Outdoors + Recreation

Outdoors + Recreation

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Woman rock climbing at High Point

High Point Climbing & Fitness

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Outdoor Chattanooga 

Blog.ExtremeSports

Extreme Sports Events in Chattanooga

Options Abound for Nature Lovers and Thrill Seekers Alike

Nestled between the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau, Chattanooga is a nature lover’s dream with its extensive outdoor offerings. Both adrenaline seekers and casual adventurers will feel at home and can choose from hiking, biking, paddling, and climbing activities, among others. Chattanooga captivates residents and visitors alike with its pristine beauty and show-stopping vistas, but it’s the ability to become fully immersed in the natural surroundings that have so many flocking to the city. In fact, the Scenic City has been voted the “Best Town Ever” twice by Outside magazine, and Chattanooga has also been recognized for its ideal recreational landscape by Livability.

Parks and Greenways

With six state parks encompassing over 50,000 acres of streams, rivers, mountains, caves, and canyons, it’s no wonder that the Chattanooga area is a top outdoor destination. Just southwest of the city in Georgia, Cloudland Canyon State Park boasts 3,500 acres that include several wild caves and waterfalls, making it a hiking and caving paradise. In Apison, visitors will find the 263-acre Red Clay State Historic Park along with its Blue Hole Spring, and Harrison Bay State Park offers guests 1,200 acres to explore via trails and campsites or by boat. Booker T. Washington State Park spans 353 acres and offers activities such as boating, swimming, fishing, biking, and hiking. A short drive away, Cumberland Trail State Park is a narrow slice of protected land that cuts through 11 counties, and when complete, its trail system will extend 282 miles. Rounding out the local state parks is South Cumberland State Park, which spans over 30,000 acres. Touching parts of Franklin, Grundy, Marion, and Sequatchie counties, this park offers plenty of hiking, camping, and rock climbing opportunities, among other activities. In addition to state parks, visitors can also access Prentice Cooper State Forest, which boasts 25,000 acres and 35 miles of trails. For those who favor a paved walkway, the 16-mile Tennessee Riverwalk is a local favorite, and the trail network even ranked No. 6 on Fodor’s Travel’s 2021 list of 15 Best River Walks in the United States. Other notable greenways and parks include Enterprise South Nature Park, Wolftever Creek, North Chickamauga Creek Greenway, and South Chickamauga Creek Greenway. In 2021, a nearly three-decade-long project to connect the two existing portions of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway culminated, resulting in a 12-mile continuous trail that allows users to travel from the Tennessee Riverwalk to Camp Jordan.

Hiking and Mountain Biking

Although the local- and state-run parks offer plenty of hiking opportunities, Chattanooga also provides residents and visitors with several independent trails to take advantage of. In fact, there are over 50 trailheads within 30 minutes from downtown. Local favorites for trail runners include Big Daddy Loop on Lookout Mountain, Stringers Ridge on the Northshore, and Mullens Cove Loop at Prentice Cooper, while those looking for a more scenic option will enjoy Signal Mountain’s Edward’s Point, Lookout Mountain’s Sunset Rock, and Prentice Cooper’s Snoopers Rock. Several waterfalls in the area – such as Glen Falls, Lula Falls, Falling Water Falls, and the Cherokee and Hemlock Falls in Cloudland Canyon – also have accompanying hiking trails. Fun for the whole family can be found at Greenway Farms, Cravens House, and Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, the latter of which even made it on the Fodor’s Travel list of 12 Most Beautiful Gardens in the American South. For those who prefer getting around on two wheels instead of two feet, there is no shortage of biking options in and around the Scenic City. Mountain bikers in the area frequent Raccoon Mountain, which encapsulates 30 miles of advanced and intermediate tracks. Other popular options for mountain biking include Five Points, Enterprise South Nature Park, Guild-Hardy trails, Stringers Ridge, and White Oak Mountain trails.

Rock Climbing, Caving, and Deep Water Soloing

Thought by many to have some of the best sites in the country, Chattanooga is gaining notoriety among rock climbers. Soddy-Daisy’s Stone Fort, also known as Little Rock City, is one of three spots in the annual Triple Crown Bouldering Series competition, and the Tennessee Wall, located in Prentice Cooper, has more than 600 documented routes. Lookout Mountain’s Sunset Rock is a scenic option featuring over a dozen routes, and the Southeastern Climbers Coalition has plans to establish a public climbing area called Woodcock Cove that would offer an additional 60 routes with the potential for 100 more. For climbers who also love the water, the 50-foot cliff line at Lake Nickajack is perfect for deep water soloing, and Foster Falls is another premier option. Cavers, on the other hand, can explore more than 7,000 caves within an hour of Chattanooga, starting with Raccoon Mountain Caverns, which offers both wild cave and walking cavern tours, and visitors to the area won’t want to miss local icon Ruby Falls – the tallest and deepest public underground waterfall in the nation.

Water and Air Adventures

The extensive outdoor opportunities don’t stop there. In addition to the plethora of hiking, biking, climbing, and caving activities, Chattanooga’s position on the Tennessee River and Chickamauga Lake means that there are plenty of recreational water activities to choose from as well. A 50-mile stretch of river traversing from Nickajack Dam to Chickamauga Dam offers seemingly endless access points for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. Fishing enthusiasts will delight in Chickamauga Lake, which has previously ranked among the best bass lakes in the nation according to Bassmaster magazine, and the nearby Hiwassee and Ocoee rivers are a great place for fly fishing, as well as whitewater rafting and kayaking. Some of the best views of the Scenic City, however, come from up above, and organizations such as Chattanooga Skydiving Company and Lookout Mountain Flight Park offer paragliding, hang gliding, skydiving, and more for thrill seekers.

