For a day filled with food, fresh air, and family fun, few places can offer more than Chattanooga’s beautiful and diverse Riverwalk. Spanning 16.1 miles along the southern banks of the Tennessee River, the paved path lets you immerse yourself in nature, culture, and cuisine all in one family-friendly adventure. With a variety of restaurants and activities dotted along its length, you can spend a fabulous day exploring the Riverwalk no matter the season of your visit.
How to access the Riverwalk
There are dozens of places to connect to the Riverwalk throughout Chattanooga. We’ve mapped official trailheads, as well as other access points on this map. We’ve also included a layer to show Bike Chattanooga stations convenient to the Riverwalk so that you can easily explore by bicycle!
While the map doesn’t specifically call out parking lots, all of the official trailheads have plenty of parking spaces, and if you’re accessing from the Downtown area, there are plenty of pay-to-park options nearby.
Occasionally, the Riverwalk breaks briefly and finding the best way to reconnect can be tricky. Here’s a short guide to help you navigate the paths near the Hunter Museum in the Bluff View Art District.
The Riverwalk also connects easily with the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway near the Chickamauga Dam, offering 9 more miles of paved paths.
Explore the River
The Riverwalk has two boat ramps for launching onto the Tennessee River. Bring your own watercraft or rent them from L2 Outside near Coolidge Park or Rock/Creek on Amnicola Highway. If you’re feeling more adventurous, Adventure Sports Innovation rents all sorts of electric equipment like eFoil surfboards, electric paddleboards, and water bikes.
For many, a Riverwalk adventure starts near the Tennessee Aquarium. From its location on Broad Street, you can travel south through Chattanooga’s industrial path (think: scrapyards, old foundry sites, and manufacturing businesses) or uphill to the Bluff View Art District towards a secluded, scenic section of the Riverwalk.
To venture up to Bluff View, you can cross the modern Holmberg Bridge or switchback your way up the zig-zag sidewalk to the front steps of the Hunter Museum of American Art. If you don’t have time for a full tour of the museum, you can satisfy yourself by ooh-ing and ahh-ing over its outdoor artwork.
While here, don’t miss the great views of the historic Walnut Street Bridge that spans the Tennessee River and connects downtown to the funky Northshore neighborhood. It’s one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges and its eye-catching blue trusses make for great photo opportunities.
Continuing on past the Hunter Museum of American Art, follow the road upriver and into the Bluff View Art District, where you can take a stroll through the Bluff View Sculpture Garden. From here, you can regain access to the Riverwalk via the blue footbridge. Next, you’ll pass through the historic Battery Place Neighborhood, lined with beautiful old trees and waterfront homes, before dropping down to the riverside.
Because of the Riverwalk’s many access points, including several parking lots along Amnicola Highway, you can make your time on the Riverwalk as long or short as you want. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can follow its entire length to the terminus at the Chickamauga Dam. You’ll pass the Manker Patten Tennis Club, Scrappy Moore Field (where the Chattanooga Mocs Football Team practices), William G. Raoul Rowing Center, Fishing Park and Amnicola Marsh. Chances are you’ll encounter a variety of birds and other wildlife along the way.
Food and Drinks
A latté from Rembrandt’s Coffee House is a great way to get in gear for your grand day on the Riverwalk. The quaint Euro-style coffee shop is at the heart of the Bluff View Art District, which is also home to Tony’s Pasta Shop and Trattoria, where you can indulge in some authentic Italian cuisine. While there, you’re likely to follow your nose into the Bluff View Bakery for a loaf (or two!) of freshly made artisan bread. After winding your way north along the Riverwalk for about a mile, you’ll encounter the famed Boathouse Rotisserie and Raw Bar, Chattanooga’s iconic riverfront seafood restaurant. If you head South from the Tennessee Aquarium, check out Scottie's on the River for great food and drinks with a spectacular riverfront view.
Another of the Riverwalk’s shining offerings is the array of amenities found along its many miles like the Bike Chattanooga stations (rent a standard or e-bike to ride the whole Riverwalk). The paved surface makes the Riverwalk accessible to anyone, regardless of age or ability, while its great length makes challenges available for those who seek them. Seven handicap-accessible restrooms are along the path, and they’re all equipped with water fountains. The entire path is lighted and patrolled by security 24 hours per day. Every half mile is marked with a bronze fish embedded in the middle of the path, and every mile is marked with a unique sculpture, so it’s easy to know where you are and how far you’ve come. You’ll also find picnic tables, shelters, playgrounds and about six fishing piers, three of which are handicap accessible. If the natural scenery and landscaping isn’t enough, you can admire the sculptures and public artwork at the Blue Goose Hollow trailhead along the Riverwalk.
No matter what time of year you choose to visit the Scenic City, Chattanooga’s Riverwalk park is here to guide you on the perfect walking, biking, rollerblading or running tour of the many attractions that make the city great. Whether you choose a quick picnic by the river or a full-length tour of the path’s abundant appeals, the Riverwalk is an unbeatable way to explore the ins and outs of Chattanooga.