Exploring Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nationwide Army Park

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In 1863, Union and Accomplice troops clashed on a battlefield at Cravens Home on the northern slope of Lookout Mountain. The encounter would develop into referred to as the “Battle Above the Clouds.” The positioning of the battle is preserved by the Nationwide Park Service, but it surely’s just one small portion to discover of the ten,000-acre Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nationwide Army Park.

Unfold throughout six areas all through Chattanooga and Fort Oglethorpe, the nationwide army park is an intriguing stroll by way of Civil Warfare historical past in a pure setting surrounded by wildlife and towering timber. It’s simple to discover the park with auto touring routes and loads of parking.

However generally, you’ll wish to go for a bit of stroll. Sundown Rock is likely one of the most spectacular sundown overlooks in Tennessee. And the view of the Tennessee River and downtown Chattanooga from the Ochs Memorial Museum is unmatched.

Study what you are able to do with a go to to Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nationwide Army Park – the nation’s first nationwide army park.

3370 LaFayette Highway, Fort Oglethorpe, GA | 706-866-9241 | www.nps.gov/chch/index.htm


The NPS App is the official app of the Nationwide Park Service. The app takes all the knowledge accessible on-line – park info, interactive maps, movies, journey alerts, and issues to do – and places it at your fingertips on a smartphone.

Obtain the free app for iOS or Android.

Temporary Historical past of Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nationwide Army Park

In 1889, twenty-six years after the Battle of Chickamauga, ten thousand Union and Accomplice veterans returned to the battlefield in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. In the course of the “Blue and Grey BBQ” occasion, the thought was shaped to protect the battlefield for future generations to discover.

In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed a legislation authorizing the nation’s first nationwide army park. Predating the Nationwide Park Service by 26 years, the historic website was administered by a park fee underneath the Warfare Division. In 1933, President Dwight D. Eisenhower transferred Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nationwide Army Park management to the Nationwide Park Service.

Did You Know? Gettysburg, the nation’s hottest nationwide army park, wasn’t established till 1895. Nevertheless, the primary efforts to protect the historic website started with the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Affiliation in 1864, only one yr after the pivotal battle.

A stunning autumn sundown from Sundown Rock on Lookout Mountain.

Prime 10 Issues to Do at Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nationwide Army Park

Unfold throughout six places surrounding Chattanooga, Tennessee and Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, the Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nationwide Army Park is a giant place to discover. It’s simple to overlook one thing and generally tough to get the place you need.

Listed below are the issues to do and locations to go if you happen to’re brief on time and wish to ensure you get the very best expertise:

  1. Go to the Chickamauga Battlefield Customer Heart and discover the Fuller Gun Assortment
  2. Drive the 7-mile Chickamauga Battlefield Auto Touring Route
  3. Climb the steps contained in the 85-foot-tall Wilder Brigade Monument
  4. Go for a drive to Sign Level
  5. Discover Orchard Knob
  6. Go for a stroll by way of Level Park on Lookout Mountain
  7. Go to Sundown Rock on Lookout Mountain
  8. Go to the Cravens Home on the northern slope of Lookout Mountain
  9. Drive the 7.4-mile Missionary Ridge Auto Touring Route
  10. Go for a Hike at Moccasin Bend Nationwide Archeological District

Professional Journey Tip How lengthy will it take to discover Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nationwide Army Park? Plan to spend 3-4 hours every on the Chickamauga Battlefield and Lookout Mountain Battlefield. It’s going to take about 2 hours to discover Missionary Ridge. If you wish to see and do every thing, plan to spend two days.

Chickamauga Battlefield

In mid-1863, the Union Military of the Cumberland, underneath the command of Common William Rosecrans, moved south from center Tennessee to seize Chattanooga. Rosecrans encountered the Accomplice Military of Tennessee underneath the command of Common Braxton Bragg close to LaFayette, Georgia, about ten miles southeast of Chattanooga.

