Exploring Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

Exploring Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

In 1863, Union and Confederate troops clashed on a battlefield at Cravens House on the northern slope of Lookout Mountain. The encounter would turn into often called the “Battle Above the Clouds.” The web site of the battle is preserved by the National Park Service, however it’s just one small portion to discover of the ten,000-acre Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.

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

But generally, you’ll need to go for a bit stroll. Sunset Rock is among the most spectacular sundown overlooks in Tennessee. And the view of the Tennessee River and downtown Chattanooga from the Ochs Memorial Museum is unmatched.

Learn what you are able to do with a go to to Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park – the nation’s first nationwide navy park.

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


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Brief History of Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

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

In 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed a legislation authorizing the nation’s first nationwide navy park. Predating the National Park Service by 26 years, the historic web site was administered by a park fee beneath the War Department. In 1933, President Dwight D. Eisenhower transferred Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park management to the National Park Service.

Did You Know? Gettysburg, the nation’s hottest nationwide navy park, wasn’t established till 1895. However, the primary efforts to protect the historic web site started with the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association in 1864, only one 12 months after the pivotal battle.

A beautiful autumn sundown from Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain.

Top 10 Things to Do at Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park

Spread throughout six places surrounding Chattanooga, Tennessee and Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park is an enormous place to discover. It’s straightforward to overlook one thing and generally tough to get the place you need.

Here are the issues to do and locations to go in the event you’re quick on time and need to be sure to get the perfect expertise:

  1. Visit the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center and discover the Fuller Gun Collection
  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 Signal Point
  5. Explore Orchard Knob
  6. Go for a stroll via Point Park on Lookout Mountain
  7. Visit Sunset Rock on Lookout Mountain
  8. Visit the Cravens House 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 National Archeological District

Pro Travel Tip How lengthy will it take to discover Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park? Plan to spend 3-4 hours every on the Chickamauga Battlefield and Lookout Mountain Battlefield. It will take about 2 hours to discover Missionary Ridge. If you need to see and do every part, plan to spend two days.

Chickamauga Battlefield

In mid-1863, the Union Army of the Cumberland, beneath the command of General William Rosecrans, moved south from center Tennessee to seize Chattanooga. Rosecrans encountered the Confederate Army of Tennessee beneath the command of General Braxton Bragg close to LaFayette, Georgia, about ten miles southeast of Chattanooga.

On September 18, 1863, the Confederate 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 Army of Northern Virginia, beneath the command of General James Longstreet, strengthened the Confederate 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 Confederate military was victorious, they usually shortly marched towards Chattanooga to encompass the remaining Union troops.

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

Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center

Begin exploring the nationwide navy park with a go to to the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center. It’s conveniently situated on Lafayette Road, simply past the commercialization of Fort Oglethorpe on the boundary the place the park’s nature begins.

The unique customer middle is a colonial-style home dealing with the highway. Connecting to the rear of the home, a contemporary customer middle with a glass atrium guides guests immediately. Inside, a round desk is often manned by just a few folks keen that will help you uncover the nationwide navy park.

Start with the 26-minute orientation movie, The Campaign for Chattanooga. Then, browse the displays contained in the museum that interprets the Battle of Chickamauga. Finally, cease on the reward store for clothes, collectibles, and books.

Fuller Gun Collection

When Claud Fuller was a toddler, 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.

Throughout his engineering profession, Fuller collected each kind of firearm he might discover. Revolutionary War-era muskets, Smith & Wesson “wild west” pistols, and trendy firearms of the occasions. Even his spouse, Zenada, would brose the public sale websites on the lookout for 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 folks per 12 months would go to their dwelling to admire the gathering.

In 1949, the Fullers approached Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military 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 every bit of the gathering, the Fuller Gun Collection opened to the general public.

The firearms are displayed behind strong panes of glass and lit on all sides by hidden lighting. The assortment wraps round three sides of quick hallways with almost a dozen all through the museum. The firearms are displayed chronologically, creating an enchanting stroll via the historical past of weapons.

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

Chickamauga Battlefield Auto Touring Route

The finest approach to discover this historical past is to drive alongside the Chickamauga Battlefield Auto Touring Route. From the customer middle, 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 method because the troopers did throughout the battle. Parking areas are plentiful, however you may take pleasure in a terrific view from the consolation of the automobile.

