Spring Outdoors in Chattanooga
By now you probably know how outdoorsy Chattanooga is (and if you don’t, you’ve come to the right place!). We have more than 50 trailheads within 30 minutes of downtown and have been named Best Town Ever for our outdoors twice by Outside Magazine, but who’s really counting (okay, we are, clearly).
Spring is prime for outdoor adventuring, and we’ve curated some options to fit your interests. Let’s get going!
Downtown & Outdoors
You don’t have to travel far and wide to find outdoor experiences in Chattanooga. Who wants to get back in the car after you arrive? Exactly, no one.
Chattanooga is highly walkable and Bike Chattanooga’s 400 bikes and 42 stations make navigating on two wheels super easy and fun. Start with the Tennessee Riverpark for up to 16 miles of riding and dazzling spring blooms.
If you love strolling through parks, Miller Park in the center of downtown is a great stop.
Need more space? Coolidge Park and Renaissance Park offer 22 acres by the Tennessee River with gorgeous budding trees in spring (swoon!), open greenspace, picnic areas and ramps into the water.
On the NorthShore, Stringer’s Ridge is one of the closest wild areas to downtown. Walk, hike or mountain bike the trails. Or you could just pause at the overlook to enjoy spring’s main event – the greening of Chattanooga.
Chattanooga is one of the country’s premier outdoor destinations starting with the hiking trails that are just a stone's throw away from downtown. Here are few options to get you started:
If Fido is coming with you, try these: Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in and around Chattanooga.
If you want a challenge, go for: The 5 Toughest Hikes in Chattanooga.
If you’re bringing the whole family (duh!), then check out these routes: The 5 Best Family-Friendly Hikes in Chattanooga.
If you’re looking for awe-inspiring overlooks, eat your heart out: The 8 Best Scenic Overlooks in Chattanooga.
If you’re looking for a more gentle stroll and wildlife viewing, we’ve got more than 300+ acres for you: Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center.
Cruising & Paddling
Walking across the Walnut Street Bridge on any given day in Spring and you’re bound to see the bright colors of paddleboard and kayaks dotting the Tennessee River (now get down there and join ‘em!).
When you’re ready to get on the water, rent a kayak or paddleboard at L2 Outside or an electric surf or body board from Adventure Sports Innovation in Coolidge Park.
Would you rather cruise instead? No pressure. We get it. Float the Tennessee River and relax on a lunch, dinner or sightseeing cruise aboard the Southern Belle Riverboat or tour the city and river on Chattanooga Ducks, an authentic WWII amphibious landing craft.
Better yet – grab your reel, rod and crew and reserve a trip with Scenic City Fishing Charters (Psst. We’ve got more fishing options here.)
Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Just kidding. We totally want you to and we’ve got lots of ideas for your waterfall-chasing heart.
If you want one easy and close to downtown, Foster Falls is one of the most breathtaking with a deep plunge pool at its base.
If you’d like a waterfall that doesn’t scare you half to death when your kids go scrambling up it (ya, we know how they do), then Glenn Falls is our pick.
If you want to hit up a bunch of waterfalls in one day, then you must peruse our list of the 10 Best Waterfalls Near Chattanooga.
The cool kids just know, but Chattanooga is totally an outdoor mecca for rock climbing. Our humble town is located where the foothills of the Appalachian and the Cumberland Plateau meet, creating a climber’s paradise.
If you’re just getting into climbing, we recommend beginning at High Point Climbing downtown, then venture out to the cliffs and crags surrounding Chattanooga.
Ready to tackle one of the best boulder fields in the country? Head to Stone Fort (also known as Little Rock City). This climbing destination has placed Chattanooga in the national bouldering limelight because of its killer sandstone and outstanding lines.
Stone Fort makes our list of 5 Best Places to Rock Climb in and around Chattanooga. Be sure to check out the rest.
Give Me More Outdoors
For all other experiences, see our outdoors section and filter by your favorite activity.