On September 18, 1863, the Accomplice military tried to cross a number of small bridges and creeks however confronted opposition from Union cavalry. What began out as a number of minor skirmishes advanced right into a full-scale battle. The Military of Northern Virginia, underneath the command of Common James Longstreet, strengthened the Accomplice military because the battle ebbed and flowed throughout the hills.

On the night of September 20, 1863, the Union military withdrew from the Chickamauga Battlefield towards Chattanooga. The military suffered 35,000 killed, wounded, lacking, or captured troopers. The Accomplice military was victorious, they usually rapidly marched towards Chattanooga to encompass the remaining Union troops.

READ MORE: 10 Issues to Do on the North Shore of Chattanooga

Chickamauga Battlefield Customer Heart

Start exploring the nationwide army park with a go to to the Chickamauga Battlefield Customer Heart. It’s conveniently situated on Lafayette Highway, simply past the commercialization of Fort Oglethorpe on the boundary the place the park’s nature begins.

The unique customer heart is a colonial-style home going through the highway. Connecting to the rear of the home, a contemporary customer heart with a glass atrium guides guests at this time. Inside, a round desk is usually manned by a couple of individuals keen that will help you uncover the nationwide army park.

Begin with the 26-minute orientation movie, The Marketing campaign for Chattanooga. Then, browse the reveals contained in the museum that interprets the Battle of Chickamauga. Lastly, cease on the reward store for clothes, collectibles, and books.

Fuller Gun Assortment

When Claud Fuller was a baby, he purchased a small pistol at a ironmongery store in Kansas. He grew to become fascinated with the mechanics of the firearm – and that grew right into a lifelong obsession.

All through his engineering profession, Fuller collected each kind of firearm he may discover. Revolutionary Warfare-era muskets, Smith & Wesson “wild west” pistols, and fashionable firearms of the occasions. Even his spouse, Zenada, would brose the public sale websites in search of new firearms for the gathering.

In 1933, the Fullers retired and purchased a 50-acre ranch close to Chattanooga. Their gun assortment grew to become a neighborhood attraction. 5,000 individuals per yr would go to their house to admire the gathering.

In 1949, the Fullers approached Chickamauga & Chattanooga Nationwide Army Park officers about donating a big portion of their assortment. A brand new wing to the museum was constructed, and Claud designed the show instances. After 5 years of meticulously putting each bit of the gathering, the Fuller Gun Assortment opened to the general public.

The firearms are displayed behind stable panes of glass and lit on all sides by hidden lighting. The gathering wraps round three sides of brief hallways with practically a dozen all through the museum. The firearms are displayed chronologically, creating an enchanting stroll by way of the historical past of weapons.

Reenactor Jonathon Shields speaks with the passengers at Wilder Tower. Park rangers continuously roam by way of the battlefield close to the auto touring route.

Chickamauga Battlefield Auto Touring Route

One of the best ways to discover this historical past is to drive alongside the Chickamauga Battlefield Auto Touring Route. From the customer heart, the 7-mile route winds alongside the hills on two-lane roads and occasional one-way detours. Canons, monuments, and memorials spring out of pockets within the forest a lot the identical manner because the troopers did throughout the battle. Parking areas are plentiful, however you may take pleasure in an ideal view from the consolation of the automobile.

READ MORE: Exploring the Civil Warfare Battlefield on the Auto Tour Route at Gettysburg Nationwide Army Park

Wilder Brigade Monument

Virtually hidden away in a small nook of the Chickamauga Battlefield, the Wilder Brigade Monument is an 85-foot-tall stone tower open for guests to climb seasonally. From the highest, friends are handled to a spectacular view of the battlefield above the treetops.

Mountaineering Trails

For those who desire to stretch your legs, 5 climbing trails discover the Chickamauga Battlefield. All trails are simple to hike with little elevation change and loads of shading from timber. The 5-mile Common Bragg Path is the shortest within the nationwide army park and begins on the customer heart. The 11-mile Historic Path is the longest, looping all through the complete Chickamauga Battlefield.

Sign Level

When the Union Military of the Cumberland retreated into Chattanooga, they misplaced the excessive floor. Accomplice troops took place on Missionary Ridge to the east and Lookout Mountain to the south, every with important vantage factors overlooking the town. The one excessive floor the Union troops secured was Sign Level.

