Henson Gap Cross Country Tips
Henson Gap is an excellent site for ridge running, and also great for triangles and out and returns.
Flights to Lookout Mountain may be accomplished by following the ridge southward to Powells Crossroads and jumping over the back (second deviation from southern XC route from Henson in picture). If you choose to go over the back, be very careful. This is a very challenging route. Directly over the back will place you close to Chattanooga and very close to the controlled air space.
Another preferable route that narrowly avoids Lovell Field’s airspace is to follow the ridge line all the way to Inman Point then across the Tennessee River at Nickajack Lake to the area where I-24 cuts through Walden’s Ridge/Sand Mountain at the Haletown exit (Big Daddy’s).
It is the southerly most route to Lookout. There are acceptable fields along the river here and at Haletown if you sink out, but you must make it across the river.
Once across you’ll notice a southeasterly string of nice fields leading across this narrow area of the platea directly into the Lookout Valley. These appear as white patches along a line between Nickajack Lake, New Home, and New England on the topographical map you can view at TopoZone.
Look for Covenant College, Burkhalter Gap, and the LMFP shop buildings on Lookout for landmarks. If you follow the fields to leave Sand Mountain in the area of a small cove where large power lines ascend the mountain, Lookout Mountain Flight Park is right across the valley.
Do not get caught too far back in the gaps on westerly days, unless you are sure you can make it to a safe LZ.