South of Chattanooga, between the city of Lookout Mountain, Georgia and Cloudland Canyon State Park, GA 157 hugs the west rim of Lookout Mountain. Occasionally the trees open up, exposing a lovely view of Lookout Valley, stretching northwest to Sand Mountain and Waldon Ridge beyond. In one such scenic opening, a large concrete block and windsock adorn the frequently crowded parking lot of the Lookout Mountain Flight School. A few feet futher down is one of the workshops of this long-time adventure destination. For many people, this is the starting point of one of the greatest outdoor adventures - hang gliding.
Informal sitting areas surround the massive block, that tilts forward at an unnerving angle. In the adjacent level dirt area, hang gliders prepare and assemble equipment - modular light-weight plastic and metal wings that will carry them to their destination, Lookout Valley, some 1000 feet below.
Flights can last from 15 minutes to many hours depending on many factors including the direction of the wind and its speed as well as the experience level of the person at the helm of the hang-glider.
Gliders are controlled by body movement and distance from the crossbar. Pull yourself closer to the bar and the rate of descent increases. Push yourself away and the rate of descent decreases. A slight movement left or right will turn the hang-glider in the same direction.
Soaring above Lookout Valley
Popular with all classes of hang gliders, from novice to experienced, Lookout Mountain offers some excellent wind currents, generally coming in from the west. We spoke to a number of enthusiasts in the preparation area including a 63-year-old grandmother in from San Francisco to practice her take-off and landing skills before facing some challenging western U. S. sites.
Without exception, everybody endorsed the location as one of the best in the United States.
In downtown Chattanooga, exit at S Market St/State Route 58 N and travel .3 miles. Turn left at 20th St, then make another left at Broad St.
Follow TN-17 South just under 2.0 miles, then turn right on TN-58 for 2.2 miles.
Continue onto Red Riding Hood Trail for 1.2 miles. At Lake Lula Road turn right, travel 1.2 miles and turn left onto GA-157. Follow GA 157 7.4 miles to Lookout Mountain Flight School
Launch Pad at Lookout Mountain Flight School