I’d recently heard that the area was open to the public one or two days a month, and my son-in-law took several of his kids up there in April, thoroughly enjoying the visit. When my wife’s brother and his family came for a visit from Florida and wanted to hike in the mountains, this seemed like a great opportunity for my first visit to the reopened area, especially since Cindy’s brother Steve hadn’t been to the area in about 30 years. Saturday morning we packed some snacks, grabbed some grandkids, and our crew of 10 headed up the mountain.
hiking and biking trails, as well as using the old railroad bed as a well-maintained driveway and easy walking trail from the parking area to the falls. There is a very nice bridge across Rock Creek just above Lula Lake, with a great view down the upper falls into the lake.
A picnic area has been developed just above the lake, with three tables, some charcoal grills, and conveniently located trash and recycling receptacles. There’s a great view down to Lula Lake from the picnic tables, as well as a view down into the gorge below the lower falls, pictured at the beginning of this article. (That picture was taken from a bluff further down the gorge looking back to Lula Lake.) There is also a stepped, steep trail down to the lake so you can take a closer look at this mountain-top gem.
But wait, this is a wildflower site, right? The wildflowers were abundant even in the short 1-mile hike from the parking area to the
lake. Blooming were (among others) Mountain Laurel, the invasive Japanese Honeysuckle alongside native Trumpet Honeysuckle, White Milkweed, Hawkweed, Flame Azalea, Partridgeberry, Showy Southern Skullcap, Alumroot, Hydrangea, Phlox, and Virginia Sweetspire. I am looking forward to photographing and documenting more of the wildflowers found in the Lula Lake area, but am concerned about how I can possibly do it justice with the limitation of one or two visits a month, especially during the spring season when so many plants have a very short bloom season. I’ll definitely take advantage of the open periods, and hope to provide more reporting about the wildflowers of Lula Lake on this website.
I think it fitting that in my first visit to Lula Lake since becoming a wildflower enthusiast I was able to add a least four species to my lifelist, including the Southern Showy Skullcap (Scutellaria pseudoseratta) shown to the left. The others were Partridgeberry, White Milkweed, and Virginia Sweetspire, which I’ll get added to the USWildflowers database over the next few weeks.
I’m excited about rediscovering this wonderful area so close to home, and am tremendously appreciative to the Lula Lake Land Trust for preserving the area of Lula Lake, along with the other work they are doing to protect the Rock Creek watershed and to develop a greenway along Lookout Mountain. (g)