Reflection Riding Driving Loop
We hope you enjoy the many seasons our gardens and forests offer with beautiful vistas and lush growth. Spring stages a dazzling display of wildflowers in every imaginable color softened by the summer's growth of wild, field flowers, ferns and flowering shrubs. Autumn brings with it the dramatic display of foliage in a variety of hues as well as the subtle gold of asters and purple ironweed. Even the stark beauty of winter has a special place here – evergreens, spectacular rock formations and moss stand out from the prevailing landscape declaring themselves where they have been hidden during the blooming periods of spring and summer. Each season provides unique opportunities for exploration - enjoy them all!
History & Development
Formally incorporated in 1956, Reflection Riding grew out of the imagination of John and Margaret Chambliss who took an old, worn out farm threatened with industrial commercialization and turned it into a place of natural beauty where people could escape the pressures of city life for a moment of solitude in harmony with nature.
The name Reflection Riding was chosen to define the type of place Mr. Chambliss wanted to establish. Ridings were a typical English creation of the mid Eighteenth century – though more difficult to define than to imagine. The focus of a riding is on the progression – the pleasant and varied way in which it winds along throughout the scenery – an active view of the changing landscape. Mrs. Chambliss added the word reflection to draw attention to the natural beauty reflected in the surrounding ponds and creek, but also to emphasize the area as a place for reflection.
In 1982, Thomas Kane, a landscape architect, created a Master Plan for Preservation and Development. It is this plan that carefully guides Reflection Riding's Board of Directors in the development and maintenance of the landscape - keeping it as natural as possible.
Definition of a Riding
Touring the Riding
The three-mile driving loop provides a tour of the main park from the comfort of ones own car and meanders pleasantly through pastoral settings, woodland gardens, wildflower meadows, reflection ponds and beside the banks of Lookout Creek. Along the road are areas called waybys where one may pull off the road, park and walk amongst the flowers or picnic. The road encircles the lower end of the property looping first down beside Lookout Creek (which may be closed from time to time for flooding) and then rising upward, returning to the main front entrance by way of an elevated return road. Many flowers, shrubs and trees are identified along the way with historical points of interest.
For those who would rather experience the landscape up close, the riding affords over twelve miles of trails and paths. The trail system is divided into two sections: The Upper Trails, which are part of the original vision laid out by Mr. Chambliss during the 1940's; and the lower system of paths and trails, which encompass the main area of the riding and were dedicated in 1990 to the memory of Laura (Muffet) Handly Brock.
The Upper Trails reach up the side of the mountain to join those of the National Park Service (which borders Reflection Riding on three sides) and can easily take the adventurous hiker all the way to the top of Lookout Mountain. They are wide trails restricted to non-automotive traffic – perfect for mountain biking and hiking. The trails and sites along the way were named by Mr. Chambliss and honor many of those who assisted him in the development of the riding.