READ MORE: Exploring the Civil War Battlefield on the Auto Tour Route at Gettysburg National Military Park

Wilder Brigade Monument

Almost 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.

Hiking Trails

If you favor to stretch your legs, 5 mountaineering trails discover the Chickamauga Battlefield. All trails are straightforward to hike with little elevation change and loads of shading from timber. The 5-mile General Bragg Trail is the shortest within the nationwide navy park and begins on the customer middle. The 11-mile Historical Trail is the longest, looping all through all the Chickamauga Battlefield.

Signal Point

When the Union Army of the Cumberland retreated into Chattanooga, they misplaced the excessive floor. Confederate troops took place on Missionary Ridge to the east and Lookout Mountain to the south, every with vital vantage factors overlooking town. The solely excessive floor the Union troops secured was Signal Point.

The Tennessee River cuts via the Cumberland Plateau in Chattanooga. On the north facet of the river is Signal Mountain, and on the south facet is Racoon Mountain – the situation of town’s reservoir.

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

A stroll alongside a paved path and throughout just a few stairs leads from the car parking zone to a shocking overlook excessive above the Tennessee River. The public park is open throughout sunlight hours.

Orchard Knob

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

On November 23, 1863, Thomas ordered General Thomas Wood to maneuver east with 14,000 troops and safe Orchard Hill – a muddy elevated level midway between Chattanooga and Missionary Ridge. Only 634 Confederate troopers had been stationed on the ridge.

The battle lasted lower than two hours earlier than the Confederates retreated to the bottom of Missionary Ridge. Wood 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 Street and East 4th Street surrounding Orchard Knob. The reservation is open throughout sunlight hours – search for small cast-iron gates on the park’s corners for entry.

One of essentially the most spectacular scenic overlooks in Tennessee. A canon emplacement overlooks downtown Chattanooga.

Lookout Mountain Battlefield

After their victory on the Battle of Chickamauga, Confederate General Bragg’s Army of Tennessee marched towards Chattanooga and besieged town. Union Major General William Rosecrans’ Army of the Cumberland was surrounded and lower off.

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

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

On November 24, 1863, Grant ordered Major General Joseph Hooker to assault the Confederate forces on Lookout Mountain. The battle grew to become often called 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.

Pro Travel Tip Parking is restricted on Lookout Mountain, significantly on the north finish close to Point Park. The finest approach to go to Point Park and the customer middle is to trip on the historic Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. Built in 1895, the usual gauge railroad has a 72.7% most incline, making it one of many steepest railroads on the planet. The backside station at St. Elmo has a big car parking zone with a price of only a few {dollars}. From the highest station, it’s a quarter-mile stroll with sidewalks to Point Park.

Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center

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 middle.

The Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center is a good place for details about the historic web site. The customer middle has a small museum with displays in regards to the Battle for Chattanooga, together with the battles on Lookout Mountain. Browse the reward store for clothes, collectibles, and a big e-book assortment.

The museum can also be dwelling 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 Exciting Things 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.

Point Park

The 10-acre Point Park preserves the northernmost tip of Lookout Mountain and among the finest scenic overlooks within the state. A paved path winds via the park previous static shows, overlooks, and across the New York Peace Memorial.

During the siege of Chattanooga, Confederate troops arrange canon emplacements overlooking town. Today, the canons stay and supply a panoramic view of downtown Chattanooga.

Admission to Point Park is $10 per individual, and the price is nice for seven consecutive days.

Ochs Museum

At the northernmost level of Point Park is an attention-grabbing stone construction constructed throughout the Great Depression within the Nineteen Thirties. Ochs Museum encompasses a small exhibit in regards to the Battle for Chattanooga and the Moccasin Bend National Archaeological District.

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

Cravens House

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

The Confederate military used the Cravens home as a headquarters for his or her place on Lookout Mountain. When Major General Joseph Hooker attacked their place on November 24, a lot of the combating passed off on the property. After the battle, the Union military used the home for his or her headquarters.

After the Civil War, Robert Cravens returned to the destroyed home and rebuilt it. Completed in 1866, the home and property are actually preserved by the National Park Service. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the property, go to the memorials and monuments, and be taught in regards to the battle.

