2020 // Outdoor Adventures

High Point Climbing and Fitness (Photo by Caleb Timmerman)

Becoming One with the Elements

 

Located between the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau, Chattanooga attracts people from all walks of life with its breathtaking beauty and wide range of outdoor activities for laid-back adventurers and thrill-seekers alike.

 

Did You Know?

Chattanooga is home to Sports, Arts & Recreation of Chattanooga (SPARC), a local chapter of Disabled Sports USA that offers persons with disabilities a platform to engage in outdoor recreational activities such as adaptive cycling, kayaking, tubing, water skiing, and even scuba diving.

 

 

It’s not hard to find a travel magazine or blog that hails the Scenic City as a top destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. In 2019, Investor Place ranked Chattanooga as one of the top 10 Best Small Cities to Visit citing its array of outdoor activities, and Livability notes the city contains an ideal landscape for recreation options. Not to mention, the city has been twice voted the Best Town Ever by Outside magazine.

With rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, and biking galore, it’s no wonder adventurers love Chattanooga. It’s estimated that 59% of Chattanoogans participated in outdoor recreation in some form over the last year. Thrive Regional Partnership estimates that outdoor recreation in Tennessee generates roughly $1.4 billion on an annual basis.

 

Parks and Greenways

Residents and visitors have easy access to six state parks around the Chattanooga area that collectively encompass over 50,000 acres of mountains, streams, rivers, canyons, and a plethora of facilities and amenities. Harrison Bay State Park boasts 1,200 acres and is located on Lake Chickamauga, while Booker T. Washington State Park provides 353 acres for visitors to explore. Apison is home to the 263-acre Red Clay State Historic Park and Blue Hole Spring, and to the southwest Cloudland Canyon State Park is ideal for hiking and cave tours. This Georgia state park spans 3,500 acres and features numerous waterfalls and wild caves. A short drive away is Prentice Cooper State Forest with its 25,000 acres, 35 miles of hiking trails, and access to rock climbing, camping, and more. Another outdoor expanse, South Cumberland State Park is located in Grundy, Franklin, Marion, and Sequatchie counties and offers plenty of options for hiking, backpacking, and climbing in its
30,845 acres.

For those who prefer greenways and paved paths, there are still plenty of options. Among crowd favorites is the Tennessee Riverwalk. This network of walking trails hugs the banks of the Tennessee River and stretches for 13 miles. Additional greenways and parks include the North Chickamauga Creek Greenway, the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway, Wolftever Creek, and Enterprise South Nature Park.

 

Hiking and Mountain Biking

In addition to the offerings of local and state parks, there are plenty of independent trails throughout Chattanooga that are great for hiking and mountain biking. These trails can provide easy recreation options or a true challenge. Boasting over 50 trailheads within 30 minutes of downtown, there’s always something new to try.

For hikes that are fun for the whole family, try the Cravens House atop Lookout Mountain, Moccasin Bend’s Blue Blazes Trail, Greenway Farm, Glen Falls Trail, or one of the many trails at Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center. These trails are not strenuous, easy to access and navigate, and still have their fair share of beautiful characteristics.

Trail runners enjoy the Big Daddy Loop on Lookout Mountain, Stringers Ridge located in NorthShore, and Mullens Cave Loop at Prentice Cooper State Forest. Each year, several trail races take place along these paths.

For mountain biking, Raccoon Mountain is easily a crowd favorite and is only 15 minutes away from downtown Chattanooga. With nearly 30 miles of intermediate and advanced single tracks, this area is the crown jewel of biking for many enthusiasts in the area. Located near Cloudland Canyon State Park is yet another popular spot, Five Points, which boasts roughly 20 miles of manicured trails and rivals Raccoon Mountain for some locals.

If you’re looking for a scenic activity with exceptional views, try visiting one of the area’s many waterfalls including Lula Falls, Glen Falls, Falling Water Falls, and the Cherokee and Hemlock Falls in Cloudland Canyon. Favorites include Lookout Mountain’s Sunset Rock, Signal Mountain’s Edward’s Point, and Snoopers Rock at Prentice Cooper State Forest.

Rock Climbing, Caving, and Deep Water Soloing

The Scenic City is considered by many, including adventure and travel forum Lonely Planet, to have some of the best rock climbing in the country. Local favorite Sunset Rock, which is located on Lookout Mountain, offers climbers dozens of routes to choose from, and just outside of Chattanooga in Prentice Cooper State Forest is the Tennessee Wall, often referred to as the T-wall, which has more than 600 documented routes.

