Hang Glide at Lookout Mountain
Courtesy Lookout Mountain Hang
DISTANCE: 350 miles, 5½ hours
ADVENTURE LEVEL: 9 (Pretty much only skydiving and running with the bulls can top this. And Pamplona is really far away.)
Chattanooga, Tennessee, has risen to national prominence in recent years thanks in large part to its great outdoor recreational opportunities. Perhaps the most thrilling is Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding. Imagine lying on your belly in the harness of a hang glider beside an experienced instructor and being pulled 3,000 feet up into the big blue above Lookout Valley by an ultra-light aircraft. Next, imagine being released to glide. No experience is necessary and everyone from kids to senior citizens can feel the rush. —T. W. W.
REST UP: Chattanooga Choo Choo gives guests the opportunity to sleep in authentic restored Victorian-era train cars. The complex also features a refurbished railroad station, model railroad, formal garden, and seven places to eat. For a mountaintop experience, the Chanticleer Inn Bed & Breakfast sits high and pretty at 1,800 feet above sea level on Lookout Mountain. The rooms are beautifully appointed and located directly across the street from the famed Rock City Gardens.
GEAR UP: The outdoor gear retailer in Chattanooga is Rock/Creek Outfitters. Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding provides all the gear you need to soar, but Rock/Creek is the place to go for carabiners, backpacks, and boots.
REFUEL: Whether you stay at the Choo Choo or not, Terminal Brewhouse, just adjacent to it, is a great casual-fare restaurant choice. For something more upscale yet still relaxed, try Broad Street Grille in Chattanooga’s only AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel, The Chattanoogan. It also whips up one of the best Sunday brunches in town.
CHICKEN? Southern Belle Riverboat is a great alternative Chattanooga adventure. Cruise along the scenic Tennessee River in a triple-decker riverboat. Lunch and dinner cruises are also available. Adventure Level: 2 (It’s more adventurous than watching TV, but you’re just chilling on a boat.)