Guild-Hardy Trail


Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Take your pick of one of our 13 trail guides when you give $30 or more to build trails!

Guild-Hardy Trail Facts

States: Tennessee
Counties: Hamilton
Length: 5 miles
Trail end points: Ochs Highway Trailhead and Lookout Mountain Scenic Highway
Trail surfaces: Gravel
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 7421610
Trail activities: Mountain Biking, Walking

With Unlimited:

  • Export to My Trail Guide
  • Create Guidebook
  • Download GPX
  • Download Offline Maps
  • Print Friendly Map
Upgrade Now

Guild-Hardy Trail Description

The Guild-Hardy Trail is a beautiful excursion on southern Tennessee's Lookout Mountain, only a few minutes from Chattanooga and the state's border with Georgia. It follows the route of the former Chattanooga & Lookout Mountain Railway, completed in 1889, and passes over two train trestles.

From St. Elmo, at the foot of the mountain's eastern side, the rail-trail winds up the forested slope for a gentle climb of more than 1,000 feet. Along the way, you'll encounter Civil War relics, such as battleground markers and old cannons, and pass the historical Cravens House. Natural beauty includes the stunning Ruby Falls, a 145-foot-high underground waterfall, and views of the Chattanooga and Tennessee Rivers below. You might even spot bighorn sheep.



Parking and Trail Access

The Guild-Hardy Trail offers four trailheads:

    • Ochs Highway parking lot
    • Ruby Falls parking lot (1720 South Scenic Highway)
    • Cravens House parking lot (Cravens Terrace at Shingle Road)
    • Scenic Highway pull-off

Guild-Hardy Trail Reviews

I have lived on Lookout Mountain my entire life and can guarantee that you will not spot bighorn sheep. That made me laugh!

I parked in the Guild Hardy trailhead parking lot just off of Ochs Highway on 6/23/16 at about 10am. I noticed broken glass in the parking lot & a hand written sign taped to the trailhead that said something about recent break ins. I didn't give it too much thought because it's a nice area, right on a busy highway, & it was the middle of the day. I was gone for about 2 hours & came back to my passenger window busted out & a note in my car from another person that said to please call the police because their car got broken into as well. My point is- DON'T PARK HERE! Or just go to a different trail altogether beacause this one is all gravel anyway (yuck!).

Started at ochs Highway and went to the top,also did the truck trail that is an off shoot of the guild hardy,which was the best part IMHO. Anyway, out and back totals about 17 miles or so if you include the truck trail


Before riding the Trail, I stopped at the Park Service office at Point Park. The ranger told me that, if I wanted to start at the top of the trail, I would have to start at the Craven House. The trail above that point was closed due to a fallen boulder. On the way down to the Craven House, I found top of the trail with a "Trail Closed" sign a few hundred feet from a VERY large boulder sitting in the middle of the trail. I probably could have walked my bike around it but decided not to try.

After turning from Scenic Drive on to Craven Terrace Road, there is a side road up to the Craven House parking lot. Instead of turning there, keep going straight. Just below the house is a small parking lot for hikers and bikers. From this lot, the trail continues down this paved road a short distance where it becomes a gravel path. The path is packed gravel but I found it somewhat loose and rocky. I had a hybrid bike with fat tires and did OK. I would not recommend this trail for narrow road bike tires.

The trail goes around Lookout Mountain for less than a mile to a Trail Junction. The Upper Truck Trail to the left continues around Lookout Mountain intersecting with various trails of the National Park. The only trails on which bikes are allowed are the Guild-Hardy and Upper and Lower Truck Trails. From the trail junction, the right trail switches back and continues down the mountain on the other side. It continues down the side of the mountain to the Ruby Falls parking lot, across the Scenic Highway, across a couple of trestles, under the Inclined Railway track to a small parking lot on Oochs Highway.

Although a little rockier that I would have liked, it was a good ride. The trail goes through some beautiful forests on the side of Lookout Mountain but there really aren't many good overlooks off of the mountain. I went downhill but the trail, built on an old RR bed, was generally straight and had a gentle slope. Next time I think I will try the uphill ride.