Stone Fort, which is located on Lookout Mountain, is also known as Little Rock City. With some of the best boulder fields in the country, the area has become a mecca for enthusiasts. It serves as one of three premier sites in the annual Triple Crown Bouldering Series competition.

Lake Nickajack, with its 50-foot cliff line, is optimal for deep water soloing and is one of the area’s hot spots for recreation. Just west of Chattanooga is Foster Falls, another deep water soloing locale with quality sandstone. 

For those who want to travel into the earth rather than climb upon it, there are more than 7,000 caves within an hour of Chattanooga. With walking cavern tours and wild cave tours, Raccoon Mountain Caverns is perhaps the area’s most popular caving location with over five miles of underground passageways. A staple of Chattanooga and a popular Tennessee attraction, Ruby Falls features the nation’s tallest underground waterfall (145 feet) open to the public.

Water and Air Adventures

Snaking from the Chickamauga Dam to the Nickajack Dam, a 50-mile stretch of the Tennessee River is accessible to residents and visitors and is perfect for recreational activities such as fishing, canoeing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. With plenty of access points, the Tennessee River is ideal for those wanting to explore calmer waters.

Thrill-seekers can head to the Ocoee or Hiwassee Rivers, which are roughly an hour away, for more challenging activities on class II, III, and IV rapids.

Chickamauga Lake is also a premier destination for flatwater sports and even claimed the title of the sixth-best bass lake in the nation by Bassmaster magazine in 2019.

For those wanting to get off the water, Chattanooga is also home to several air adventure options such as the Lookout Mountain Flight Park and Chattanooga Skydiving Company. Here, adventure junkies can participate in everything from paragliding and hang gliding to skydiving and flight or jump school.

Greenways/Hiking Trails*

Audubon Acres, Elise Chapin Sanctuary

900 N. Sanctuary Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37421

chattanoogaaudubon.org

 

Audubon Island, Maclellan Sanctuary

chattanoogaaudubon.org

 

Audubon Mountain, David Gray Sanctuary

chattanoogaaudubon.org

 

Big Soddy Creek Gulf Area

11721 Back Valley Rd., Soddy-Daisy, TN 37379

soddy-daisy.org/the-big-soddy-creek-gulf-the-gulf

 

Bonny Oaks Arboretum

6183 Adamson Cir., Chattanooga, TN 37416

parks.hamiltontn.gov

 

Chester Frost Park

2277 Gold Point Cir. N, Hixson, TN 37343

parks.hamiltontn.gov

 

Coolidge Park

150 River St., Chattanooga, TN 37405

chattanooga.gov

 

Enterprise South Nature Park

190 Still Hollow Loop, Chattanooga, TN 37416

parks.hamiltontn.gov

 

Lula Lake Land Trust

5000 Lula Lake Rd., Lookout Mtn., GA 30750

lulalake.org

 

North Chickamauga Creek Gorge State Natural Area

northchick.org

 

Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center

400 Garden Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37419

reflectionriding.org

 

Renaissance Park

100 Manufacturers Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37405

chattanooga.gov

 

Rock City Gardens

Walking Trail

1400 Patten Rd., Lookout Mtn., GA 30750

seerockcity.com

 

South Chickamauga Creek Greenway

chattanooga.gov

 

Stringers Ridge

Dead end of Spears Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37405

trgt.org/stringers

 

Tennessee Riverpark

4301 Amnicola Hwy., Chattanooga, TN 37402

hamiltontn.gov/tnriverpark

 

Wolftever Creek Greenway

Collegedale, TN 37363

collegedaleparksandrec.com

 

*Within an hour of the Chattanooga area

Popular Mountain Biking Trails

Booker T. Washington State Park

Enterprise South Nature Park

Five Points

Guild-Hardy Trails

Harrison Bay State Park

Raccoon Mountain

Stringers Ridge

White Oak Mountain Trails

State Parks*

Booker T. Washington State Park

5801 Champion Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37416

tnstateparks.com

 

Cloudland Canyon State Park

122 Cloudland Canyon Park Rd., Rising Fawn, GA 30738

gastateparks.org

 

Harrison Bay State Park

8411 Harrison Bay Rd., Harrison, TN 37341

tnstateparks.com

 

