Now Open: The Durham Mine Trails! 

Long before Lula Lake Land Trust (LLLT) existed, the Durham property was part of a bustling mining town. Mining at Durham dates back as far as 1891 with indications that it began prior to the Civil War. At one time, the town was said to have a workforce of about 30,000 people and even had electricity before Chattanooga. This property connected to other LLLT lands through the old Durham Rail line, which extended all the way to our Core Preserve, which now serves as the gravel road that passes right beside Lula Lake and Lula Falls.

This overworked land was depleted in the wake of mining, leaving the make-shift town abandoned. As such, the landscape void of life. Over the past 80 years, nature has reclaimed this property and only a few mine entrances, structural foundations, and old railroad beds remain to tell the stories of the past. 

In 1999 the land trust acquired 1,300 acres from Drummond Coal Company at an auction. LLLT commissioned a master plan for recreational opportunities in the early 2000ss. In 2009, LLLT created the 5 Points Recreation Area with 21 miles of recreational trails available for mountain biking, hiking, trail running, and limited equestrian use. LLLT then completed the Cloudland Connector Trail System from Ascalon Road into the Cloudland Canyon State Park’s core property in 2014, and once complete, the 5 Points Recreation Area was then deeded to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to include as part of CCSP. At that time, LLLT only owned 5-acres of the Durham property and it was used regularly by educational groups to dig for fossils. Finally, in May of 2019, LLLT purchased the remaining 485-acre Durham property and began conceptualizing its recreational future… leading us to this moment.

Four years later, we’ve completed close to 15 miles of trails that are now open daily to the community!

The grand opening of Durham was celebrated on Saturday, March 18, with a crowd gathered at the new Durham Mine Trailhead parking area. LLLT held a challenge adventure, guided hikes, and ribbon cutting ceremony with food, drinks, and live music from Jaguar Shark. 

The Durham Mine Trails parking lot is now open to the public from dawn until dusk everyday - reservations are NOT required! GPS Coordinates: 34°51'55.4"N 85°25'08.5"W or click here for Google directions. For full details on visiting Durham and the overview of trails, please visit our dedicated webpage here.

This remarkable feat was made possible through the dedication and support of many:

LLLT Land Manager Patrick Kelly and assistant Land Manager Mason Price worked tirelessly digging, busting rocks, carrying logs and boulders, building bridges, kiosks, and jumps. In 3-years, Patrick and Mason have worked thousands of hours dedicated to providing a new recreational adventure to our community. Their dedication and vision has paid off! 

Lula Lake's dear friends at Riverview Foundation, including Mr. Bruz Clark, helped fund much of the infrastructure and trail work at Durham. Over the past 3 decades, Riverview and Lyndhurst Foundations have been strong supporters of conservation and recreation on Lookout Mountain. Without their critical support, LLLT would not have a fraction of the trails systems that exist on Lookout Mountain, including 5 Points, Moonshine Trails, The Cloudland Connector Trail, Ascalon Trails, and now the Durham Mine Trails.

REI Co-op helped fund our additional trail builders through a 2-year grant, and Chattanooga Hiking Club donated funds specifically to the trails and kiosk materials. 

When LLLT began building trails in 2020, we had many individuals and groups pour hours of sweat equity into the Durham Mine Trails! In total, Over 250 volunteers worked a combined 1,100+ hours clearing and cutting trails and building bridges. These volunteers include Chattanooga Dock Builders,Chattanooga Hiking Club, Covenant Logistics, The McCallie School, Chattanooga REI Store, Nissan and Tread Lightly!, Southern Wilderness Stewards, Southeast Conservation Corp (SECC), UBS, Wild Trails, Heartwood Land Management, The Girls Preparatory School, and various Scout Troops and Eagle Scouts.

And lastly…we owe a very special thanks to our supporters! We had over 200 donors support the Durham trails through our special fundraising campaigns. Without the support of our community, both financially and through volunteerism, we would still be out there building trails and fundraising for this project!

