Come Out and Play!
Outdoor Chattanooga News + Events August 2020
As we continue to navigate these difficult and uncertain times, our newsletter continues to evolve. The community events and activities we typically highlight in our newsletter have been replaced with videos and information on how to experience the outdoors safely and responsibly during the on-going health crisis. With confirmed case counts and hospitalizations still on the rise in our county, we are still relying on our social media outlets to stay connected. And our website continues to be a great resource for how to experience the great outdoors in the greater Chattanooga area. We hope you'll continue to follow along and that these efforts inspire you to maintain and healthy and active lifestyle until we can get back together again.
Outdoor Chattanooga's Virtual Programs +
Local Adventure Spotlight
Chattanooga's Coolest Places to Paddle
We hear it all the time,"it's too hot outside!" We feel you! That's why we've compiled a list of the coolest places to paddle near Chattanooga so you can cool off while also taking in some spectacular scenery. If you get out and give this local adventure a try, be sure to snap a photo and tag @outdoorchatt on instagram and Facebook to be featured in our feed.
Free parking and launch site
Located 25 minutes from Chattanooga, Chester Frost County Park contains a power boat launch, boat docks and ramps, a swim beach, fishing piers, group picnic facilities, an indoor pavilion, and a developed campground for RV, tent, and group camping on the shores of Chickamauga Lake. The Park is operated by Hamilton County.

Chickamauga Day Use Area - Free parking and launch site
Chickamauga Dam was built by TVA in 1940 north of Chattanooga on the Tennessee River to help control flooding in the city. The reservoir is named after a tribe of Native Americans that broke away from the Cherokee Nation in the 1700s. They lived in villages along North Chickamauga Creek, which joins the river just below Chickamauga Dam. Now the river contributes to the city's economy as a major artery for barge traffic and outdoor recreation. The day use area at Chickamauga Dam includes a beach with a roped off swim area, a pavilion, numerous picnic tables with grills, a playground, 2 boat ramps and 2 restrooms.

Free - boat launch + other amenities
The 353-acre Booker T. Washington State Park is the closest Tennessee State Park to downtown Chattanooga. Located on a hilly peninsula that juts into Chickamauga Lake, the scenic park is a perfect location for family outings. The park offers a swimming pool, pavilion picnic areas, a playground, multiple fishing piers, a boat ramp and 6-miles of hiking and biking trails.

Free - Marina and several launch points
Designated Tennessee’s first state park in 1937, Harrison Bay State Park is a 1,200-acre park located off Hwy 58, just 25 minutes from Chattanooga. This beautiful wooded park is a haven for campers, golfers, boaters, and anglers, as well as picnickers and other day-use visitors. With almost 40 miles of shoreline on Chickamauga Lake, it has one of the most complete marina facilities available on any of the TVA lakes and all types of boats and watercraft are allowed at the park.

Free - multiple launch points
The Hiwassee River Blueway offers 55 miles of adventure in Southeast Tennessee. Extending from the Appalachia Dam near the border of North Carolina to the Tennessee River at Blythe’s Ferry in Birchwood, the wide river is well known for its water-based recreational opportunities including tubing, kayaking, rafting, and fishing.
The Nantahala is well known for it's bone chilling cold waters! You'd be hard pressed to find colder waters in the Southeast! If you do, let us know! We want to take you on a virtual rafting trip down the Nantahala River! After you watch this video, we encourage you to go give it a try before the season ends! Nantahala Outdoor Center is the main outfitters on the river and has implemented plenty of COVID precautions. Find more details in the description of the video.
Free - spectacular wildlife experience
The Nickajack Cave Wildlife Refuge is a sanctuary for the endangered gray bats to raise their young. It also provides a spectacular wildlife viewing opportunity each evening at sunset from May to September when hundreds of thousands of gray bats emerge for their nightly feeding. The boat launch at Maple View Public Use area allows for easy access by paddle craft to the mouth of the cave, which provides the best vantage point for viewing the bats. This video highlights that launch and public use area.
Free - Greenway Farm Park
There are two public canoe/kayak launch points at the Greenway Farm Park which makes this park a perfect location for families and beginners in any type of paddle craft to enjoy an afternoon paddle along the 2.5-mile stretch that bends around the park's peninsula. Creek levels can fluctuate due to water releases from TVA’s Chickamauga Dam on the Tennessee River. Be aware of release schedules before launching.