Prentice Cooper State Forest

3998 Game Reserve Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37405

tn.gov

 

Red Clay State Historic Park

1140 Red Clay Park Rd. SW, Cleveland, TN 37311

tnstateparks.com

 

South Cumberland State Park

11745 US 41, Monteagle, TN 37356

tnstateparks.com

 

 

National Parks*

Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park

3370 Lafayette Rd., Ft. Oglethorpe, GA 30742

nps.gov

 

Moccasin Bend National Archeological District

175 Hamm Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37405

nps.gov

 

*Within an hour of the Chattanooga area

High Point ZIP Adventure at Ruby Falls (Photo Courtesy of Ruby Falls)

 

Air Adventures

Chattanooga Skydiving Company

300 Airport Rd., Jasper, TN 37347

855.776.5867

chattanoogaskydivingcompany.com

 

High Point ZIP Adventure at Ruby Falls

1720 S. Scenic Hwy., Chattanooga, TN 37409

423.821.2544

rubyfallszip.com

 

Lookout Mountain Flight Park

7201 Scenic Hwy., Rising Fawn, GA 30738

706.383.1292

flylookout.com

 

Biking

Bike Chattanooga

888.925.4415

bikechattanooga.com

 

Chattanooga Bicycle Club

P.O. Box 11495, Chattanooga, TN 37401

chattanoogabicycleclub.com

 

Chattanooga Segway & Bike Tours

204 Walnut St., Chattanooga, TN 37403

423.708.5051

chattanoogasegwaytours.com

 

East Ridge Bicycles

5910 Ringgold Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37412

423.894.9122

eastridgebicycles.net

 

Electric Bike Specialists

45 E. Main St., Chattanooga, TN 37408

423.475.6569

electricbikespecialists.com

 

Kickstand Bicycles

3800 St. Elmo Ave., Suite 129, Chattanooga, TN 37409

503.804.6399

kickstandbicyclefixes.com

 

Owen Cyclery

1920 Northpoint Blvd., Hixson, TN 37343

423.875.6811

owencyclery.com

 

Quintana Roo Triathlon Bicycles

4126 S. Creek Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37406

423.591.8830

quintanarootri.com

 

Scenic City Velo

P.O. Box 4155, Chattanooga, TN 37405

sceniccityvelo.com

 

Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA)

P.O. Box 5836, Chattanooga, TN 37406

sorbachattanooga.org

 

Southern Velo

615.477.4534

teamsouthernvelo.com

 

Suck Creek Cycle

630 W. Bell Ave., Chattanooga, TN 37405

423.266.8883

suckcreek.com

 

Trek Bicycle Store Chattanooga

307 Manufacturers Rd., Suite 117, Chattanooga, TN 37405

423.648.2100

trekstorechattanooga.com

 

 

Caving

Chattanooga Grotto

200 River St., Chattanooga, TN 37405

423.643.6888

chagrotto.github.io

 

Cumberland Caverns

1437 Cumberland Caverns Rd., McMinnville, TN 37110

931.668.4396

cumberlandcaverns.com

 

The Lost Sea Adventure

140 Lost Sea Rd., Sweetwater, TN 37874

423.337.6616

thelostsea.com

 

Raccoon Mountain Caverns

319 W. Hills Dr., Chattanooga, TN 37419

423.821.9403

raccoonmountain.com

 

Climbing

High Point Climbing and Fitness Downtown

219 Broad St., Chattanooga, TN 37402

423.602.7625

highpointclimbing.com

 

High Point Climbing and Fitness Riverside

1007 Appling St., Chattanooga, TN 37406

423.475.6578

highpointclimbing.com

 

Southeastern Climbers Coalition

P.O. Box 3324, Chattanooga, TN 37404

seclimbers.com

 

Tennessee Bouldering Authority

3800 St. Elmo Ave., Suite 224, Chattanooga, TN 37409

423.822.6800

tbagym.com

 

Walnut Wall in Coolidge Park

150 River St., Chattanooga, TN 37402

423.643.6311

Popular Hiking Trails

Bluff Trail

Cravens House Loop

Cumberland Trail

Edward’s Point

Falling Water Falls

Fiery Gizzard Trail

Glen Falls Trail

Green Gorge Trail

Guild-Hardy Trail

Julia Falls Overlook

Little Cedar
Mountain Trail

Lula Lake Trails

Pot Point Loop

Rainbow Lake Trail

Stringers Ridge

Sunset Rock Trail

Tennessee River
Gorge Trail

West Rim Loop Trail

Chattanooga Skydiving Company

 

