Friday, May 11, 2012

Incline Railway!

Explore Lookout Mountain & St. Elmo

Follow the signs to the Rock City side of Lookout Mountain and locate and park in the Incline lower station in historic St. Elmo. Ask our friendly staff about saving money with a combo ticket to several of the Lookout Mountain Attractions. Browse through the unique gift shops at the Incline lower station and enjoy seasonal music before you board on your journey up the world’s steepest Incline Railway.

At the top station on Lookout Mountain, enjoy the gorgeous vista views of the Chattanooga Valley. After you have taken you share of memory making photos, take the short walk into history just a few blocks away as you explore with your family the famed “Battle Above The Clouds”, fought in Chattanooga during the Civil War. Don’t miss the Battles for Chattanooga Electric Map & Museum and the National Park’s Visitor Center. While in the National Park’s Visitor Center make sure to get a map of Point Park and its trail system to enjoy the full experience of this part of the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park.

On your way back down Lookout Mountain make sure to look through the panorama windows on the Incline as you descend into beautiful St. Elmo. As you disembark the cars don’t miss the unique St. Elmo shops & galleries featuring local artisans, great local Mexican cuisine and other outdoor dining options. You can even take home a home made candle to enjoy! There are always many events going on at Lookout Mountain during the entire year, as well as in Chattanooga that will make your vacation even more memorable.

History of The Incline Railway

The Incline’s home, Lookout Mountain, played a pivotal role in the American Civil War. Union forces under the command of William Rosecrans suffered one of their greatest defeats by Confederate General Braxton Bragg’s men in the shadow of Lookout Mountain, at Chickamauga. The loss was so great in fact that then Major General Ulysses S. Grant was called in to take over the Union troops while Bragg’s Confederate army kept an eye on their besieged opponents hiding out in Chattanooga from the top of Lookout Mountain.

Grant tapped Union Generals William Sherman and Joseph Hooker to break up the Rebel siege of Chattanooga. The resulting three-day conflict that took place on the face of Lookout from the foothills to just below the top of the mountain would later be known as the "Battle Above the Clouds."

Following the Civil War, more and more tourists flocked to the sites of these famous battles. However, the two-dollar, four-hour buggy ride up Lookout Mountain to attractions such as Whiteside Park, the Natural Bridge and Lula Lake prevented many from enjoying the mountain’s natural beauty and rich history.

During the railroad boom of the 1880's, a luxury hotel resort was developed on the mountaintop that was serviced by a simple narrow gauge railway. However, in November of 1895, a new, broader gauge passenger railway simply known as "The Incline" opened to easily whisk residents and visitors up and down the steepest part of Lookout Mountain.

Built by John Crass and the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway Company, The Incline is a technical marvel that at its extreme reaches an incline of 72.7%, making it one of the steepest passenger railways in the world. The original coal-burning steam engines were replaced by two 100-horsepower motors in 1911, but other than that the railway hasn’t changed very much in its more than 100 years of operation.

Today, The Incline still attracts people from around the world and has carried literally millions of residents and tourists up and down historic Lookout Mountain. Hop aboard and enjoy a ride on “America’s Most Amazing Mile” today!

All information courtesy of


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