Top Swimming Holes Near Chattanooga

Swimming holes are what southeastern summers are all about. And while the Chattanooga area is home to some seriously incredible places to take a natural dip, it’s also home to plenty of private land with a number of tricky access issues. So, disclaimer: It’s likely that your favorite Chattanooga swimming hole won’t appear on this list. That said, even though some of the swimming holes mentioned below require a bit more drive time than others, they’re all totally worth the effort in the end—especially on hot and humid summer days.  

Here’s a sampling of some of our favorite places in the Chattanooga area to (legally) cool off if you prefer your swimming pools to be of the natural persuasion. 

North Chick Blue Hole 

First, an obvious one: North Chick Blue Hole. Just 20 minutes from downtown Chattanooga in nearby Soddy Daisy, North Chickamauga Creek comes tumbling down the side of Walden’s Ridge, carving out a steep gorge between Signal and Mowbray mountains, and creating a series of deep, welcoming pools along the way. 

The creek is littered with boulders that foster several different little pockets of swimming holes, so hike up the creek until you find the perfect spot. Like any great swimming hole, there are rocks to jump from—or for the less adventurous, to sunbathe on. 

Foster Falls 

Man sits in front of Foster Falls by Ryan Maum

Located about 40 minutes from downtown Chattanooga, Foster Falls is one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in the state of Tennessee. And for swimming hole enthusiasts, the deep plunge pool at the base of the 60-foot drop is about as good as it gets. A short hike combining the climber’s loop trail with the Fiery Gizzard Trail atop the cliffs is a great way to work up a sweat before taking a summer dip. And while this place can get pretty crowded during the summer months, it’s popular for a reason. Seriously awesome spot! 

Lula Lake (Sort of) 

Disclaimer: You cannot, we repeat, CANNOT swim in Lula Lake itself. But farther down the trail from the turquoise waters of the lake, Rock Creek spills over the side of a precipitous cliff, creating the gorgeous 110-foot Lula Falls. Lula Falls lacks the deep plunge pool found at some of the other large waterfalls in the area, instead smashing down onto large boulders and flat bedrock. So, we wouldn’t exactly call it “swimming” per se, but a nice summertime staple is standing below the falls, sliding on your behind on the slick rocks below, and letting the water smack down on your head and shoulders with cold, refreshing, erratic claps. Obviously, be smart about it. 

If the falls are flowing at an especially powerful rate, it’s probably not wise to stand underneath them. But during the dry summer months, you normally shouldn’t have anything to worry about. The Lula Lake Land Trust opens its gates on the first and last weekends of each month and a reservation is required to visit. 

Lula Lake Land Trust_Spring

You'll like these too.

Best Nearby Scenic Overlooks

Nestled in a valley amid stooped southeastern mountains, Chattanooga has plenty of places to get up high and check out the amazing scenery for miles around. The area is absolutely teeming with...

Heart-Pumping Outdoor Adventures

Looking for a Chattanooga adventure that's sure to get your adrenaline going? Let us inspire you!

Guide to Chattanooga's Riverpark

For a day filled with food, fresh air, and family fun, few places can offer more than Chattanooga’s beautiful and diverse Riverpark. Spanning more than 20 miles along the banks of the Tennessee...

Great Waterfalls Near Chattanooga

East Tennessee has no shortage of breathtaking waterfalls. With so many options, we’ve decided to put together a list of the largest and most spectacular outdoor waterfalls in the area....

Becoming the Best Outdoor City

Chattanooga local Dawson Wheeler, co-founder of Rock Creek and the Day Fire Podcast, shares a little more about his passion for the outdoors. 

Magazine Sponsors