The 12 Best Casual Adventures in Chattanooga

20170607_Tennessee_Chattanooga_Julia Falls Overlook_Hiking4

Taking an epic, all-day trip into the great outdoors is one of the best things you can do—when you have the time and energy. All too often, though, busy schedules mean that micro-adventures requiring little to no preparation are more realistic.

And with manageable excursions around every corner, Chattanooga makes it easy to get your outdoor fix in small doses. Here are a few of our favorite effortless ways to get outside in Chattanooga—no maps or gear required.

1. Signal Point

Tucked into the cliffside in Signal Mountain’s historic district, Signal Point is the perfect destination for nature lovers and history buffs alike. From the parking lot, it’s only about a hundred yards down a gradual staircase to the first overlook, a spot was used by the Union to send communication signals during the Civil War. From here, you’ll have a clear view of the Tennessee River as it cuts through the steep gorge. Raccoon Mountain is also visible to the west.

2. Riverwalk Cycling

1HNuLWsowUO2YO668WKk0E
The Riverwalk is an easy way to enjoy a smooth bike ride.

Kathryn Crouch

Chattanooga’s Riverwalk is impressive both for its length and its scenery. The wide, paved path spans from St. Elmo to the Chickamauga Dam, passing directly through downtown along the way. The Riverwalk is almost entirely flat, making it manageable for all skill levels and ages, and it offers amenities such as restrooms, playgrounds, and picnic tables. A popular access point to the riverfront path is from the Bluff View Art District in the heart of downtown. Don’t have a bike? Pick one up at one of over 30 bikeshare docking stations and pedal to your heart’s content.

3. Reflection Riding Nature Center and Arboretum

Take a trip to this hidden gem for a relaxing day in a beautiful natural area. Located at the foot of Lookout Mountain, Reflection Riding offers 14 miles of hiking trails, a 3-mile scenic drive, calm water, wildlife, and much more. With more than 300 acres of beautiful meadows and forests—plus a native animal exhibit and vibrant gardens—Reflection Riding is a lovely place for people of all ages to spend a day outside.

4. Walnut Street Bridge and Coolidge Park

6MTGhUCMTuQ4eiu0W2wi2w
The Walnut Street Bridge, as seen here from Coolidge Park, offers excellent views of the Tennessee River.

The_Gut

Connecting the trendy NorthShore neighborhood to the lively downtown area, the Walnut Street Bridge is one of Chattanooga’s signature attractions. The blue-trussed bridge was constructed in 1890 and was once the longest pedestrian bridge in the world. Though it no longer holds that title, the beautiful bridge remains a favorite place for both locals and visitors to enjoy walking, running, and biking. Coolidge Park, located just below the Walnut Street Bridge on NorthShore, is a great spot to relax and cool off on the Tennessee riverfront after your stroll.

5. Outdoor Bars and Restaurants

For breakfast, lunch, dinner, or anything in between, Chattanooga restaurants are teeming with fantastic outdoor seating areas. For coffee, pastries, and café fare, visit the European-style cobblestone patio at Rembrandt’s Coffee House in the art district. At lunchtime, grab a seat outside of 1885 Grill for southern coastal cuisine and premium people-watching experience in the St. Elmo neighborhood. In the evening, have beers, burgers, and fried pickles on the rooftop deck of the Pickle Barrel, which overlooks the busy downtown Market Street. Or, for a slightly swankier outing, stop in at Beast and Barrel for cocktails on the back porch, which looks out over Coolidge Park.

6. Chattanooga Ducks

For a one-of-a-kind tour of the Scenic City, take a spin on the Chattanooga Ducks. The Ducks are amphibious military vehicles that offer a two-for-one tour of downtown and the Tennessee River. After an informative ride around some of the city’s main attractions, the Ducks coast right into the river for a trip around MacLellan Island and a unique view of the Tennessee Aquarium, the Hunter Museum, and the riverfront parks.

7. Sunset Rock

4bWACd4uKkUuyM2c2yA0uc
You only have to go a few steps for amazing views at Sunset Rock.