Hiking/Backpacking

Chattanooga Hiking Club

5507 S. Hwy. 341, Chickamauga, GA 30707

chatthiking.com

 

Cumberland Trails Conference

409 Thurman Ave., #102, Crossville, TN 38555

931.456.6259

cumberlandtrail.org

 

Experience Chattanooga

203.623.4519

experiencechattanooganow.com

 

Georgia Trails

georgiatrails.com

 

Hiking Chattanooga

hikingchattanooga.com

 

Hike Lookout

hikelookout.org

 

Sierra Club Tennessee Chapter, Cherokee Group

3712 Ringgold Rd., Suite 156, Chattanooga, TN 37412

sierraclub.org/tennessee

 

Tennessee Trails Association

P.O. Box 41446, Nashville, TN 37204

888.445.3882

tennesseetrails.org

 

Hunting

Chattanooga Rifle Club

P.O. Box 8951, Chattanooga, TN 37414

423.493.9003

chattanoogarifleclub.org

 

Cleveland Hunting, Rifle, and Pistol Club

2522 Lead Mine Valley Rd. SW, Cleveland, TN 37311

chrpc.club

 

Creekside Hunting Preserve

303 County Rd. 128, Athens, TN 37303

423.744.6204

creeksidehuntingpreserve.com

 

Dunaway Hunting & Fishing Club

1046 Coca-Cola Rd., Dunlap, TN 37327

423.949.6803

dunawayhuntfishclub.com

 

Tennessee Valley Chapter Safari Club International

tennesseevalleysci.com

Multi Recreational Resources

Adventure Sports Innovation

191 River St., Chattanooga, TN 37405

423.591.5654

adventuresportsinnovation.com

 

The Adventure Guild

888 Highpoint Dr., Dunlap, TN 37327

theadventureguild.com

 

Chattanooga Triathlon Club

P.O. Box 24234, Chattanooga, TN 37422

chatttri.com

 

Outdoor Chattanooga

200 River St., Chattanooga, TN 37405

423.643.6888

outdoorchattanooga.com

 

Rock/Creek Adventures

1530 Riverside Dr., Chattanooga, TN 37406

423.265.1836

rockcreek.com

 

Velo Vixens

P.O. Box 15376, Chattanooga, TN 37415

velovixens.net

 

Public Parks

Cherokee National Forest Campgrounds

2800 Ocoee St. N., Cleveland, TN 37312

423.476.9700

fs.usda.gov/activity/cherokee

 

City of Chattanooga Parks

Visit chattanooga.gov/parks for a complete listing of city-run parks.

 

Lula Lake Land Trust

5000 Lula Lake Rd., Lookout Mtn., GA 30750

706.820.0520

lulalake.org

 

Hamilton County Parks

Visit parks.hamiltontn.gov for a complete listing of county-run parks.

Adventure Sports Innovation

River Adventures

Adventures Unlimited

522 US. 64, Ocoee, TN 37361

423.338.4325

adventuresunlimited.net

 

Battlefield Outdoors Fort Oglethorpe

2871 Lafayette Rd., Ft. Oglethorpe, GA 30742

706.841.0040

battlefield-outdoors.com

 

Battlefield Outdoors Camp Jordan

323 Camp Jordan Pkwy., East Ridge, TN 37412

706.841.0040

battlefield-outdoors.com

 

Big Frog Expeditions

1278 Welcome Valley Rd., Benton, TN 37307

877.776.2633

ocoeeriver.biz

 

Canoe Kayak Chattanooga

9852 Mullins Cove Rd., Whitwell, TN 37397

423.280.3250

canoekayakchattanooga.com

 

Cascade Outdoors

1248 Hwy. 64, Ocoee, TN 37361

423.338.7238

cascadeoutdoors.com

 

Chattanooga Ducks

151 Riverfront Parkway, Chattanooga, TN 37402

423.756.3825

chattanoogaducks.com

 

Chattanooga Paddleboards

423.702.1422

chattanoogapaddleboards.com

 

Cherokee Rafting

869 Hwy. 64, Ocoee, TN 37361

800.451.7238

cherokeerafting.com

 

