The Blue Beaver Trail is the name of an old Boy Scout trail up Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It was named for Union soldiers who cut down trees on the mountain for shelter and fuel. The original route was about 10.5 miles long and was usually hiked as a point-to-point trail by Boy Scouts who were picked up at the top of the trail and given a merit badge for their efforts. It's still possible to hike the original Blue Beaver Trail, but it's not recommended as an out-and-back hike. The National Park Service (NPS) has adapted the Blue Beaver Trail into a new, shorter 7.5-mile round-trip hike that you can complete as an out-and-back trail in a single day of hiking.
Both trail routes begin at the Kiddie Trailhead, a nondescript trailhead with a small gravel parking lot just off of narrow Garden Road. You'll follow the Kiddie Trail to get to either route. Don't let the name fool you—the steep trail gains nearly 400 feet of elevation in its short half-mile distance. For the NPS route, continue south from the Kiddie Trail on the Skyuka Trail for about a quarter-mile, then follow the Lower Gum Springs Trail east for about a half-mile to the Upper Truck Trail. Follow that trail for a little less than a mile, then take the half-mile Rifle Pits Trail to the historic Cravens House. You'll finish your hike by following the Cravens House Trail to Point Park, one of the rare NPS-maintained parks that allows leashed dogs as long as you bring your own waste bags and clean up after your pup. The park closes at sunset.
For the original Boy Scout route, you'll continue heading south on the Skyuka Trail instead of turning off onto the Lower Gum Springs Trail. You'll follow that trail for a little over three miles south to Skyuka Spring, then loop around the John Smartt Trail to connect to the Upper Truck Trail, which you'll follow four miles north to the Rifle Pits Trail, then continue along the rest of the route designated by the NPS.
Whichever route you take, the trail is full of historic and natural sights sure to keep you engaged while you and your dog get a good workout. You'll be treated to breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding valley as you ascend 1300 feet. In the dense forests the trail winds through, you'll pass interesting rock formations and cross streams.
If you and your pup are up for a challenge, don't hesitate to hike the beautiful, historic Blue Beaver Trail.