Discover Lula Lake Land Trust - Lookout Mountain's Hidden Gem

Girl in yellow jacket stands in front of waterfall at Lula Lake Land Trust, Lookout Mountain, Georgia

If you're an outdoor enthusiast or a nature lover, Lula Lake Land Trust on Lookout Mountain is a must-visit destination. Located just a few miles south of Chattanooga, TN, this beautiful reserve has something for everyone. From hiking and mountain biking to swimming and fishing, there are endless opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors here. But with so many things to see and do, it can be tough to know where to start. That's why we've put together this comprehensive guide to visiting Lula Lake Land Trust; to help you make the most of your time in this stunning part of the country.

Looking for something specific? Jump to a section using the links below.

Lula Lake Land Trust sign

What is Lula Lake Land Trust?

Lula Lake Land Trust is a conservation area on Lookout Mountain in Georgia that covers over 850 acres and houses breath-taking waterfalls, serene forests, and miles of trails. There are two main areas in the Land Trust: the Core Preserve and the Daily Trails.

The Core Preserve, which includes the eponymous Lula Lake and Lula Falls, is the heart of the property and is open to the public only on the first and last weekends of each month. Visitors must have a reservation to visit on open gate days.

On the other hand, the Daily Trails are open to visitors every day. These include the Cloudland Connector Trail and the Five Points Recreation Area, offering a variety of hiking and mountain biking opportunities. Both areas offer unique experiences and are well worth exploring.

How to get there

Getting to Lula Lake is fairly easy from Chattanooga or even from Atlanta and Nashville. The trust is located on the Georgia side of Lookout Mountain and is just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee and near other popular destinations including Cloudland Canyon State Park and the Lookout Mountain Flight Park (the largest hang gliding school in the world!).

Chattanooga, TN to Lula Lake: 10.7 miles | ~25 minutes | Google Maps

Atlanta, GA to Lula Lake: 123 miles | ~2hr 10 min | Google Maps

Nashville, TN to Lula Lake: 140 miles | ~2hr 29 min | Google Maps

Cloudland Canyon State Park to Lula Lake: 13.7 miles | ~17 min | Google Maps

Man hiking in woods at Lula Lake Land Trust in the winter with sun coming through the trees behind him

Reservations for Lula Lake

If you intend to visit the Core Preserve portion of Lula Lake Land Trust, you'll need to have a reservation to enter the park. This helps control visitor numbers and protect the natural beauty of the reserve. Reservations can be made online in advance, and they offer hourly entry slots for a modest fee. You must arrive at your designated entry time slot!


Lula Lake's Core Preserve is open only on select days every month. May - November open gate days are the first and last weekends of each month. December - April open gate days are the first and last Saturday of each month.

Falls at Lula Lake, Georgia

What to see and do at Lula Lake Land Trust

Lula Lake offers a variety of things for visitors to experience. Those who love nature will thoroughly enjoy their time at the land trust! There are few things in the way of amenities so plan to visit prepared with snacks, appropriate clothing and footwear, sunscreen, and whatever else you'll need for a day of fun outdoors.

See the waterfall

One of the highlights of Lula Lake is the stunning waterfall that shares its name. Access to the falls is somewhat restricted, and you'll need to take the namesake trail to get there. The hike is relatively easy, but keep in mind that the trail can be slippery in wet conditions, so make sure you wear sturdy footwear. When you reach the falls, you'll be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the two-tiered cascade. Swimming is not allowed due to safety concerns, but you'll feel refreshed just being in the cool mist of the waterfall.

Hiking at Lula Lake

Lula Lake Land Trust boasts an extensive network of hiking trails that meander through diverse ecosystems and scenic landscapes. Ranging from easy to difficult, there are trails to suit every fitness level. The most popular trail is the two-mile loop to Lula Lake Falls, featuring a boardwalk section and views of the lake before culminating in the majestic falls. The 5-mile Middle Creek Loop is a moderate trail that traverses through hardwood forests and offers breathtaking panoramas of the Georgia mountains. For challenging treks, the 9-mile Long Branch Loop is the perfect choice. This trail winds through steep mountainous terrain and offers a rewarding view at the Sunset Rock overlook. Remember to respect the nature around you as you hike - stay on the trails, carry out what you carry in, and observe wildlife from a distance to protect the natural beauty of this stunning land trust.