Hiking Trails

Dozens of mountaineering trails wrap across the slopes of Lookout Mountain. Most of the paths are open for foot visitors solely, however there are just a few for mountain biking and one path for horseback using.

Sunset Rock

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

The small car parking zone on the trailhead has room for lower than a dozen autos, and streetside parking is prohibited on the slim highway. The car parking zone is often full all through the day. The finest approach 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 Army of the Cumberland retreated into Chattanooga. The Confederate Army of Tennessee shortly moved into place to besiege town. Troops had been unfold alongside Missionary Ridge east of town with a wonderful viewpoint of Union actions.

On November 25, 1863, over 50,000 Union troops assaulted the Confederate positions on the ridge. It was a powerful defeat for the southern military that one unnamed soldier known as “The death knell of the Confederacy.”

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

Pro Travel Tip Most of the reservations on Missionary Ridge have parking. However, parking or stopping on the road is prohibited if parking is unavailable.

Moccasin Bend National Archeological District

The Moccasin Bend National Archeological District is among the most original properties within the National 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 Period.

During the Battles for Chattanooga, the realm performed a major position within the Union’s victory. With Chattanooga besieged by the Confederate Army of Tennessee, the Union troops had been lower off from provide traces and reinforcements. After almost a month, the Union troops had been lastly capable of obtain reinforcements via Brown’s Ferry throughout the Tennessee River onto the Moccasin Bend. Called “The Cracker Line,” the provision line was instrumental only a month later when the Union defeated all Confederate forces.

The Gateway Site is the most important public space to discover at Moccasin Bend. The grassy discipline is straight throughout the river from downtown Chattanooga.

Brown’s Ferry Federal Road Trace 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 had been pressured to stroll the Trail 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 Trail. The two-mile loop path is a peaceable stroll via nature in a dense forest and throughout swampy bogs.

Pro Travel Tip Do not drive to the tip of Moccasin Bend Road. If you strive, you will see your self stopped at a guard shack outdoors the safe entrance to the Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute, the place you may be promptly directed to show round. And, sure, I’m talking from private expertise.

Where to Stay

Chattanooga is a large space for lodging. Where you need to keep fully depends upon the place you need to discover and the way a lot congested visitors you’re prepared to drive via. I counsel staying in downtown Chattanooga – it’s in the midst of the assorted locations to discover on the nationwide navy park.


The brick-clad Red 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 encompasses a shockingly good indoor swimming pool, free on-site parking, and it’s subsequent to a Waffle House. It’s additionally in a wonderful location for driving to Lookout Mountain and Signal Point. Choose from rooms with two full beds or one king mattress.

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

La Quinta can also be inconveniently situated, however it’s the finest finances resort in Chattanooga. The resort options free on-site parking and an excellent indoor swimming pool. Considering rush hour visitors and common congestion, it takes about 20-Half-hour to get to the Chickamauga Battlefield and 40 minutes to Lookout Mountain. Choose from rooms with two queen beds, one king mattress, or improve to a collection that additionally encompasses a sleeper couch.


District 3 Hotel is centrally situated downtown – it virtually has its personal interstate on and off ramps. The resort is barely 10-Quarter-hour from the Chickamauga Battlefield and Lookout Mountain. The resort options free on-site parking and an outside swimming pool. Choose 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 wonderful, reasonably priced resort near the Chickamauga Battlefield and Missionary Ridge. The resort options free on-site parking and an outside swimming pool. Choose from rooms with two queen beds, one king mattress, or a collection with one king mattress and a sleeper couch.


Located throughout the road from the La Quinta, the Hampton Inn is a major improve for a snug keep in Chattanooga. The resort options free on-site parking, an outside swimming pool, and the perfect complimentary scorching breakfast of any resort chain. Choose 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 head of snug lodging in Chattanooga. The spectacular property options an outside swimming pool, spacious foyer, and a lounge with among the finest views within the metropolis. On-site parking is on the market for an extra $17 per day. Choose 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 finest resort in Chattanooga. The resort is situated within the historic MacArthur Building and options on-site eating places, bars, leisure, and comfy visitor rooms. On-site parking is on the market for an extra $7 per day. Choose from rooms with two queen beds or one king mattress.


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