Incline Railway – If You’re So Inclined

Incline Railway-2Chattanooga, Tennessee.

One of our favorite things to do at the Steiner Family Reunion is explore the area. It’s become practice to schedule our reunions for three days. This allows plenty of time for family visits and time to explore. Holding the reunion at family member’s locations around the country gives us all a chance to check out new and interesting places. Regular readers of my Travel Tuesday posts have followed us from Madison, Wisconsin to Nashville, Tennessee on our way to the reunion this year at Lynchburg, Tennessee. Our second reunion at this location, almost a decade ago we found ourselves in Hasty Hollow for the 2007 reunion.

Incline Railway-3

This year we headed to Chattanooga for some sightseeing on the first morning of the reunion. A small group of extended family met us there, including our son and daughter-in-law from North Carolina among others. We visited three attractions that day, two in Tennessee and one in Georgia. Our original draw to the area was Ruby Falls, but for a package deal, we could not only visit the falls, we could ride the Incline Railway and gain admission to Rock City. All of these attractions are features of Lookout Mountain, a mountain ridge that is located in the corners of Georgia and Alabama, along the southern border of Tennessee. Rising some 1530 feet (466 m) above the city of Chattanooga, the views are impressive. It is a perfect location for a military installation, but that story is for next week. Our goal this week is to view the city from the large glass windows of the Incline Railway.

Incline Railway-1The ride is short, and you can board from the bottom in the St. Elmo neighborhood of Chattanooga, or you can drive to the top and ride the railway down. We planned to go from bottom to top, but we stopped for directions and the friendly gentleman who gave us directions routed us to the top. No matter, our package deal included round trip tickets so we rode down first, then back up to the top.

We met our son and daughter-in-law at Ruby Falls, as well as a cousin and his family, first-time attendees to the Steiner Family Reunion. Leaving the falls in separate vehicles, my son found the Incline Railway at the station at St. Elmo. They rode the incline up to meet us at the top before we went down. My son, Josh, told us of some of the narration they heard on the ride, and I was looking forward to hearing it. As it turned out, we ended up riding the same car with the broken audio system back to the top so we never did hear the narrative.

Incline Railway-4The two cars are roomy and comfortable with plenty of glass to view the scenery. As it turned out, the car we rode down the incline had two problems, the narration system was broken so it was a silent ride. Also, for some reason, the windows on the right side of the car appeared to be fogged over, not from wet or dampness, as it was dry, not an issue with the windows on the other side. In the image above, you can see the windows on the left are very clear. On the right, not so much.

Once back at the top, we walked down the way to the Chickamauga Military Park. Whether or not you choose to ride the railway to the top of Lookout Mountain, I would recommend stopping at the park. The views of the city are fantastic and the history of the area is riveting. But that is a story for next week…

Truth is, of the things we did at Lookout Mountain, if I were to do it all again, I would probably skip the Incline Railway. As part of the package, it’s an OK deal, but the other places we visited were higher on my list of fun things to do.

John Steiner



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