You can’t go wrong choosing a running trail or greenway in the Scenic City. Running in Chattanooga will take you on both paved and wooded trails, past scenic overlooks and moving water. And while you can stay near the Tennessee River or on a mountain if you like, you’ll find beautiful places to get moving in all parts of town.
Paved & Gravel Trails
Chattanooga Riverwalk, Downtown
Chattanooga’s Riverwalk runs 13+ miles through downtown along the Tennessee River. Although the paved trail technically stretches as far southwest as St. Elmo, the most iconic Riverwalk experience begins by parking at Ross’s Landing near the Tennessee Aquarium, then following the blue handrails east. Initially, the path will zig-zag in uphill switchbacks perpendicular from the riverfront to the Bluff View Art Museum, past the River Gallery Sculpture Garden, and down the residential Battery Place. You’ll veer left to get back on Riverfront Parkway, where you’ll hug the river once again. Depending on how far you jog before heading back, you’ll pass public art, fishing piers, local restaurants, the Chattanooga Rowing Center, and launch points for canoes and kayaks. The terminal end of the Riverwalk is just past Chattanooga State Community College on Amnicola Highway at the Chickamauga Dam, where Highway 153 crosses the Tennessee River. This is an out-and-back, not a loop, so as you return to Ross’s Landing, consider making time to experience more of Chattanooga’s riverfront beauty by extending your run across the iconic Walnut Street Walking Bridge.
Greenway Farm, Hixson
A 180-acre city park, Greenway Farm in Hixson has trails made of asphalt and crushed rock, plus a little grass and single-track dirt, depending on which short branch-off trails you take for scenery. This pet-friendly running spot has plenty of places to take a peek at the creek, plus access to a quarry that was excavated by the Tennessee Valley Authority for limestone used in the construction of the Chickamauga Dam. Home to wide paths that can handle joggers from each direction, here you’ll also have access to a dog park, views of North Chickamauga Creek, and wildflowers, depending on the time of year.
The Collegedale Greenway, Collegedale/Ooltewah
A three-mile paved pathway, this greenway will take you through a wooded area around Wolftever Creek to Veterans Memorial Park, which celebrates those who have served in the armed services with a display of all 50 state flags, sculptures, and installations of military vehicles and aircraft. For access, park at the Nature Nook at Tallant Road and Apison Pike, or at the Thatcher Switch Recreational Area. To run the trail in reverse, start at Imagination Station playground behind Collegedale City Hall.
Camp Jordan Park, East Ridge
Formerly a pasture known as The Crow Farm, Camp Jordan Park is made up of thirteen baseball and softball fields, nine soccer fields, a disc golf course, a fishing pond, a playground, an amphitheater, and a two-mile loop around the property intended for jogging, cycling, and skating. Here, you’ll find the distance for your run clearly marked, and you’ll have peek-a-boo views of Chickamauga Creek through the trees. The park can be found at a highly convenient location – just off I-75 – and has the added bonus of opportunities to catch a little league game, if the season is right.
Stringer’s Ridge, Northshore
Located on a ridge that overlooks North Chattanooga, Stringer’s Ridge is 92 acres of urban forest for easily accessible hiking, trail running, and mountain biking. Although signage recommends cyclists stick to specific trails on specific days of the week – and those on foot to do the same – it can be confusing to newbies, and others simply shrug at the suggestion. This means that as you run, you’ll need to keep your eyes and ears open for bikes coming around tight turns. We recommend you take in the most wooded parts of the trail first, and end with the urban scenery, so park at the terminal end of Spears Avenue downtown. When given a choice of which way to turn on the Blue Trail, head right (counterclockwise) for an approximately 3.5 mile run. If you need something shorter, you can cut inside to a loop called the Strut. There’s an observation deck with an excellent view of downtown accessible from Cherokee Trail, which makes for a great option if you want to pause for a moment and enjoy the view.
Cravens House, Lookout Mountain
Many conversations about where to run on Lookout Mountain start with a nod to Cravens House. Originally a six-room, one-story home owned by Chattanooga’s Robert Cravens, the building was targeted by union troops firing from Moccasin Bend and claimed as headquarters for General W. C. Whitaker’s troops during the Civil War. The home was so devastated in battle that it had to be rebuilt. Today, the historic site is one of the best places to access hiking trails on the mountain. The panoramic views, particularly when there aren’t leaves on the trees in the winter, simply cannot be beaten. Cravens House to Point Park Loop will take you 4.5 miles to a memorial park that overlooks the city of Chattanooga. For a longer run, try the 10-mile Cravens House to Big Daddy Loop, which connects seven mountain trails with views of Raccoon Mountain and Sand Mountain.
Booker T. Washington State Park, Chattanooga/Harrison
Located on the south end of Chickamauga Lake, Booker T. Washington State Park is an excellent place to spot ospreys, orioles, great blue herons, or bald eagles. Trail running here includes the Outer Loop around the peninsula (3.9 miles), Inner Loop 1 (2.25 miles), and Inner Loop 2 (1.20 miles). You’ll want to park at Recreation Area 1 for access, and watch for signs about which days of the week are for running/cycling clockwise or counterclockwise. When the water is low, the banks of the lake just off the trail make a great stop for a stretch or skipping stones.
Pot Point Loop, Prentice Cooper State Forest
Local runners have referred to this 12-mile trek as the best of the best when it comes to trail running in Chattanooga. Here, you’ll follow a white blaze through fairly remote sections of land west of Red Bank, so you’ll need to be confident in your navigation skills or take a friend. It’s also fairly technical, with 400 feet of elevation change according to the Cumberland Trails Conference, and takes 11.7 miles to run. To find the trail, drive toward Signal Mountain on Signal Mountain Road, then turn left at Portland Park onto TN-27/Suck Creek Road. Once you’ve entered Prentice Cooper State Forest, you’ll take a left onto Choctaw Trail, then a quick sharp left onto Game Reserve Road. Park in the lot for Snooper’s Rock, which has a stunning view of the Tennessee River Gorge – especially at sunrise.