Photos by Olivia Ross
Tails & Trails 5K Fun Run
On your mark! Get set! Sign-up for our 2023 Tails & Trails 5K Fun Run on 4/22! This fun 5K adventure at Lula Lake Land Trust is designed for racers and their leashed dog and will take you on a classic course through the heart of conserved nature - with water / cool off stations for your four-legged friend. We'll have food, live music, fun, and more!

$45 registration fee includes food & drink from The Dogfather, swag bag, live music from Joey Winslett Jam band, and the good feeling of supporting the important conservation work and trail-building at Lula Lake!

Tails & Trails is presented by Nooga Paws + Play Wash Pint + Play Wash Stay, and they will be awarding the top runners (who race the course with a dog) a dog food prize package. This 5K is sponsored by First Horizon Bank, Audi Chattanooga, Village Volkswagen of Chattanooga, and Back Forty Beer Company.
Experience Lula Lake Like Never Before
We now offer two unique guided hiking opportunities at our famous Core Preserve. Led by an expert, you'll receive an in-depth experience into the beauty and wonder of nature. Treat your family and friends to memories that'll last forever. Our LLLT Guides will lead you on a private hike traversing the Core Preserve visiting iconic features such as Lula Lake, Lula Falls, and our Bluff Trail, all while providing insight on our history and efforts to protect and preserve these natural wonders.
Group Hikes During our Public Access Days:
Are you planning on coming to an Open Gate Day to hike around, but want a knowledgeable guide to show you the trails? Join our Open Gate Day group hikes! Led by a local expert, we will hike the “Classic Loop” where you will experience all the outstanding novelties, including the famous Lula Lake, impressive 110-foot Lula Falls, and the beautiful Bluff overlook. Learn about the history of Lula Lake Land Trust, our conservation efforts, and everything our gorgeous Core Preserve has to offer. At 4.5 miles with an elevation gain of 700ft., this hike is considered moderately difficult. The hike will last 3-4 hours.

$40.00 per person. Ticket includes full access to Open Gate Day during operating hours and parking near our meadow. Limit of 10-12 people. To book a group hike, please select any of our open dates listed online here and go through the reservation process.

Private Hikes:
In order to be successful in our conservation efforts, Lula Lake’s Core Preserve has limited access to the public, but that doesn’t mean we can’t show it off occasionally! We are now offering private guided hikes on our Core Preserve led by one of our knowledgeable staff. Catered to your ability level, we will show you all the highlights of our pristine, protected land including the lake, waterfall, and overlook. Schedule your guided hike when we are normally closed and avoid the crowds! This unique opportunity will help you learn all about Lula Lake Land Trust and why we work so hard to protect this beautiful natural resource.

$150.00 for 2 people and an additional $50 per person for groups of 3 or more. Must schedule at least one week in advance. Available weekday afternoons and limited weekends.To book a private guided hike, please contact Daniel by emailing, or calling 706-820-0520 ext. 2.
Upcoming Open Gate Day Adventures 
Lula Lake is only open to the general public on the first and last weekends of each month during our Public Access Dates, or as we call them Open Gate Days. Reservations are required to visit (per vehicle) . Guided hikes are available to book, too!
  • Save a tree today! Every $10 donated here will help Lula Lake treat our Hemlock forests from Woolly Adelgid infestation.
  • Looking to make a reservation or wondering if we're open? ​​Our Visit Page has details on planning your next adventure.​
  • Interested in our conservation efforts? Click here for more details.
  • Have you visited our daily trails? Click here special trails open daily.
  • Want to volunteer at Lula Lake? Email us at to inquire about opportunities.
  • Did you know? YOU are our most critical person. You play an important role in guaranteeing the future of conservation and our preserved lands. Donations can be made online by clicking heror by mail at PO Box 395, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350.
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Our mailing address is:
PO Box 395, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350

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