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Explore Series: Discovering Sunset Rock via Craven’s House Trail
Sunset Rock Lookout Mountain


Looking for an adventure that combines rich history with breathtaking scenery? The Sunset Rock via Craven’s House Trail on Lookout Mountain is it!

Explore Series: Exploring Sunset Rock via Cravens House Trail

Looking for a hike that combines stunning views and rich history? The Sunset Rock via Craven’s House Trail on Lookout Mountain is perfect! Start at the historic Cravens House, built in 1854 by Robert Cravens. During the Civil War, the original house became strategically important, serving as Union General W. C. Whitaker’s headquarters after the Union captured Lookout Mountain in 1863. This trail covers historic ground from the Battle Above the Clouds, offering views of the Wauhatchie Battlefield.

Trail Description:

Begin your hike at the historic Cravens House, located midway up the mountain’s northern slope. From Cravens House, the recommended hike is a moderate 3-mile round trip. This trail is a moderately challenging route and takes approximately 1 h 24 min on average to complete. The Cravens Trail is mostly smooth, with occasional rocky and root-covered sections. The trail ascends over 300 feet in the first half-mile before connecting with the Bluff Trail. The Bluff Trail is often regarded as one of Chattanooga’s finest trails. Along this portion of the trail, you’ll encounter towering sandstone cliffs. The other side offers panoramic views of Lookout Valley, Raccoon Mountain, Elder Mountain, and Walden’s Ridge through the trees. Climbers scaling the sandstone towers to reach Sunset Rock are a common sight. You’ll traverse this trail for a mile, ascending the mountain’s western side, until you reach a junction with a spur trail, leading to Sunset Rock. This section of the trail is steep, featuring a bunch of rocky stairs, but the views from Sunset Rock are worth the climb.

Camp Demaray Lookout Mountain
Camp Demaray Ruins


This hike meanders through historic grounds where the Battle of Lookout Mountain took place in the fall of 1863. After their defeat at Chickamauga, Union forces triumphed here in what became known as the Battle Above the Clouds. From Sunset Rock, you can see the Wauhatchie Battlefield below.

An interesting historical site, accessible from the nearby Gum Trail and Rifle Pits Trail is Camp Demaray, where remnants of a Civil Conservation Corps complex from the 1930s still stand. During the Great Depression, young men, aged 18 – 25 from South Carolina and Tennessee constructed many of the park’s trails, leaving a lasting legacy. As you climb the large stone steps leading up to Sunset Rock, you really understand the manpower and strength it must have taken to shape these trails. There are plaques at the Camp Demaray sight which describe the now crumbling complex, which originally included living quarters, bathrooms/showers, a barber shop, a hospital, and even a library and tennis court. The men were paid $5 per month, with $25 sent directly to their respective families.

After Your Hike:

Consider rewarding yourself with a meal at Massey’s Kitchen on Lookout Mountain or nearby options like Little Coyote, 1885 Grill, or Amigos in St. Elmo. For a sweet treat, Clumpies Ice Cream is located at the foot of the Incline Railway in St. Elmo or for a refreshing drink or iced coffee, head over to Goodman’s Coffee on St. Elmo Avenue.

Directions to Cravens House:

From South Broad Street, follow Lee Highway up the right side of Lookout Mountain. Turn left on Scenic Highway and pass Ruby Falls. Make a sharp right turn on Linear Lane which turns into Shingle Road. Be careful and drive slowly because this is a tight road. Turn left on the driveway leading up to Cravens House.

Parking Options:

Free parking is available in front of Cravens House (note: the parking area closes at dusk) and on Cravens Terrace Road. There are also two alternate Sunset Rock Trail routes with parking. One requires an entrance fee of $10 per adult (children under 15 are free) at Point Park, but we have noticed that the Point Park Trail is sometimes overgrown during the summer months. The next alternate route to Sunset Rock is located at the Sunset Rock trailhead atop Lookout Mountain. The short trek down from Sunset Rock trailhead and parking area is pretty short, however, there are lots of large boulder steps leading down to the viewpoints, so just keep this in mind for those with more limited mobility.

Tip: There are no restrooms at Cravens House, so plan a stop at Ruby Falls or another location before your hike.


Explore Series: Chattanooga and the surrounding areas have earned their reputation as a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to their strategic position at the meeting point of the Cumberland Plateau and the southern Appalachians. Notably, Outside Magazine has recognized Chattanooga as the “Best Town Ever” twice, a testament to the diverse range of outdoor activities and attractions it offers.