Almost two years ago, for my dad’s birthday, my mom bought him a hang-gliding session. And finally, because the gift certificate expires after two years, my dad went up to Lookout Mountain to hang glide this weekend, and we decided to make a family weekend of it and stay in Cloudland Canyon.
It seems like I spent my childhood going camping and hiking every fall. And while summer and spring can be great outdoor seasons as well, fall, to me, is the absolute best. We could tell the leaves were starting to change and the air was cool enough that I needed to change into jeans and a jacket by late afternoon. We went hiking and built a fire at night. I spent hours reading in a rocking chair on our cottage’s screened in porch. (And my dad loved his hang gliding session.)
Where we stayed: We stayed in one of the state park’s cottages, which had easy access to hiking, a fire pit outside, and a lovely screened-in porch. The park also has yurts (which my parents want to stay in next time they go up there) and several camp sites.
Hiking: On the first day we hiked the West Rim Loop Trail. We had a path to it from our cottage, and while you can hike the lead-in to it for a total of about 5 miles, just the loop itself was a little over 3. And it is gorgeous, with stunning overlooks every few minutes.
On Sunday we hiked the waterfall trail, which is actually mostly stairs. The trail to Cherokee Falls is easier (and prettier), while the trail to Hemlock Falls didn’t quite seem worth it.
Also of note: If you’re in Cloudland Canyon and looking for something else to do, drive up to Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding and watch the hang gliders take off from the mountain. Amazing.
Eating: We brought most of our own food with us and cooked in our cottage, but we fully enjoyed our meal at Thatchers BBQ the night we got there. (Eat out on the porch if the weather will let you.)