It’s no secret that Chattanoogans love their diverse collection of local parks. From the refreshing leafiness of urban green spaces to the rich history of a Civil War battlefield, the array of parks in this city leaves nothing to be desired. Whether you experience just one of them or a handful, you’ll quickly find out that each of Chattanooga’s parks offers its visitors something genuinely unique. You’ll easily find everything from a casual stroll to a thrilling bike ride to a panoramic view.
Here are a few of our favorite parks, along with the best things to do in each.
1. The Riverwalk
This linear riverfront park originates in the heart of downtown and offers visitors about 13 miles of flat, smooth pavement for biking, walking, and running. Rent a bike from Chattanooga’s bike-share program and explore the Riverwalk’s many natural and urban attractions.
2. Point Park
Situated atop Lookout Mountain, Point Park is home to one of Chattanooga’s most iconic overlooks. This memorial military park has a paved walkway that tours several Civil War monuments, including the New York Peace Memorial, which symbolizes reconciliation between the Union and the Confederacy.
3. Chickamauga Battlefield
In addition to being full of Civil War history, the Chickamauga Battlefield Military Park is an excellent place for biking, walking, and scenic driving. The park’s woods and open meadows are peppered with war monuments, and the visitor center offers a full account of the region’s Civil War significance.
4. Renaissance Park
Located in Chattanooga’s charming NorthShore neighborhood, Renaissance Park is a lovely spot for walking, biking, and picnicking. This riverfront park has a wilder, more natural feel than other downtown green spaces, making it a wonderful little oasis for urban explorers. Don’t forget to take a trip down the cardboard sledding hill while you’re there.
5. Audubon Acres
As one of the city’s wildlife sanctuaries, Audubon Acres is home to beautiful hardwood forests and variety of birds. You can also access South Chickamauga Creek. You’ll find Native American history, family-friendly walking trails, wildflowers, and much more at this peaceful park on the outskirts of Chattanooga.
6. Missionary Ridge
Another of Chattanooga’s military parks, Missionary Ridge marked a significant turning point in Chattanooga’s Civil War history. Now, the ridge hosts eight reservations and monuments commemorating the battle that was fought there. For history buffs, this area is a must-visit during a trip to Chattanooga.
7. Stringers Ridge
If you’re looking for a quick transition from city to trail, NorthShore’s Stringers Ridge is just the place. With about seven miles of singletrack and a fabulous overlook of downtown, Stringers is a favorite for both locals and visitors who want to sneak in a hike, run, or bike ride close to town.
8. Signal Point
Located in the historic section of Signal Mountain, this site was one of the only pieces of high ground under Union control during the Civil War. Today, Signal Point is better known for its magnificent view of the Tennessee River Gorge and its access to beautiful bluffside hiking trails.
9. Ross’s Landing
With playful fountains and views of the Tennessee River and the Aquarium, Ross’s Landing is like a miniature water park in the middle of downtown. This site is known as the beginning of the Trail of Tears for the Cherokee who inhabited the riverfront, and it features artwork that symbolizes Native American life there.
10. Maclellan Island
This 18-acre wildlife sanctuary sits right in the middle of the Tennessee River as it flows through downtown Chattanooga. Park your paddleboard or kayak on the beach and explore the island’s beaches, hiking trails, and picnic areas. With advance reservations, you can even spend the night camping on the wild, primitive island.
11. Moccasin Bend
Having seen 12,000 years of continuous human inhabitants, Moccasin Bend is designated as a National Archeological District by the park service. The most popular way to experience the park is to take a bike ride out to the tip of the Moccasin Bend "peninsula," which is created by a spectacular U-turn in the Tennessee River.
12. Miller Plaza
Located in the growing MLK neighborhood of downtown Chattanooga, Miller Plaza hosts all sorts of events like holiday markets, concerts, and even weddings. It’s outdoor area and modern Waterhouse Pavilion are perfect for an urban picnic in the midst of your downtown adventures.
13. Montague Park
This little-known park happens to be the Southeast’s largest sculpture garden. Take your time and admire more than 30 colossal outdoor sculptures along the walking path that meanders throughout the grassy park.
14. Enterprise South Nature Park
Fifteen miles of flowy singletrack, wooded walking paths, and plenty of wildlife make Enterprise South a local favorite for outdoor adventure—especially mountain biking. The park, located about 20 minutes outside of Chattanooga, was an ammunition storage facility during WWII, and remnants of the many bunkers can still be found throughout the area.
15. Coolidge Park
Another of Chattanooga’s gorgeous riverfront parks, Coolidge Park is a picture-perfect place to enjoy an afternoon of picnicking, lounging, and outdoor games. The park features a working antique carousel, snow-cone vendors, and an interactive splash fountain, so it’s sure to be a favorite among the little ones in your group.
16. Greenway Farms
Greenway Farms, located in Hixson, is popular for its great off-leash dog park and easy walking trails. Visitors can also rent canoes and kayaks from Outdoor Chattanooga’s outpost at the park and paddle on the beautiful and calm South Chickamauga Creek.
17. Chester Frost Park
This family-friendly park is about as close to a beach experience as you can find in the Chattanooga area. Situated on the shore of a large bay off of the Tennessee River, Chester Frost Park offers calm waters for swimming, paddling, and playing. Rock/Creek provides on-site kayak and SUP rentals at Chester Frost throughout the summer.
18. Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center
With a three-mile scenic driving loop, beautiful walking trails, and a native animal exhibit, Reflection Riding might be one of Chattanooga’s best-kept secrets. The certified arboretum is tucked at the base of Lookout Mountain and frequently hosts movie nights, guided hikes, and other educational programs on its picturesque grounds.