Kathryn Crouch

Another of Chattanooga’s most well-loved natural features, Sunset Rock is an easy-to-get-to panoramic overlook on Lookout Mountain. The parking lot is tiny, but if you manage to get a spot, it’s only a few steps to catch a gorgeous glimpse of Lookout Valley from Sunset Rock, which was also a key site during the Civil War. While it’s arguably the best place to watch a sunset in Chattanooga, this overlook is worth a visit any time of day.

8. Chattanooga Market

Every Sunday from May to November, vendors and artisans from around the region set up shop at the open air First Tennessee Pavilion for the Chattanooga Market. You’ll find gourmet cheese, local produce, craft beer, unique art, fresh popcorn, and much more among the market’s many aisles. Each week, there are an array of food trucks and local musicians, so you can easily make a day of your trip to the Chattanooga Market.

9. SUP on the Tennessee River

1ZOj89tbkwoyOoiCgSWQua
The Tennessee River has become a very popular place to go stand-up paddleboarding.

Jake Wheeler

If you’ve always wanted to try stand-up paddleboarding, there’s no better place than Chattanooga. With the Tennessee River flowing right through downtown, getting on the river couldn’t be easier. And because of this easy access, there are several places around town to rent gear and get instruction. Rock/Creek Rentals and Outpost on the Riverwalk offers a variety of SUPs and kayaks, and their knowledgeable staff will make sure you’re comfortable and confident before getting on the water. Similarly, L2 Outside on NorthShore offers SUP rentals and weekly guided paddles on the Tennessee River.

10. Montague Park

This little-known park on Chattanooga’s Southside is part green space and part outdoor art museum. As the largest sculpture park in the Southeast, Sculpture Fields is home to more than 35 pieces of gigantic outdoor art from sculptors around the world. With walking paths and acres of grass, Montague Park plays host to festivals, yoga classes, school field trips, and much more. It’s perfect for a picnic or a casual stroll among the sculptures.

11. North Chick Blue Hole

58ooKrK1ewgMwa2CGkQkkO
Take a dip at the North Chick Blue Hole on a hot summer day.

Kathryn Crouch

One of Chattanooga’s favorite swimming holes, the North Chick Blue Hole is an easy walk from the parking area near Soddy-Daisy. Large boulders in the creek act as natural dams to create several deep plunge pools, perfect for cooling off on a hot day. Though the area is heavily trafficked, especially in the summer, its location in the valley between Mowbray and Signal Mountains makes the North Chick Blue Hole feel like an oasis.

12. Southside Coffee Shop Crawl

Enjoying a cup of coffee at one of Chattanooga’s many cafés is always great, but enjoying it on the porch of one of the Southside’s quaint coffee shops is even better. Take a little tour of the coffee scene and experience the variety of relaxing patios at each one. Treat yourself to locally roasted coffee and fresh-baked bread on the stony patio at Niedlovs, sandwiches and a view of the bustling Chattanooga Choo Choo at the Frothy Monkey, and biscuits and house-roasted coffee at Mean Mug.

Written by Madison Eubanks for RootsRated Media in partnership with Chattanooga CVB.

Featured image provided by Kathryn Crouch

Weston Ski Track – Cross Country Skiing

Weston Ski Track

Intro

Weston Ski Track has great cross-country skiing for the whole family and beginners. Weston Ski Track offers a variety of trails. It has 9.3 miles of natural-snow trails, weather permitting, and 1.3 miles of trails in the snowmaking area. Here you will find four different tracks with various trail where you can enjoy, practice, and even take lessons on cross-country skiing without having to travel far from Boston. You won’t want to miss out on all the fun this place has to offer!

What Makes It Great

Weston Ski Track offers 1.5 miles of trails for a great cross-country skiing adventure in their snowmaking area. However, the trails expand to 9.3 miles of fun in their natural-snow trails with a good snow fall and with the help of their master groomers. When the entire ski area is open, there are four tracks in total. These tracks include John Hart Track, Red Tail Track, Coyote Track, and Fox Track. Each track is filled with different trails that loop and connect with one another. While on the tracks you can enjoy not only the fantastic activity of cross-country skiing, but also the beauty of the Charles River.

