New hiking trail to open in Chattanooga area this weekend

Mariah Prescott stands on a section of the new Ritchie Hollow Trail as she talks about its construction on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, in Hamilton County, Tenn. The trail's grand opening is Saturday, Jan. 27.

A new hiking trail climbs the eastern edge of Prentice Cooper State Forest, ascending more than 1,000 feet with two main water crossings and several smaller ones sprinkled throughout. The climax of the rocky hike comes in the final mile: a 30-foot waterfall that rains down before the trail connects to the Cumberland Trail System's Pot Point Loop.

The "moderately strenuous" 2.5-mile Ritchie Hollow Trail connects the Tennessee River to the top of Suck Creek Mountain. It opens with an 11 a.m. ceremony and hike Saturday at the trailhead near Pot Point Cabin. However, while trail builder Mariah Prescott believes the hike is challenging, that shouldn't scare beginners, she said.

"It's