The Tennessee River cuts by way of the Cumberland Plateau in Chattanooga. On the north facet of the river is Sign Mountain, and on the south facet is Racoon Mountain – the placement of the town’s reservoir.

When Union troops secured Sign Level on the south fringe of the mountain, they created a fancy system of alerts to speak with the besieged metropolis under. The communications have been then relayed to Birmingham, Alabama.

A stroll alongside a paved path and throughout a couple of stairs leads from the parking zone to a shocking overlook excessive above the Tennessee River. The general public park is open throughout daylight.

Orchard Knob

Chattanooga was besieged. The Union Military of the Cumberland was trapped. However not all hope was misplaced. After receiving reinforcements – 20,000 Union troops landed at Brown’s Ferry in late October – Common George Thomas was prepared to interrupt the siege.

On November 23, 1863, Thomas ordered Common Thomas Wooden to maneuver east with 14,000 troops and safe Orchard Hill – a muddy elevated level midway between Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge. Solely 634 Accomplice troopers have been stationed on the ridge.

The battle lasted lower than two hours earlier than the Confederates retreated to the bottom of Missionary Ridge. Wooden rode his horse to the hill’s summit and signaled his victory. It foreshadowed the approaching Battle of Missionary Ridge within the subsequent two days.

Two-hour streetside parking is permitted on Ivy Road and East 4th Road surrounding Orchard Knob. The reservation is open throughout daylight – search for small cast-iron gates on the park’s corners for entry.

Some of the spectacular scenic overlooks in Tennessee. A canon emplacement overlooks downtown Chattanooga.

Lookout Mountain Battlefield

After their victory on the Battle of Chickamauga, Accomplice Common Bragg’s Military of Tennessee marched towards Chattanooga and besieged the town. Union Main Common William Rosecrans’ Military of the Cumberland was surrounded and lower off.

Bragg despatched forces to Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain, each wonderful viewpoints of the town. Lookout Mountain’s 380-foot prominence supplied a spectacular view of the town, Tennessee River, and Union provide strains from the west. For 2 months, artillery on Lookout Mountain shelled the town and provide strains.

In late October, the Union military in Chattanooga was strengthened with 20,000 troops touring on the Tennessee River. However it will take one other month for Common Grant to lastly be able to push again in opposition to Bragg’s siege.

On November 24, 1863, Grant ordered Main Common Joseph Hooker to assault the Accomplice forces on Lookout Mountain. The battle grew to become referred to as the “Battle Above the Clouds” and was a simple victory for the Union troops. With Lookout Mountain safe, it was time to maneuver towards Missionary Ridge.

Professional Journey Tip Parking is restricted on Lookout Mountain, significantly on the north finish close to Level Park. One of the best ways to go to Level Park and the customer heart is to trip on the historic Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. Inbuilt 1895, the usual gauge railroad has a 72.7% most incline, making it one of many steepest railroads on the earth. The underside station at St. Elmo has a big parking zone with a charge of only a few {dollars}. From the highest station, it’s a quarter-mile stroll with sidewalks to Level Park.

Lookout Mountain Battlefield Customer Heart

The one-story customer on the nook of intersecting streets is an attention-grabbing constructing – it was initially a retail store. The steeply sloped roof and huge multi-pane home windows are a singular search for a nationwide park unit customer heart.

The Lookout Mountain Battlefield Customer Heart is a good place for details about the historic website. The customer heart has a small museum with reveals concerning the Battle for Chattanooga, together with the battles on Lookout Mountain. Browse the reward store for clothes, collectibles, and a big ebook assortment.

The museum can also be house to the unique portray, The Battle Above the Clouds. Artist James Walker created the portray shortly after witnessing the pivotal 1863 battle on Lookout Mountain.

READ MORE: 5 Thrilling Issues to Do on Lookout Mountain in Tennessee & Georgia

A scenic overlook in entrance of the Ochs Museum supplies a shocking view of the Tennessee River wrapping round Moccasin Bend.