High Country Adventures

430 Hwy. 64 E., Ocoee, TN 37361

800.233.8594

hcrivers.com

 

L2 Outside

131 River St., Chattanooga, TN 37405

423.531.7873

l2outside.com

 

Lookout Rowing Club

1001 Riverside Dr., Chattanooga, TN 37406

lookoutrowingclub.com

 

Nantahala Outdoor Center Ocoee Outpost

150 Hawkins Dr., Ocoee, TN 37361

828.366.7522

noc.com

 

Ocoee Adventure Center

4651 Hwy. 64, Copperhill, TN 37317

888.723.8622

ocoeeadventurecenter.com

 

Ocoee Outdoors

1985 US-64, Benton, TN 37307

800.533.7767

ocoeeoutdoors.com

 

Ocoee Paddleboarding & Watersports

1110 US-64, Ocoee TN 37361

423.650.6116

ocoeepaddleboarding.com

 

Outdoor Adventure Rafting

629 Welcome Valley Rd., Benton, TN 37307

423.338.5746

ocoee.com

 

Outland Expeditions

6501 Waterlevel Hwy. SE, Cleveland, TN 37323

423.478.1442

outlandexpeditions.com

 

Quest Expeditions

281 Hwy. 64, Ocoee, TN 37361

800.277.4537

questexpeditions.com

 

River Canyon Adventure

21726 River Canyon Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37405

423.488.8211

rivercanyonadventure.com

 

River Drifters

1925 Suck Creek Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37405

423.805.2925

riverdrifterschatt.com

 

Rusty’s Kayaks and Paddleboards

8332 Harrison Bay Rd., Harrison, TN 37341

423.591.5526

rustyskayaks.com

 

Scenic City Safari Shuttles & Outfitters

1111 Cranbrook Cir., Hixson, TN 37343

423.653.4845

facebook.com/ScenicCitySafari

 

Southeastern Expeditions

7350 Hwy. 76 E., Clayton, GA 30525

800.868.7238

southeasternexpeditions.com

 

Tennessee Valley Canoe Club

P.O. Box 23772, Chattanooga, TN 37422

423.708.5460

tvccpaddler.com

 

Wildwater Rafting

4596 Hwy. 64 W., Ducktown, TN 37326

866.319.8870

wildwaterrafting.com

Running

Chattanooga Track Club

P.O. Box 11241, Chattanooga, TN 37401

423.842.6265

chattanoogatrackclub.org

 

Wild Trails

P.O. Box 2271, Chattanooga, TN 37409

wildtrails.org

 

Shooting Ranges

Benton Sporting Clays

5244 Upper River Rd., Charleston, TN 37310

423.338.6034

bentonsportingclays.com

 

Carter Shooting Supply & Range

6210 Hwy. 58, Harrison, TN 37341

423.344.1099

cartershootingsupply.com

 

Chattanooga Rifle Club

P.O. Box 8951, Chattanooga, TN 37414

423.493.9003

chattanoogarifleclub.org

 

Chestnut Mountain WMA Shooting Range

Chestnut Mountain Rd., Dalton, GA 30720

706.295.6041

georgiawildlife.com

 

Cleveland Shooting Sports

2150 S. Lee Hwy., Cleveland, TN 37311

423.478.0080

clevelandshootingsports.com

 

Prentice Cooper WMA Firing Range

423.658.9201

tn.gov

 

The Ridge

11534 Rhea County Hwy., Dayton, TN 37321

423.605.4242

theridgeshooting.com

 

The Shooter’s Depot

5443 Battlefield Pkwy., Ringgold, GA 30736

706.406.0300

theshootersdepot.com

 

Shooter’s Supply & Indoor Range

4824 Hixson Pk., Hixson, TN 37343

423.875.4868

shooters-range.com

 

Wildlife

Chattanooga Audubon Society

900 N. Sanctuary Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37421

423.892.1499

chattanoogaaudubon.org

 

Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge

545 Priddy Rd., Birchwood, TN 37308

423.614.3018

tnwatchablewildlife.org

 

Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center

400 Garden Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37419

423.821.1160

reflectionriding.org

 

Riverview Bird Sanctuary

1621 Riverview Rd., Chattanooga, TN 37405

 

Tennessee Ornithological Society Chattanooga Chapter

chattanoogatos.org

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