Durham Trails, A New Recreational Adventure for 2023
Lula Lake Land Trust is excited to announce both Riverview Foundation and REI Co-op have awarded a second round of grants to support the completion of our Durham trails! Riverview Foundation is a longtime supporter of Lula Lake, from funding Five Points Recreational Trails to bringing local musicians together at our Core Preserve for a Timber Roots Music Festival. Riverview Foundation's $50,000 grant will help us build the parking lot, install kiosks, signage + gate, and host a grand opening party at the new Durham Trails. In addition, Chattanooga's local REI store nominated our organization for grant funding through their organization. We were awarded $7,000 in both 2021 and 2022!  These critical funds are helping Lula Lake Land Trust sprint through the finish line on the Durham Trails, with an expected completion date of Spring 2023! 
How Lula Lake is Preparing Durham Trails for Public Access
Update by Patrick Kelly, LLLT Land Manager
Four years ago, I began surveying the newly purchased 486-acre piece of land that we have dubbed "the Durham Property." In an attempt to piece together history of the old mines, existing roads, and historic remnants,  I envisioned the past to get a sense of what the area looked like 100 years ago. Then I looked ahead to get a vision for what the next 100 years would be.  The Durham Property was previously used to provide progress after the Industrial Revolution. It was abandoned after the mining resources were exhausted. The land has now healed from its previous use and is now a flourishing ecosystem. What once was a coal-mining community is now home to a healthy population of flora and fauna—Pink Lady Sippers, wild turkeys, and Pileated Woodpeckers are often seen frequently in the spring. 

For the first year, I set out to explore every inch of the property in search of scenic views, natural rock features, and interesting terrain. With these three elements, trail users would be able to appreciate our new edition to the conservation landscape.

Four years later (and with the help of volunteers and our summer interns), we now have approximately 11 miles of new trails finished. Better yet, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Every section of new trail was designed with a specific user in mind and allows hikers to experience scenic attributes the property has to offer. We want to provide a place of inclusion where a family can take a casual stroll to immerse theirselves in nature, a hiker can find a nice spot along Rock Creek to relax with a snack, and a mountain biker can challenge themselves on the terrain.

We've hit the final home stretch to completing this project. This summer, our Assistant Land Manager Mason Price and I will be working on the final two miles—pivotal trails that will provide access to some of the most remote and beautiful areas of the property. If you are looking to leave your footprint on the legacy of this property, please come join us on our volunteer trail days. They will be hosted throughout the summer, and you can email Daniel at to find out more. 

Stay tuned... 

Breaking in Durham Trails with Local Mountain Bikers

On Thursday, May 12th, the gates of the parking lot for the new Durham trail system opened for the evening to host the first ever group mountain bike ride with a huge turnout of close to 40 trail riders participating. The goal was to grow enthusiasm, showcase the access points connecting to the Five Points area, and spread awareness of the efforts that have been put in by our Land Manager and his assistant and the remaining work that needs to be accomplished to complete the 15 miles of the newest trails in the area. 
Once the ride began, it was obvious that the riders were immensely excited about the conditions of the trails and were having a blast. Lookout Mountain local David Ogletree explains, “Upon learning of these trails I rode over to see what they were about, and I was not disappointed. It was immediately apparent that they were professionally designed and built, and all seemed to maintain a good flow, which is very important.” Participants noted that the trails are unique and have a variety of terrain catered to all ability levels. Ogletree further explains, “My first 'wow moment' came when I found myself on the tailing’s trails, which I can only describe as riding a roller coaster on your bike. These tailings are coal mining spoils from many decades ago, and their undulations are incredibly fun to ride. They seem to continue for an enjoyably long time.” Some other unique features of the Durham area will be the two-mile beginner trail and connecting double track roads which are adaptive cyclist friendly, meaning that cyclists with physical disabilities will be able to ride here as well. 
The evening ended with satisfied mountain bikers excited about the future of the trails. Chattanooga’s Handup Glove Co. came out in support and helped make the event a huge success, even providing hotdogs and drinks. Durham trails are set to open sometime next year, but with the help of volunteers, we can open sooner rather than later. Please be on the lookout for trail day volunteer opportunities announced soon. 

Visit Lula Lake on our Open Gate Days!
Spend your day in nature during our Open Gate Day!  With 8+ miles of trails, bluff views, and a 120-foot waterfall... there's always an adventure to be had! Make your reservation today by clicking upcoming dates below. Spaces are limited to maintain the tranquility of nature. We also have private guided hikes available. Click here to find out more! 
Saturday, June 4
Sunday, June 5
Saturday, June 25
Sunday,  June 26

Click here for more dates.
Thank you to those who attended our 2022 Hike Bike Brew: Lula Lake Beer Festival! Setting a new record of fundraising, ticket buyers helped support our conservation efforts and trail building. Lula Lake is incredibly grateful for their support—they are the reason Lula Lake does what it does best: protect beautiful, biodiverse landscapes. For an album of photos from the event, click here to visit our Facebook album. 
Get ready for a fun 5K adventure at Lula Lake Land Trust on Saturday, June 11! Our Tails & Trails Summer 5K takes racers and their leashed dog through Lula Lake's scenic Core Preserve - with water / cool off stations for your four-legged friend. You don't have to have a dog to race (but it makes it more fun). Top prize for racers and their pup will be a "howl-worthy" dog food package. We'll have live music, food trucks, and more in our meadow! Click the register link below to find out more.
  • 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 here or by mail at PO Box 395, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350.
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PO Box 395, Lookout Mountain, TN 37350

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