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Craven's House

Wildlife Viewing Area
Kevin Calhoon

The site is on the north facing slope of Lookout Mountain south of Chattanooga and is the Lookout Mountain Unit of the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. The elevation difference is over 1,300'. The majority of the habitat is mixed mesic hardwoods with Virginia pines mixed with areas of various stages of scrubby secondary growth. The Cravens House is situated half-way up this slope. The house, originally built by Robert Cravens in 1838, was a major point in the "Battle Above the Clouds" during the Civil War. The house was destroyed during the war (drunken brawl by Union soldiers) and was later rebuilt by Cravens. Adolf Ochs purchased the house and 88 acres owned by Cravens's heirs and combined it with land he had purchased and donated it to the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in 1893. The house was completely renovated in 1956. The house is on an acre of manicured lawn bordered by weeds and scrub. There is a fair amount of scrub/shrub along some of the nearby trails, roadways, and powerline cuts. The Cravens House is a trailhead for over 30 miles of trails--Bluff Trail, Gill Trail, Gum Springs Trail, Hardy Trail, and Truck Trail. These go through hardwood forests and scrub growth on the slopes of Lookout Mountain.

This northward slope of Lookout Mountain, dominates the big turn of the Tennessee River at Moccasin Bend and acts as a resting and feeding stop for migrating birds using the Cumberland escarpment and Tennessee River riparian corridor as a migration pathway. Neotropical migrant songbirds pass through in April and May, wearing breeding colors and full of song. Thirty-four species of warblers have been observed here as well as Scarlet and Summer Tanagers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks and Northern Orioles. Fall migration viewing is also excellent. This is the best location in the area to find migrating Philadelphia Vireos, and a Connecticut Warbler has been seen here. Summer breeding songbirds include Ovenbird, Kentucky and Hooded Warblers, and Wood Thrush. Kettles of Broad-winged Hawks and other raptors also follow the ridges southward each fall.

From I-24 in Chattanooga, take exit 178 (Lookout Mountain exit). Turn left on Broad Street and proceed west, up the mountain where Broad Street turns into Cummings Highway. Turn left on Scenic Highway and proceed to Craven's Trail. Turn right and proceed to the park.

The historic Cravens House on Lookout Mountain is open for tours Saturday and Sunday afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the summer. Cravens House will close at 5:00 p.m. Contact the Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center at 423-821-7786 for additional information. The Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Best Months and Seasons for Viewing

April and May are the best months for viewing spring Neotropical migrant songbirds, while September and October are the best for fall migrants.

Best Time for Viewing

Early morning viewing is best for birds.

How to Get There

From Interstate 24: From Exit 178, turn left onto Broad Street. Broad Street will become U.S. Highway 41 (Cummings Highway). Turn left onto TN Highway 148. Continue on TN Highway 148 to the top of Lookout Mountain. At the top, turn right onto East Brow Road. The Lookout Mountain Battlefield Visitor Center is located at the end of East Brow Road, across the street from the Point Park Entrance Gate.

Nearby Places