Options Abound for Nature Lovers and Thrill Seekers Alike

Nestled between the Appalachian Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau, Chattanooga is a nature lover’s dream with its extensive outdoor offerings. Both adrenaline seekers and casual adventurers will feel at home and can choose from hiking, biking, paddling, and climbing activities, among others. Chattanooga captivates residents and visitors alike with its pristine beauty and show-stopping vistas, but it’s the ability to become fully immersed in the natural surroundings that have so many flocking to the city. In fact, the Scenic City has been voted the “Best Town Ever” twice by Outside magazine, and Chattanooga has also been recognized for its ideal recreational landscape by Livability.

Parks and Greenways

With six state parks encompassing over 50,000 acres of streams, rivers, mountains, caves, and canyons, it’s no wonder that the Chattanooga area is a top outdoor destination. Just southwest of the city in Georgia, Cloudland Canyon State Park boasts 3,500 acres that include several wild caves and waterfalls, making it a hiking and caving paradise. In Apison, visitors will find the 263-acre Red Clay State Historic Park along with its Blue Hole Spring, and Harrison Bay State Park offers guests 1,200 acres to explore via trails and campsites or by boat. Booker T. Washington State Park spans 353 acres and offers activities such as boating, swimming, fishing, biking, and hiking. A short drive away, Cumberland Trail State Park is a narrow slice of protected land that cuts through 11 counties, and when complete, its trail system will extend 282 miles. Rounding out the local state parks is South Cumberland State Park, which spans over 30,000 acres. Touching parts of Franklin, Grundy, Marion, and Sequatchie counties, this park offers plenty of hiking, camping, and rock climbing opportunities, among other activities. In addition to state parks, visitors can also access Prentice Cooper State Forest, which boasts 25,000 acres and 35 miles of trails. For those who favor a paved walkway, the 16-mile Tennessee Riverwalk is a local favorite, and the trail network even ranked No. 6 on Fodor’s Travel’s 2021 list of 15 Best River Walks in the United States. Other notable greenways and parks include Enterprise South Nature Park, Wolftever Creek, North Chickamauga Creek Greenway, and South Chickamauga Creek Greenway. In 2021, a nearly three-decade-long project to connect the two existing portions of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway culminated, resulting in a 12-mile continuous trail that allows users to travel from the Tennessee Riverwalk to Camp Jordan. 

Hiking and Mountain Biking

Although the local- and state-run parks offer plenty of hiking opportunities, Chattanooga also provides residents and visitors with several independent trails to take advantage of. In fact, there are over 50 trailheads within 30 minutes from downtown. Local favorites for trail runners include Big Daddy Loop on Lookout Mountain, Stringers Ridge on the Northshore, and Mullens Cove Loop at Prentice Cooper, while those looking for a more scenic option will enjoy Signal Mountain’s Edward’s Point, Lookout Mountain’s Sunset Rock, and Prentice Cooper’s Snoopers Rock. Several waterfalls in the area – such as Glen Falls, Lula Falls, Falling Water Falls, and the Cherokee and Hemlock Falls in Cloudland Canyon – also have accompanying hiking trails. Fun for the whole family can be found at Greenway Farms, Cravens House, and Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, the latter of which even made it on the Fodor’s Travel list of 12 Most Beautiful Gardens in the American South. For those who prefer getting around on two wheels instead of two feet, there is no shortage of biking options in and around the Scenic City. Mountain bikers in the area frequent Raccoon Mountain, which encapsulates 30 miles of advanced and intermediate tracks. Other popular options for mountain biking include Five Points, Enterprise South Nature Park, Guild-Hardy trails, Stringers Ridge, and White Oak Mountain trails. 

Rock Climbing, Caving, and Deep Water Soloing

Thought by many to have some of the best sites in the country, Chattanooga is gaining notoriety among rock climbers. Soddy-Daisy’s Stone Fort, also known as Little Rock City, is one of three spots in the annual Triple Crown Bouldering Series competition, and the Tennessee Wall, located in Prentice Cooper, has more than 600 documented routes. Lookout Mountain’s Sunset Rock is a scenic option featuring over a dozen routes, and the Southeastern Climbers Coalition has plans to establish a public climbing area called Woodcock Cove that would offer an additional 60 routes with the potential for 100 more. For climbers who also love the water, the 50-foot cliff line at Lake Nickajack is perfect for deep water soloing, and Foster Falls is another premier option. Cavers, on the other hand, can explore more than 7,000 caves within an hour of Chattanooga, starting with Raccoon Mountain Caverns, which offers both wild cave and walking cavern tours, and visitors to the area won’t want to miss local icon Ruby Falls – the tallest and deepest public underground waterfall in the nation. 

Water and Air Adventures

The extensive outdoor opportunities don’t stop there. In addition to the plethora of hiking, biking, climbing, and caving activities, Chattanooga’s position on the Tennessee River and Chickamauga Lake means that there are plenty of recreational water activities to choose from as well. A 50-mile stretch of river traversing from Nickajack Dam to Chickamauga Dam offers seemingly endless access points for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. Fishing enthusiasts will delight in Chickamauga Lake, which has previously ranked among the best bass lakes in the nation according to Bassmaster magazine, and the nearby Hiwassee and Ocoee rivers are a great place for fly fishing, as well as whitewater rafting and kayaking. Some of the best views of the Scenic City, however, come from up above, and organizations such as Chattanooga Skydiving Company and Lookout Mountain Flight Park offer paragliding, hang gliding, skydiving, and more for thrill seekers.

Lula Lake Waterfall
Lula Falls at the Lula Land Trust
Climbing Tower at High Point ZIP Adventure at Ruby Falls