The Welsh Caves, Yonah Mountain contain stories that keep native tribes alive

Staff file photo / The word “Chattanooga” is derived from the Cherokee phrase “Tsata­nugi,” which means “rock coming to a point,” most likely referring to Lookout Mountain, now a popular climbing locale.


Growing up in the Southeast U.S., we see the names of so many places that pay homage to indigenous peoples.

Chattanooga, for example, derives its name from the Cherokee phrase "Tsatanugi," which roughly means "rock coming to a point" or "end of the mountain," most likely referring to Lookout Mountain.

When climbing in our region, I've often looked at the rocks and their markings and wondered about the people who once made a home in these areas.

Within these ancient places, legends abound. Here are two of my favorite tales connected to nearby climbing spots.

The Welsh Caves

  photo  Getty Images / Alabama’s Desoto State Park, home of the 104-foot Desoto Falls, boasts rappelling and rock climbing opportunities, as well as rich history.