Level Park

The ten-acre Level Park preserves the northernmost tip of Lookout Mountain and among the greatest scenic overlooks within the state. A paved path winds by way of the park previous static shows, overlooks, and across the New York Peace Memorial.

In the course of the siege of Chattanooga, Accomplice troops arrange canon emplacements overlooking the town. Right this moment, the canons stay and provide a wide ranging view of downtown Chattanooga.

Admission to Level Park is $10 per particular person, and the charge is sweet for seven consecutive days.

Ochs Museum

On the northernmost level of Level Park is an attention-grabbing stone construction constructed throughout the Nice Melancholy within the Nineteen Thirties. Ochs Museum contains a small exhibit concerning the Battle for Chattanooga and the Moccasin Bend Nationwide Archaeological District.

However outdoors the museum, guests are handled to maybe the second-best view from Level Park. The overlook faces north with a view of the bend within the Tennessee River and downtown Chattanooga. It’s one in every of my favourite scenic overlooks in Tennessee.

Cravens Home

Earlier than the Civil Warfare, Robert Cravens constructed one of many first homes on Lookout Mountain. When the Warfare Between the States began, his son Jesse enlisted with the Accomplice military and left house. When the Civil Warfare got here to their doorstep in 1863, the Cravens fled their home for an additional property in Georgia.

The Accomplice military used the Cravens home as a headquarters for his or her place on Lookout Mountain. When Main Common Joseph Hooker attacked their place on November 24, a lot of the combating befell on the property. After the battle, the Union military used the home for his or her headquarters.

After the Civil Warfare, Robert Cravens returned to the destroyed home and rebuilt it. Accomplished in 1866, the home and property are actually preserved by the Nationwide Park Service. Guests can take a self-guided tour of the property, go to the memorials and monuments, and be taught concerning the battle.

Mountaineering Trails

Dozens of climbing trails wrap across the slopes of Lookout Mountain. Many of the trails are open for foot visitors solely, however there are a couple of for mountain biking and one path for horseback driving.

Sundown Rock

Clinging to the western slopes of Lookout Mountain, Sundown Rock is a well-liked and spectacular scenic overlook. It’s additionally a well-liked spot for rock climbers.

The small parking zone on the trailhead has room for lower than a dozen automobiles, and streetside parking is prohibited on the slim highway. The parking zone is usually full all through the day. One of the best ways to benefit from the view is to hike alongside the numerous connecting trails round Lookout Mountain.

Missionary Ridge

After their defeat on the Battle of Chickamauga, the Union Military of the Cumberland retreated into Chattanooga. The Accomplice Military of Tennessee rapidly moved into place to besiege the town. Troops have been unfold alongside Missionary Ridge east of the town with a wonderful viewpoint of Union actions.

On November 25, 1863, over 50,000 Union troops assaulted the Accomplice positions on the ridge. It was a convincing defeat for the southern military that one unnamed soldier referred to as “The demise knell of the Confederacy.”

Most of Missionary Ridge is non-public residential property. Nevertheless, the nationwide army park preserves eight “reservations,” or small parks, the place the Battle of Missionary Ridge is interpreted. A 7.4-mile drive alongside West Crest Highway and East Crest Highway connects the reservations, monuments, and memorials.

Professional Journey Tip Many of the reservations on Missionary Ridge have parking. Nevertheless, parking or stopping on the road is prohibited if parking is unavailable.

Moccasin Bend Nationwide Archeological District

The Moccasin Bend Nationwide Archeological District is likely one of the most original properties within the Nationwide Park System – although there’s little to discover. The district is unfold throughout Moccasin Bend, a peninsula created by the winding Tennessee River. Artifacts on the location hint 12,000 years of human habitation within the area, going way back to nomadic tribes within the Paleo-Indian Interval.

In the course of the Battles for Chattanooga, the realm performed a big position within the Union’s victory. With Chattanooga besieged by the Accomplice Military of Tennessee, the Union troops have been lower off from provide strains and reinforcements. After practically a month, the Union troops have been lastly in a position to obtain reinforcements by way of Brown’s Ferry throughout the Tennessee River onto the Moccasin Bend. Known as “The Cracker Line,” the provision line was instrumental only a month later when the Union defeated all Accomplice forces.