The Guild & Hardy Trail climbs Lookout Mountain, mostly through the Lookout Mountain Battlefield of the Chickamauga Chattanooga National Military Park, along a good gravel base and gradual grade of an old railroad bed. If starting at Ochs Highway parking, you'll cross under the Incline Railway and across two trestles before reaching Ruby Falls, a commercial attraction. Continue through the Ruby Falls parking around to the west slope of the mountain before reversing direction at a switchback, continuing to Cravens House, part of the Chickamauga Park. Several overlooks along the way offer views of Moccasin Bend and downtown Chattanooga, as does Cravens House, a great picnic spot. Continue on toward the top of the mountain, under the Incline once again, to the intersection with Scenic Highway. At the current end of the trail, one can continue the last 1/4 mile to the crest of the mountain, but it is on busy Scenic Highway and not good for children and traffic shy riders. The full route is close to 5 miles one way. You will pass numerous hiking trails along the way, but bikes are limited to the Guild and Hardy trail and the Upper Truck Trail.

Alternatives include an out and back extension on the park's Upper Truck Trail, intersecting at the switchback. This adds 7 miles round trip, also on a good gravel road, though rockier and steeper in sections. Parking is also available at Ruby Falls and Cravens House, both accessed from Scenic Highway.

Another option is taking bikes up the Incline Railway and riding down, but the Incline is limited to 2 bikes at a time and is there is a fee for tickets.

This is a great ride for tourists wanting to see experience Lookout Mountain, and a great workout for locals on a really scenic trail. Please support the Lookout Mountain Conservancy which owns and maintains most of the Guild Hardy trail, and has great plans for future connections.

Trail Events

This trail does not have any events yet.
Be the first to add one!

Add an Event

Nearby Trails

Chattanooga Riverwalk (Tennessee Riverpark)

Tennessee - 16.1 miles

The Chattanooga Riverwalk, also known as the Tennessee Riverpark, will ultimately stretch 22 miles from downtown Chattanooga near the Tennessee...

South Chickamauga Creek Greenway

Tennessee - 10.3 miles

The South Chickamauga Creek Greenway offers 9 miles of trail alongside the wooded Chickamauga Creek through eastern Chattanooga and the community of...

North Chicamauga Creek Greenway

Tennessee - 2.6 miles

The North Chicamauga Creek Greenway is located in the North Chicamauga Creek Conservancy. The trail follows the path of the Chicamauga Creek and is...


Volkswagen Drive Sidepath

Tennessee - 1.5 miles

The Volkswagen Drive Sidepath is a paved path that travels on the campus of the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant. The one and a half mile trail...

Wolftever Creek Greenway

Tennessee - 2.9 miles

The Wolftever Creek Greenway is a sparkling gem in the city of Collegedale. Construction began in 1998, and as of 2011, more than 4 miles of greenway,...

Historic Bridgeport Walking Trail

Alabama - 2 miles

The Historic Bridgeport Walking Trail begins at the Bridgeport Depot Museum and leads to the Tennessee River.  Once at the shoreline, you walk across...

Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway

Tennessee - 4 miles

The Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway weaves through the northern part of Cleveland, Tenn., from Willow Street to Mohawk Drive. The path follows Mouse...

Mountain Goat Trail

Tennessee - 7.5 miles

Two segments of the Mountain Goat Trail are complete. The first links Sewanee and Monteagle in Franklin County with a paved pathway stretching nearly...

Simms Mountain Trail

Georgia - 4.5 miles

A rugged trek through the North Georgia mountains, this 4.5-mile trail is ideally suited to hikers and mountain bikers. Despite its quiet, dense...

Heritage Park Trail

Georgia - 4.5 miles

The Heritage Park Trail links two paths at the confluence of the Oostanaula and Etowah rivers, where these two waterways meet to form the Coosa River....

Eureka Trail

Tennessee - 4.6 miles

The Eureka Trail begins in the southeast Tennessee city of Athens, about midway between Chattanooga and Knoxville (about an hour's drive from either)....

Little Cove Road Greenway

Alabama - 5 miles

The Little Cove Road Greenway begins at Hampton Cove Elementary in eastern Huntsville. Here, the trail connects to the Big Cove Creek Greenway, which...

Download the TrailLink mobile app and take TrailLink with you!
Build trails nationwide + pick your FREE 2019 RTC member t-shirt!
Get a FREE guidebook when you join Rails-to-Trails Conservancy!

Explore by City

Explore by City

Explore by Activity

Explore by Activity

Log in to your account to:

  • View trail paths on the map
  • Save trails to your account
  • Add trails, edit descriptions
  • Share photos
  • Add reviews

Log in with Google


Register for free!

Join TrailLink (a non-profit) to view more than 30,000 miles of trail maps and more!

Register with Google