It should come as no surprise that Chattanooga, set in the rolling foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, is a destination for outdoor adventure. Whether you're conquering the rapids on the wild Ocoee River, exploring canyons filled with waterfalls along a scenic trail, taking a leisurely bike ride through an urban park, or soaring high above it all on a hang glider, the possibilities for unforgettable natural fun are virtually endless. Explore the land, water, and sky around Chattanooga with these incredible experiences.
Cloudland Canyon State Park is a short drive over the border into Georgia. Located on the western side of Lookout Mountain, it's one of the finest parks in Georgia... and maybe even the whole South. There are plenty of hikes that offer all different kinds of views: Overlook Trail is a quick stroll out to a scenic viewpoint; the West Rim Loop is a bit longer and features endless jaw-dropping scenery from above and below the canyon and even passes a cave; and the strenuous Waterfall Trail takes you deep into the gorge and past two secluded cascades-- Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls. Further pass the time with guided spelunking tours (during select months), horseback riding, biking, fishing, and disc golf. It's worth it to camp out (or rent a cabin or yurt) to fully immerse yourself in the serene beauty of the park.
For the very best view of Chattanooga, book an experience at Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding. Seeing the town and forest-covered hills of Southern Tennessee from above is an opportunity like none other! Lookout Mountain Hang Gliding is the place to go, whether you're an experienced hang glider or a newbie looking to learn the ropes. If you've never hang glided before, they offer a day-long course that teaches you how to operate a hang glider in a safe and controlled environment, where you'll fly 5-10 feet off the ground. Then, later in the day, you and an instructor will take a tandem flight 1,500-3,000 feet in the air. If you're already an expert, stop into their pro shop and take advantage of their stellar flight park, which boasts a highly-advanced concrete radial ramp. If you don't have a full day to dedicate to learning how to pilot a hang glider yourself, it's super fun to hang out and watch the pilots soaring through the air as well.
If you prefer your hikes with a side of history and a dash of scenery, then check out Point Park. This 10-acre patch of land overlooks the Lookout Mountain Battlefield, the site of a crucial Civil War engagement, and offers a sweeping view of the city of Chattanooga and Moccasin Bend. Explore the park to find various memorials and monuments, including Point Park's largest, the New York Peace Memorial, a gift from the state of New York meant to symbolize the peace and reconciliation between the Union and the Confederacy after the war. Also check out the Ochs Memorial Observatory and the Visitor Center, which offers exhibits on Civil War photography and information on the campaign for Chattanooga.
If the mountains around Chattanooga inspire you to get climbing, High Point Climbing and Fitness is a must-stop. With 30,000 square feet of climbable space, you're sure to find walls that match your skill level. Beginners can get their feet wet on auto-belay walls or the bouldering course, while more advanced climbers can tackle the adjustable wall. High Point is also a fitness center, with classes, aerobic machines, a weight room, and more. Basically, they have everything you could ever need to get yourself in shape for exploring and adventuring around Chattanooga... and you'll have a blast while you get fit.
If bicycles are your preferred mode of exploration, then head to the Chattanooga Riverwalk. The 10-mile-long trail follows the Tennessee River, starting near Ross's Landing and ending at the Chickamauga Dam. The path is well-lit, wide and spacious, perfect for those looking to take a stroll or ride bikes. Bike rental stations can be found along the way. As you travel along the path, you can enjoy lush landscaping, public art, and river views. You'll also find plenty of drinking fountains, bathrooms, benches, picnic spots, and even fishing piers along the way.
Tennessee is known for its incredible whitewater rafting, and you'll find plenty of outfitters to help you hit the rivers around Chattanooga. Ocoee Rafting is one of the best, offering action-packed trips for rafters of all skill levels between April and October. If you're daring, tackle the Upper Ocoee River, which was the site of the 1996 Olympic Whitewater competition, or take it easy on the Class III & IV whitewater rapids of the Middle Ocoee River, which takes you through features with names like Grumpy’s, Double Trouble, Broken Nose, Diamond Splitter, and Table Saw. For a full day of whitewater fun, take a trip through both the Upper and Middle portions of the river.
As you tackle challenging climbs, battle your way through world-class whitewater rapids, launch yourself high above the hills, or hike into a waterfall-filled canyon, you just might find yourself falling in love with the wild natural fun around Chattanooga. The beauty and fun here could turn even the most hesitant beginner into an adventurous outdoorsman, all while offering views of some of the country's most breathtaking landscapes.
Welcome to Chattanooga! Also known as Scenic City, it's the perfect blend of small-town charm and big city fun. Chattanooga's picturesque location and Southern soul give it a unique atmosphere. Explore its offbeat side, experience its history, or explore the boundless outdoor adventure available.