Hiking and biking at Lula Lake, Georgia

High atop Lookout Mountain, just south of the Tennessee-Georgia line, Rock Creek cuts a valley into the mountaintop. As it prepares to drop off the mountain, the creek flows through Lula Lake (actually more like a pond) and over the impressive Lula Falls. In the wild and woolly days more than a half century ago, Lula Lake was basically a no man’s land where all sorts of characters hung out and scary things happened. The surrounding land had been degraded through mining, clear cutting and garbage dumping.

Today, it’s quite a different scene. Lula Lake and Lula Falls are contained within the core property of the Lula Lake Land Trust. Beginning in 1958 and continuing through the ’60s and ’70s, the late Robert M. Davenport began buying up tracts of land in the area. In the early 1980s, he began working to restore the land. The Lula Lake Land Trust was established in 1994 with an initial 1,200 acres for the purpose of preserving the Rock Creek watershed. Today, the trust owns over 8,000 acres.

Although the Five Points and Long Branch trail systems on nearby trust properties are open every day, the core property at Lula Lake is only open to the public on official “open gate” days, which are generally the first and last Saturdays of each month.

On the eastern slope of the valley, between Rock Creek and the eastern bluff of Lookout Mountain, a network of trails has been constructed that totals over 7 miles. Some are single-track trail and some are fire lanes, but all are open to both hiking and biking.

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