The track offers both adult and kid lessons. Adult lessons are 75 minutes classical or skate-skiing. During a classical lesson you will learn the basics of motions, turning, and negotiating small hills. During skate-skiing lessons you will learn the basics of weight transfer, edging, and V1 timing. There are also 75 minute kid lessons for age 6-10 where they will be introduced to the fun gliding on snow. Lessons are offered most weekends and holidays. Reservations recommended for the 10:30 am and 11:30 am lessons. Private lessons for children and adults are available as well. Weston Ski Track truly offers it all!

Who is Going to Love It

Families and friends will absolutely love cross-country skiing at Weston Ski Track. Skiers have four tracks to choose from and the various trail within them. The terrain in these tracks are fairly easy-moderate. Adding to the fun, the adult and kid lessons continue to make this place extremely beginner and family friendly. Or, if you want to learn in a more private setting, you can enjoy the private lessons offered by Weston Ski Track. There is truly something for everyone her and a lot to love about this place!

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Boston, Take the Mass Pike to exit 15. Stay left after the tollbooth. At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Park Road, following a sign for Route 16. Weston Ski Track is a quarter mile down the road on the left.

Hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 9 pm, Friday 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 6 pm. Parking is free, however, lessons and trail passes are $33 for adults, $29 for children ages 13-16, and $20 for children ages 11-12.

 

Written by Danielle LeBlanc for RootsRated.

Featured image provided by Elizabeth Lloyd

Weston Ski Track – Cross Country Skiing

Weston Ski Track

Intro

Weston Ski Track has great cross-country skiing for the whole family and beginners. Weston Ski Track offers a variety of trails. It has 9.3 miles of natural-snow trails, weather permitting, and 1.3 miles of trails in the snowmaking area. Here you will find four different tracks with various trail where you can enjoy, practice, and even take lessons on cross-country skiing without having to travel far from Boston. You won’t want to miss out on all the fun this place has to offer!

What Makes It Great

Weston Ski Track offers 1.5 miles of trails for a great cross-country skiing adventure in their snowmaking area. However, the trails expand to 9.3 miles of fun in their natural-snow trails with a good snow fall and with the help of their master groomers. When the entire ski area is open, there are four tracks in total. These tracks include John Hart Track, Red Tail Track, Coyote Track, and Fox Track. Each track is filled with different trails that loop and connect with one another. While on the tracks you can enjoy not only the fantastic activity of cross-country skiing, but also the beauty of the Charles River.

The track offers both adult and kid lessons. Adult lessons are 75 minutes classical or skate-skiing. During a classical lesson you will learn the basics of motions, turning, and negotiating small hills. During skate-skiing lessons you will learn the basics of weight transfer, edging, and V1 timing. There are also 75 minute kid lessons for age 6-10 where they will be introduced to the fun gliding on snow. Lessons are offered most weekends and holidays. Reservations recommended for the 10:30 am and 11:30 am lessons. Private lessons for children and adults are available as well. Weston Ski Track truly offers it all!

Who is Going to Love It

Families and friends will absolutely love cross-country skiing at Weston Ski Track. Skiers have four tracks to choose from and the various trail within them. The terrain in these tracks are fairly easy-moderate. Adding to the fun, the adult and kid lessons continue to make this place extremely beginner and family friendly. Or, if you want to learn in a more private setting, you can enjoy the private lessons offered by Weston Ski Track. There is truly something for everyone her and a lot to love about this place!

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Boston, Take the Mass Pike to exit 15. Stay left after the tollbooth. At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Park Road, following a sign for Route 16. Weston Ski Track is a quarter mile down the road on the left.

Hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 9 pm, Friday 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 6 pm. Parking is free, however, lessons and trail passes are $33 for adults, $29 for children ages 13-16, and $20 for children ages 11-12.

 

Written by Danielle LeBlanc for RootsRated.

Featured image provided by Elizabeth Lloyd