Signal Point Trail is a 13 mile out and back trail located near Chattanooga, TN that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
off road driving
There was one good view a half mile into the hike. Back tracked down on the trail. Not too much to see but we also did not do the full hike toward the waterfall. However, there was no running water on the trail where it looked to be one. Trail seem to not be as popular, little over grown. Also, found a total of 5 ticks on us after the 1-2 hour hike.
Great trail! Had a hard time finding the trailhead by the road, not well marked. Hiked past mushroom rock and about 6 miles to get a good view of the Tennessee River then turned around.
My cousin and I took an overnight trip here and hiked from Signal Mountain past Edward Poin and Suck Creek and finished at the game reserve road parking past Poplar Springs Campsite. There are some beautiful views here but the hike is rigorous - definitely a lot of elevation change. If you want a 24-25 mile trip, add in Mullens Cove Loop, and Pot Point Loop which I believe is about 12 additional miles.
It is a beautiful stretch of the Cumberland Trail from Signal Point Military park to Prentice Cooper State Forest. Be advised that it will be more than a 5 hour trip. From Signal Point you descend into a gorge and climb back to plateautop and shortly reach Edward's Point. Follow the gorge rim until you reach mushroom rock then descend to a creek with a 225 ft. suspension bridge. Ascend again only to descend once more to the hwy. 27 road crossing. After crossing a VERY busy highway climb away from Suck Creek and out of the gorge. The view from Lawson's Rock is a good one. Continue on the ridge side and through the forest to reach the trailhead in Prentice Cooper. Whew.
First hike with my then to be husband. Easy to moderate. Recommend Indian Rockhouse, and Snoopers Rock, has incredible view of the Tennessee River. Great place to take pics, and have a picnic. A little used trail to the right of Snoopers, yeilds some nice little waterfalls. Also, if into history, take a side trip into Lusk cemetery, on the left going toward Snoopers Rock.
This part of the Cumberland Trail goes through the Prentice Cooper State Forest. Within the PC State Forest there are off-roading trails for ATV's and 4wd vehicles, however the actual Cumberland Trail does not allow any off road vehicle or mountain bike use. Foot travel only on the Cumberland Trail.
I did not find this an easy trail. There is a lot of elevation, but the views are stunning!
Some good views, relatively easy for regular hikers.
whats the off roading like
Hiked from the Cumberland trail parking near the stone door to Snoopers Rock. Nice trail along the side of the mountain with great views of the gorge and plenty of springs tumbling off the mountain. Not very difficult at all and I was able to jog a lot of it with my dog without worrying about my footing too much. Will do again.
Snooper's Rest to Natural Bridge section... Lots of inclines on way out. Several large trees down on path, which inevitably isn't marked well in those areas. Natural bridge is nice, can climb down underneath IF you can get yourself back up. Cross 2 non-natural bridges, 2nd is somewhat rickety - best to cross one at a time. During switchbacks, there are stairs that are rotting some - be careful. Couple of creek crossings. Some rock-hopping. Might avoid the trail after a good rain as the rocks are mossy/slippery. Some views of Tenn River & some open woods with large interesting rock formations. It is 2.8miles from trailmarker at Snooper's to marker at Natural Bridge.
I marked waypoints on my gps mapping - I'll try to figure out how to share it. Also took lots of pics & vids, but can't upload using app - rarely on laptop to upload.
Park in the Cumberland Trail lot and walk across the street for an AMAZING hike. Follow sign to "Indian Rock House", about .5 miles in. Then head to your right & follow trail to Snooper Overlook. It's 2.9 miles from Trail head. More enjoyable hike - views of river, less dense trees, so it is brighter. It sounds corny, but a much different energy. There are a number of inclines/declines - you'll definitely feel it on the way back. Various rock outcroppings.
Eventually, you get to Snooper's... I don't want to post a pic, because you want to experience this first hand. I encountered 2 people on way back. I sat out on the rock by myself for hours, taking pictures, listening to music & eating lunch. So incredibly serene...
Gotta say on the way back, I was already planning my return. And I was chugging along most of the way, but whoa the inclines on the return made me grateful for stops to take pics. My calves are displeased with me.
Also, I noticed tht the dirtbikers/atv'ers get going (nearby) at noonish, so it you want max serenity, head out early.
Make sure to check the Prentice Cooper WMA website for hunting times... there's also a decent map of trails & parking. (There were none available onsite other than at trailhead)
Disclaimer: I'm a newbie when it comes to hiking... There were no trail maps at entrance to park or at trailhead. I intended to hike Mullen's but couldn't find it. Cumberland was easily marked.
The trail was...boring to me. I guess I am a "ohh bright shiny pretty view or something interesting" sort of hiker. I hiked 5miles in & there were no pretty views or particularly interesting scenes. Terrain looked almost identical the entire time - tall pretty trees - while trail was flat, uphill, or downhill. But one section was LOTS of rocks. Like hopping across a creek, but a huge, long creek where there were lots of leaves & moss - making them slippery.
3.2 miles in, you come to a logging road, you have to walk down it, the "trail continues here" sign was not super-noticeable, so I hiked down the gravel road another 10mins & then back up before discovering trail sign.
I kept going on, thinking "there has got to be something spectacular just ahead." * while having 5 layers of moleskin on some blisters... I eventually turned around at 5 mile mark. (if someone tell me that at 5.2miles in there was the most blah blah blah...)
The trail (except for the logging road) is intuitive to follow - the trail markings were inconsistent. The trail is marked, but the size/shape/fading of the markers would have been troublesome had the path not been clear enough.
***Sidenote: why don't they use a bright baby blue to mark paths? the white fades into the sunlight & fungus that grows on trees.
There were a number of very large trees that had been downed by the tornado. Had to cross some by straddling, others had been cut by chainsaw. Not a big deal to manage. I do some trail running at home, there were some good sections for running. Not a lot of roots, etc *in some sections.
Saw a few squirrels & chipmunks. Believe I passed some fresh "bear poop". (didn't see its owner though) Passed 2 hikers starting as I was finishing up. Otherwise, fairly serene hike except for CONSTANT speeding atvs, dirt bikes, jeeps & shooting range in distance. Signs posted to not go over 25mph, but apparently it doesn't apply to those folks. They were racing back & forth for hours after my hike.
I am sleeping in my car tonight at the trailhead to try to find Mullens Cove in am, if my blisters have recovered enough. In my book, it's a "pass".
A nice, all to yourself experience, however we ran into some portions where the trail was hard to negotiate due to downed trees from tornadoes. Good day hike.
Not too challenging. Good day hike if you are looking to rack up some miles. Not the most exciting trail
From Suck Creek Rd you can head to Lawson's rock near Poplar Springs. Or you can take the other side to Mushroom Rock, or eventually Edwards Point. Either direction is great. Tough terrain, great views!