The Gateway Website is the most important public space to discover at Moccasin Bend. The grassy subject is immediately throughout the river from downtown Chattanooga.

Brown’s Ferry Federal Highway Hint is one other spot to go to at Moccasin Bend. The 1.2-mile out-and-back path follows the historic route the place Cherokee have been pressured to stroll the Path of Tears in 1838 and Union military provide wagons traversed in 1863.

A ultimate place to go to in Moccasin Bend is the Blue Blazes Path. The 2-mile loop path is a peaceable stroll by way of nature in a dense forest and throughout swampy bogs.

Professional Journey Tip Don’t drive to the tip of Moccasin Bend Highway. For those who attempt, you’ll discover your self stopped at a guard shack outdoors the safe entrance to the Moccasin Bend Psychological Well being Institute, the place you can be promptly directed to show round. And, sure, I’m talking from private expertise.

The place to Keep

Chattanooga is a massive space for lodging. The place you wish to keep totally relies on the place you wish to discover and the way a lot congested visitors you’re prepared to drive by way of. I counsel staying in downtown Chattanooga – it’s in the course of the varied locations to discover on the nationwide army park.

Price range

The brick-clad Pink Roof Inn gained’t win any design awards, however the renovated rooms are greater than comfortable for an evening or two within the metropolis. The motel contains a shockingly good indoor swimming pool, free on-site parking, and it’s subsequent to a Waffle Home. It’s additionally in a wonderful location for driving to Lookout Mountain and Sign Level. Select from rooms with two full beds or one king mattress.

Wingate by Wyndham is an effective budget-friendly choice, but it surely’s inconveniently situated about 20-Half-hour northwest of the Chickamauga Battlefield in a busy business space. The lodge options free on-site parking and comfy visitor rooms. Select from rooms with two queen beds or one king mattress.

La Quinta can also be inconveniently situated, but it surely’s the greatest price range lodge in Chattanooga. The lodge options free on-site parking and an excellent indoor swimming pool. Contemplating rush hour visitors and basic congestion, it takes about 20-Half-hour to get to the Chickamauga Battlefield and 40 minutes to Lookout Mountain. Select from rooms with two queen beds, one king mattress, or improve to a collection that additionally contains a sleeper couch.


District 3 Resort is centrally situated downtown – it virtually has its personal interstate on and off ramps. The lodge is just 10-Quarter-hour from the Chickamauga Battlefield and Lookout Mountain. The lodge options free on-site parking and an out of doors swimming pool. Select from rooms with two queen beds, one king mattress, or a collection with one king mattress and a sleeper couch.

La Quinta at East Ridge is a superb, reasonably priced lodge near the Chickamauga Battlefield and Missionary Ridge. The lodge options free on-site parking and an out of doors swimming pool. Select from rooms with two queen beds, one king mattress, or a collection with one king mattress and a sleeper couch.


Positioned throughout the road from the La Quinta, the Hampton Inn is a big improve for a cushty keep in Chattanooga. The lodge options free on-site parking, an out of doors swimming pool, and the very best complimentary sizzling breakfast of any lodge chain. Select from rooms with two queen beds, one king mattress, or a collection with a king mattress and a sleeper couch.

The Westin Chattanooga is the top of snug lodging in Chattanooga. The spectacular property options an out of doors swimming pool, spacious foyer, and a lounge with among the greatest views within the metropolis. On-site parking is obtainable for an extra $17 per day. Select from rooms with two queen beds or one king mattress, and for the next worth you may decide a room with a metropolis view.

The Chattanooga Choo Choo is the greatest lodge in Chattanooga. The lodge is situated within the historic MacArthur Constructing and options on-site eating places, bars, leisure, and comfy visitor rooms. On-site parking is obtainable for an extra $7 per day. Select from rooms with two queen beds or one king mattress.


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