Chattanooga, TN: Cloudland Canyon via West Rim Trail

Scale switchbacks to scope spectacular views of Cloudland Canyon from the West Rim Trail on this 4.6-mile dayhike near the Georgia/Tennessee/Alabama border.
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Scale switchbacks to scope spectacular views of Cloudland Canyon from the West Rim Trail on this 4.6-mile dayhike near the Georgia/Tennessee/Alabama border.

One of the most popular trails in Cloudland Canyon, the West Rim Trail strolls alongside the canyon rim, taking in various overlook points along the way. From the parking area, descend steps along the east rim down to the canyon floor. Cross Daniel Creek and then begin a switchback climb up to the top of the west rim (where the West Rim Trail heads north). The return trip strolls through a mixed deciduous forest dotted with boulders and the occasional stream crossing.
-Mapped by Scott Sanders, GroundedGraphics.com

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 7.4

Waypoints

CLD001

Location: 34.8348209, -85.4804315

At the beginning of the West Rim Trail, walk towards the canyon, and turn left on the gravel pathway following yellow blazes (throughout the hike). Ignore all side trails to campsites, cottages, etc.

CLD002

Location: 34.834963, -85.4808303

Pass an overlook of the Cloudland Canyon. Ahead, the trail descends steps into the canyon.

CLD003

Location: 34.8337676, -85.4830388

Turn right @ 3-way junction.

CLD004

Location: 34.8336376, -85.4834531

Make the first of two left turns at consecutive 3-way junctions.

CLD005

Location: 34.8331704, -85.4846274

Turn right @ 3-way intersection.

CLD006

Location: 34.8325117, -85.4848189

Cross a wooden bridge over Daniel Creek. Just ahead a switchback to the right starts a series of turns up to the canyon rim.

CLD007

Location: 34.8331133, -85.4861194

Turn right @ 3-way intersection. To the left is to the primitive campground area.

CLD008

Location: 34.8361426, -85.4837949

In this tricky area of trail intersections, continue on the West Rim Trail following yellow blazes.

CLD009

Location: 34.8389213, -85.4842973

Cross a wooden bridge over Whiteoak Spring and bear right. Do not go upstream at this point; the trip back returns through this waypoint.

CLD010

Location: 34.8491636, -85.4889724

At an observation point at the northern tip of the West Rim, the trail loops back to the south.

CLD011

Location: 34.8467819, -85.4900368

Turn left @ 3-way junction.

CLD012

Location: 34.8461617, -85.4895616

Cross the paved road and continue south.

CLD013

Location: 34.8409821, -85.4856864

Turn left @ 3-way junction; from here, continue on to waypoint 9, turn right at the intersection and then backtrack to the trailhead.

Cloudland Canyon

Location: 34.8349916, -85.480805

Canyon Steps

Location: 34.8348089, -85.4811001

West Rim View

Location: 34.8382873, -85.4814434

West Rim View

Location: 34.8436411, -85.4820871

A broad view of Cloudland Canyon

Observation Point

Location: 34.8491002, -85.4889965

The northern tip of the West Rim