For the Dogs: Pet-Friendly Activities Around the Scenic City

Chattanooga is an incredibly dog-friendly city. Chances are, if a brewery or restaurant has outdoor seating, your canine companion is welcome to join in for happy hour. The Scenic City also boasts more than 35 miles of greenways and trails, most of which allow dogs. But there’s so much more your pup can take part in! Read on for some of the best local activities you can enjoy with your four-legged friend.

Dog at the see seven states lookout at Rock City Gardens

Check Out Chattanooga’s Iconic Attractions.

Leashed pets (this includes cats, goats, and even parrots!) are always welcome at Lookout Mountain’s famed Rock City Gardens. Your dog can join you as you walk the Enchanted Trail, which highlights some of the gardens’ top sites: Swing-A-Long bridge, Fat Man’s Squeeze, and Lover’s Leap, where you can see seven states. While dogs aren’t allowed inside the caverns, Ruby Falls offers complimentary open-air kennels on a first-come-first serve basis. These shaded and covered kennels will keep your pooch comfortable, but you can also bring along food and toys to enhance their stay. Downtown, the Walnut Street Bridge is one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges, perfect for running, biking, or taking your pup on a stroll. Two additional dog-friendly attractions are Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center and the 33-acre Sculpture Fields at Montague Park, both of which have well-maintained trails to spend the afternoon on.

couple hiking with their dog; Photo by Sarah Unger

Take a Hike.

There are more than 50 trailheads within half an hour of downtown Chattanooga, so you and your dog can easily take advantage of the hiking scene. Northshore’s Stringer’s Ridge is a great place to start. With wide trails and dog waste stations, this area is incredibly dog-friendly and has lots of paths to choose from. Atop Signal Mountain, the half-mile Rainbow Lake Trail ends at Rainbow Lake Dam, which delights humans and pups alike. If your dog is up for more adventure, cross the creek and continue on to popular overlook Edwards Point. Hiking to Lookout Mountain’s Sunset Rock overlook via the Craven’s House Trail provides another photo-worthy hiking opportunity with your pooch. Just remember that when hitting the trail, you should pack a container or bag for doggie waste and an extra water bottle to keep your hound hydrated.

Finnigan the corgi sitting in the tunnel at Play Wash Pint; Photo by Emily Long

Play Fetch at the Dog Park.

Providing a safe space to exercise and play with your pup, dog parks have cropped up all over the city in recent years. Chattanooga Chew Chew Canine Park, located at 1801 Carter Street, is a fully fenced off-leash park that has separate areas for small and large dogs. Lots of green space, water fountains, and fire hydrants make this park a puppy paradise, while plenty of benches are available to encourage owners to relax as Rover runs around. Red Bank’s White Oak Park and East Brainerd’s Heritage Park also have off-leash dog parks for some unencumbered fun. Southside’s Play Wash Pint is in a category all its own – this locale is Tennessee’s only synthetic turfed dog park and pint bar rolled up into one. Grab a beer while your dog enjoys almost 11,000 square feet of dog-specific synthetic grass (goodbye, muddy paws!). Self-service wash stations and a daycare round out the premium offerings found at Play Wash Pint.

puppy that just had a bath at Nooga Paws

Shop ‘til You Drop.

Although you can visit national retailers like PetSmart and Petco for your doggie needs, why not shop local? Nooga Paws, located on Manufacturers Road, is a specialty pet shop that stocks wholesome, all-natural pet food in addition to collars, leashes, toys, grooming products, beds, supplements, and more. Since you’re already treating your pup, saddle up to one of two self-service wash stations on the premises. These wash stations are fully equipped with stainless-steel tubs, commercial-grade blow dryers, bathing necessities, and grooming tools. It’s sure to be a fun experience for both dog and owner! If you’re wanting to do some shopping for yourself with Rover in tow, several businesses around town – including Locals Only, The Barn Nursery, and Vinterest Antiques – advertise pet-friendly policies.

Dog on the patio at Daily Ration

BYOP (Bring Your Own Pup) to Brunch.

If there’s one meal that Chattanoogans cherish above all, it’s brunch. This weekend staple is served up at some of the best spots in the city, and best of all? Fido can join in on the fun! Northshore’s The Daily Ration is one of the most popular dog-friendly locales around, with covered patio seating so you can comfortably dig in to those blueberry flapjacks while your furry friend relaxes beside you. The Southside neighborhood is a brunch haven all its own – establishments including State of Confusion, FEED Table & Tavern, and Flying Squirrel each offer a place at the table for the dog in your life. In nearby St. Elmo, brunch specials like Belgian Waffle Bananas Foster and Steak & Eggs can be found at pet-friendly 1885 Grill, which has ample outdoor seating for parties and pups of all sizes.

couple camping with their dogs; photo by Rich Smith

Camp with Your Canine…

A night spent under the stars is made even better when your dog can curl up beside you. Fortunately, the Chattanooga area abounds with pet-friendly camping sites. A great destination for the whole family, Chester Frost Park in Hixson has year-round camping with a grand total of 228 recreational campsites – here, leashed pets are allowed everywhere except the beach. Along the shores of Chickamauga Lake, Harrison Bay State Park appeals to campers as well as golfers, boaters, and fishermen, and guests can choose between primitive and RV camping sites. Pets are permitted in campsites and a few select cabins at Raccoon Mountain Caverns & Campgrounds, which also offers an enclosed “Bark Park” for dogs. About 30 minutes outside of Chattanooga, Georgia’s picturesque Cloudland Canyon State Park has dog-friendly campsites in addition to hiking paths, picnicking, and scenic overlooks. 

golden retriever laying on a bed at the Moxy

… or Hotel Hop Around Town.

If luxury accommodations are more your style, you’re in luck. Check in to one of several pet-friendly hotels around the Scenic City! Downtown’s historic The Read House reserves the entire third floor of the Manor Building for guests with four legs. There’s a $100 non-refundable pet fee as well as other restrictions, so be sure to check out the pet policy before you book. Also downtown, two boutique hotels – The Edwin Hotel and Hotel Indigo – boast dog-friendly rooms and serve as the perfect jumping-off points for a number of Chattanooga attractions. On the Southside, Moxy Chattanooga Downtown can accommodate up to two pets per room for an additional fee. Nearby, the brand-new Kinley Chattanooga Southside welcomes pets, also for an additional fee. Whether you have a vacation or staycation in mind, your furry friend can tag along thanks to these hotels’ flexible policies.

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