Mountain Incline Railway picture
Courtesy of Lookout Mountain Incline Railway

Key Info

3917 St. Elmo Avenue


Recreation, Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
  • 3.5Value
  • 0.0Food Scene
  • 4.0Atmosphere

The most practical way to get to Lookout Mountain may be by car, but the most memorable experience is definitely the Incline Railway. Billed as "America's Most Amazing Mile," the railway transports passengers up the steepest part of the mountain on a nearly 73 percent grade track, making it one of the steepest passenger railways in the world. Below, visitors can explore the historic district of St. Elmo's, and up top visitors will be treated to views from the highest point of Lookout Mountain. Some of Lookout Mountain's biggest attractions are less than a mile north of the railway station, including Point Park, the site of the 1863 Civil War "'Battle Above the Clouds'" and the Battles for Chattanooga Museum.

Many recent visitors reported loving the views from within the rail car and atop the mountain. However, some complained of the high price for such a short ride, the lack of attractions and amenities at the top of the mountain, and long wait times — a few travelers reported waiting an hour for a one-way ride. And a select few visitors recommended skipping the attraction entirely during the summer months due to crowds and the rail car's lack of air conditioning.

The Lookout Mountain Incline Railway's St. Elmo Station is located about 3 miles south of downtown Chattanooga. The attraction is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and costs $15 for adults and $7 for children ages 3 to 12. Visitors can also purchase a combo ticket that includes Ruby Falls and Rock City for $48.90 for adults and $25.90 for children. There is a $2 fee for parking at the St. Elmo station, and the attraction can be reached via public bus. Take the No. 15 bus from Fourth and Market streets in downtown Chattanooga going toward St. Elmo and get off at the stop of the same name. The attraction will be right across the street. For more information, visit the Incline Railway's website

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#1 Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

Along with natural attractions and a notable role in history of the rail industry, Chattanooga is very well-known for being a Civil War battleground. The Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park is the oldest and largest of America's Civil War parks, encompassing land north and south of the Tennessee-Georgia border. During the Civil War, Chattanooga was considered to be an attractive area for its railroads and location, earning the title of the "Gateway of the Deep South." In 1843, battles broke out in various areas in Chickamauga and Chattanooga, with both the Union and Confederate troops experiencing victories and losses.

The park is headquartered at Chickamauga, Georgia, which is about 9 miles south of downtown Chattanooga. Visitors looking to stay in Tennessee are still within reach of many important war sites, including Orchard's Knob, the Chattanooga National Cemetery, Signal Point, Lookout Mountain and various areas along the Missionary Ridge. Those with a tight itinerary (and who already have plans to visit either Ruby Falls, Rock City or ride the Incline Railway), should visit Point Park, the site of the "Battle Above the Clouds" and the Battles for Chattanooga Museum at Lookout Mountain.

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David Brossard/Flickr
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