Day 19: Raccoon Mountain

by Jeff

45 mile off road bicycle trail network on Raccoon Mountain…4 miles of tunnel in the mountain!

Off road bicyclists at the vistors center.

Off road bicyclists at TVA's Raccoon Mountain Vistors Center

Today we took the drive out to Lookout Valley and up to Raccoon Mountain to the visitors center at TVA’s Pumped-Storage Plant. It didn’t take us long to see some wildlife and mountain bicyclists.

Intake/dishcarge entrance to the mountain

Intake/dishcarge entrance to the mountain

As we traveled the road along the river (Nickajack Lake) the first evidence of the pump station is the baffle system located at the intake and discharge area. The ride up to the entrance is pleasant and very well maintained.

Resevoir on top of Raccoon Mountain

Resevoir on top of Raccoon Mountain - ChattanoogaAndBeyond.com

Driving to the visitors center you pass the “top” reservoir which has a surface area of 528 acres and a dam that stretches 8,500 feet and 230 feet high making it the largest “rock fill” dam ever constructed by TVA.

The visitors center is cantilevered out over a gorge with tremendous views of the surrounding mountains and river.

Visitors Center

Visitors Center

Prior to Sept. 11, 60 – 70,000 visitors annually would come learn about TVA’s largest hydroelectric facility.

Intake for the top reservoir

Intake for the top reservoir

The intake for the top reservoir stands higher than the Statue of Liberty and the elevator down through the mountain is 106 stories. At capacity the reservoir stores 12 billion gallons of water, enough to meet the needs of NYC for 9 days and 20 hours of electricity for the city of Chattanooga. To fill the reservoir, the 4 turbines are reversed and pump from the Nickajack for 28 hours.

in addition to great mountain biking, Raccoon Mountain offers fishing, hiking, mountain biking, picnic facilities and much more making this a great “day” destination. Today we met Danny Sullivan and Paul Jaggers from Huntsville who were trail riding prior to a 4 day hike on the Appalachian Trail.

Danny Sullivan & Paul Jaggers after a ride on one of the many trails.

Danny Sullivan & Paul Jaggers after a ride on one of the many trails.

Next time you are looking for a new adventure, consider the short drive to Raccoon Mountain.

Patrice, Danielle, Jake and Priscilla in front of one of the giant turbines!

Patrice, Danielle, Jake and Priscilla in front of one of the giant turbines!

View looking toward Walden's Ridge

View looking toward Walden's Ridge

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