Girl in yellow jacket walking on trail at Lula Lake in the winter, Lookout Mountain

Mountain biking at Lula Lake

For those looking for adventure on two wheels, Lula Lake Land Trust offers thrilling mountain biking experiences. The reserve has a network of biking trails designed for both beginners and seasoned bikers. These trails, while rough and rugged, are expertly maintained and offer a variety of challenges to test your skills. Sweeping through the forest, they deliver breathtaking views of the Georgia landscape as you pedal your way across Lookout Mountain. Please note, bikers should adhere to the same respect for nature as hikers - stay on marked trails, don’t leave any trash behind, and be mindful of wildlife.

Core Preserve

Because the Core Preserve is only open every other weekend, hikers are given priority on the trails since anyone can hike and not everyone has a bike. There is one trail in the Core Preserve that is open to mountain bikers. The trail is simply named the Mountain Bike Loop and is 8.7 miles long. It's categorized as advanced because it is technical and gains 900+ feet of elevation over the route.

Daily Trails

The Daily Trail system is more cyclist friendly offering three wonderful trails: Moonshine Trails, Durham, Trails, and Cloudland Connector Trail.

Moonshine Trails

This system of trails is considered moderately technical and is open to the public everyday at no charge. Visitors should park at Rock Creek Fellowship (except during church services on Sunday and Wednesday). Do not park at the Moonshine Trail entrance!


Durham Mine Trails

The Durham Mine Trails are open to the public everyday from dawn to dusk. No reservation is required but there is a $5 fee per person. There are 15 miles of trails for all hiker, runner, and mountain biker skills levels. There is now backcountry camping available in the Durham Mine Trail system but reservations are required for camping.



Cloudland Connector Trail

This is the most technical trail in the Lula Lake Land Trust area. The trail is 26 miles long and connects the Moonshine Trail system to Cloudland Canyon State Park.

Important note: Because this trail goes through the Core Preserve section of the land trust, permits are required to for this trail. Permit days are the same as those of open gate day. The price is $5 per person for the permit but must be made in advance.



Educational opportunities at the land trust

Lula Lake Land Trust is also home to a variety of educational programs and environmental initiatives. There are summer camps for kids, workshops on topics such as beekeeping and plant identification, and volunteer opportunities to help maintain the park. You can learn about these programs and initiatives on the park's website or by calling ahead to find out about events that coincide with your visit.

Special events at Lula Lake

Lula Lake hosts a variety of events throughout the year including campouts, trail runs, and even wilderness first aid training. To learn more about the current event schedule you can visit the official calendar of the Lula Lake website.

Man walking on bridge at Lula Lake, Lookout Mountain, Georgia

Are dogs allowed at Lula Lake Land Trust?

Yes, dogs are indeed allowed at Lula Lake Land Trust. However, it's essential to remember that they must remain on a leash at all times. This rule is strictly enforced to ensure the safety of all visitors, the dogs themselves, and the wildlife that calls the Trust home. Please also be responsible and clean up after your pet to help maintain the beauty of the reserve.

View from east brow off Lookout Mountain at Lula Lake, Georgia

Final thoughts

Lula Lake Land Trust is a hidden gem on Lookout Mountain, offering visitors the chance to experience some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Georgia. From the stunning waterfall to the hiking trails to the educational programs and environmental initiatives, there's always something happening at Lula Lake. By following this comprehensive guide, you'll be able to make the most of your visit and create memories that will last a lifetime.

River at Lula Lake Land Trust

Like this article? Checkout our other travel guides for places near Lula Lake.

Discover Lula Lake Land Trust - Lookout Mountain's Hidden Gem

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