Prentice Cooper State Forest
This website, Out of Atlanta launched right before it was recommended and then mandated to stay at home due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So, my intended travel throughout the Southern states could not happen. After four months of staying home, last week I made a last-minute decision to get out of town.
I decided to start my exploration with Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was not my first visit and it is one of my favorite small cities in the country. At a little bit over a third of the population of Atlanta, it’s a nice-sized city within the natural beauty of green mountains and the Tennessee River.
Since I had been to Chattanooga before I’d already experienced most of the popular activities. I’ve been to Rock City and ridden on the Incline Railway and I’ve taken in the panoramic view from atop Lookout Mountain more than once. I had my dog with me so this trip had to include outdoor exploration and patio dining.
I discovered Prentice Cooper State Forest on the map and the views looked stunning. It was the perfect place to take my dog for an afternoon of scenic hiking.
Prentice Cooper State Forest is about 10 miles West of Chattanooga and the scenic drive takes you along the Tennessee River. Eventually, you arrive into the designated forest. Since this is a state forest and not a state park, the signage was not overly clear but there was a map towards the beginning of the forest and we made our way to the trailhead for Snooper’s Rock. You can actually set your GPS for the Snooper’s Rock Parking Area but I did not know that.
The trail at Snooper’s Rock is 5.9 miles but it is an easy .3 mile hike to get to the rock. The view of the Tennessee River Gorge from the rock is absolutely breathtaking! I honestly think my dog, a Florida girl, was amazed. I’ve heard that the best time to visit the site is at sunrise and I can only imagine. We hiked around a bit more until before taking the gravel and dirt road out of the forest and heading back to Chattanooga to get some dinner and local beer at The Blue Plate on the waterfront.
Prentice Cooper State Forest is definitely worth adding to your next visit to Chattanooga. In addition to 35 miles of hiking trails for all levels of fitness, there are also two camping areas and hunting during specific seasons. You are sure to see wildlife, like wild turkeys and deer.
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