(From Saturday, January 25, 2014)
A friend invited me to check out the property of the Lula Lake Land Trust on Lookout Mountain, a place I have been a few times before but always willing to return. The property is normally closed to outside visitors except a few days a year referred to as "open gate days." The land contains a variety of hiking trails that run over the gently hilly terrain on top of the mountain, rocky cliffs with overlooks, and the gorge of Rock Creek. The main features of the hike are Lula Lake itself, which is really just a rocky plunge pool at the bottom of a cascade, and a high waterfall that drops Rock Creek into a short gorge where it plunges down steeply to Chattanooga Creek far below.
|The main falls of Rock Creek were iced up from the unusually cold weather we've experienced in the Southeast this winter.|
|I've never seen this much ice at Lula Lake and rarely have I seen this much ice in the Southeast at all. It was a pretty amazing scene although the footpath down to the base of the falls was extremely treacherous with ice.|
|A glimpse of the strange blue waters of Lula Lake as you hike upstream.|
|The cascade that drops into Lula Lake. Beautiful!|
|Photo op at the lip of the cascade with a view down into Lula Lake. As you can see from this angle, it's not really much of a lake, just a small pond.|
For my whitewater friends, Rock Creek has been run, although generally speaking the property is closed to paddling, and the less said about that the better. I will never run this class V+ creek, but it has great scenery for a hike.
Here is the Strava track. We went out of our way to hike extra but the waterfalls can be reached with a 5 minute walk from the parking area if that is your priority and you proceed clockwise.