Explore a Train Station, a Mountain, and a Cave in Chattanooga

In the early 20th century, Chattanooga, Tennessee was a booming train hub. Travelers boarded trains in northern cities such as Cincinnati and stopped in Chattanooga to switch trains or rest prior to heading to southern cities such as Atlanta. Chattanooga’s legacy as a train town is still on display with a train-themed hotel, and a nearly vertical funicular railway that grants a stunning panoramic view of mountains, a meandering river, and a valley that is blanketed with verdant trees.

The Choo-Choo Hotel sign in downtown Chattanooga

Photo by Flickr

No trip to Chattanooga is complete without a stop at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel. The Choo Choo Hotel—which is currently known as The Hotel Chalet at The Choo Choo—is a 1909 Beaux-Arts train station that was converted into a lovely hotel where visitors can spend the night in a Pullman train car, listen to live music next to a roaring firepit, and relax in a gorgeous tree-lined pool.


The grand highlight of The Hotel Chalet at The Choo Choo is a beautifully preserved turn-of-the-century train terminal that serves as a light-filled gathering space where guests can socialize, read, or sip on coffee, sparkling water, or a cocktail.

Chattanooga's Incline railway

Photo by Flickr

Chattanooga’s Incline Railway—with a gradient of nearly 73%—is one of the world’s steepest passenger railways. The Incline Railway has been hailed as ‘America’s most interesting mile.’ Travelers aboard the Incline Railway can gaze out of large glass windows as they chug towards Lookout Mountain, which offers a stunning panoramic view of Chattanooga, the Tennessee River, and mountains exploding with foliage. Lookout Mountain features a snack bar where you can order a delicious lunch while you enjoy a scenic view.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA view from Lookout Mountain at twilight.

Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA view from Lookout Mountain at twilight.
Photo by depositphotos.com

If you’re a nature lover, Raccoon Mountain Caverns offers visitors the opportunity to explore the interior of Chattanooga’s gorgeous mountains. You probably won’t spot a raccoon while touring Raccoon Mountain Caverns, but you may spot a salamander or a Crystal Caverns cave spider—which is only known to exist in Raccoon Mountain Caverns. The Raccoon Mountain Caverns cave system spans almost 6 miles. Visitors can take a Crystal Palace Walking Tour or opt for a Wild Cave Expedition Tour, which involves crawling and squeezing into tight spaces.

Chattanooga is a charming city with a rich history that is surrounded by striking natural beauty. If you’re in the mood for a mountain retreat in a cozy town with comfortable accommodations and plenty of options for cosmopolitan and outdoor fun, a trip to Chattanooga is an absolute must.


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