Fees vary depending on the outfitter selected and type of paddling
Just an hour's drive from Chattanooga, the Ocoee River is known as the site of the 1996 Summer Olympics. Today, it's the most commercially rafted river in the U.S. with an average of 200,000 visitors each year. The river offers a variety of paddling options for all skill levels, ages and outdoor enthusiasts. If you're an adrenaline seeker, raft the upper or middle Ocoee with an experienced outfitter. If you're seeking a peaceful paddle, check out Parksville Lake or float down the lower Ocoee.

Free - multiple launch points
The South Chickamauga Creek is a quiet paddler’s retreat flowing through Chattanooga’s thriving industrial core. It's also part of the Tennessee River Blueway and Chattanooga Area Water Trails System. The creek is navigable from Graysville Road (Ringgold, GA) to its confluence with the Tennessee River. There are several boat launches that give paddlers a variety of options for both short and long day paddling trips. The section from Sterchi Farm Park upriver or downriver for 4 miles is a perfect beginner paddle.

Multiple Launch points- mostly free
Designated as a National Scenic River Trail in 2002, the Tennessee River Blueway flows through Chattanooga and the Tennessee River Gorge for 46 miles, from Chickamauga to Nickajack Dam. The Blueway’s unique paddling experience offers kayakers, canoeists, and paddleboarders the opportunity to visit wildlife preserves and camp primitively on public lands or stay in downtown hotels and take advantage of urban amenities. The Tennessee River flows through the heart of downtown Chattanooga’s thriving entertainment district and then continues through the high, forested walls of the river gorge, where towering bluffs and protected forests provide miles of spectacular paddling.

Community Events + Experiences
Perseids 2020 Meteor Shower
The Perseids meteor shower will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere between July 17 and August 24 under clear, dark skies; with the peak set to occur overnight August 11 to August 12. Due to a half-moon present, skywatchers will be able to see about 20 meteors per hour. The best way to see the meteor shower? Find a dark location with clear skies between midnight and dawn, lie on your back and look straight up. Allow 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark. The Perseids appear to radiate from the constellation Perseus which is visible in the northeastern sky 3 hours before sunrise. According to NASA, the Perseids have been observed for about 2,000 years and the source of the annual meteor shower is the debris trail left behind comet Swift-Tuttle.

Outdoor Chattanooga's Advice for Coping with COVID-19
We are still navigating a major health crisis in this country with confirmed cases, hospitalizations and deaths still on the rise here in Chattanooga and across the state. Many cities and counties have mandated face coverings in public spaces to reduce infection rates. We strongly believe the outdoors is the safest place to be during this health crisis for a multitude of reasons and we encourage you to get outside and recreate as a way to maintain your physical and mental well-being. We just kindly ask you to recreate responsibly and be considerate of those who are more vulnerable than you to infection by staying close to home and avoiding long distance travel. Avoid crowded trails, swimming holes, crags, rivers, lakes, recreation areas and campgrounds. The outdoors is a safe place to be when we all practice good judgement, frequent hand washing, social distancing of at least 6ft with others, and wearing a face covering when in close contact with others. We ask that you self quarantine if you've come in contact with someone who has tested positive or you yourself are experiencing symptoms. We want everyone to continue to enjoy the great outdoors long after we've safely made it out of the COVID-19 woods. 🏕️🌳🥾
P.S. Please continue to practice Leave No Trace Principles during COVID-19.
Outdoor Chattanooga | 423.643.6888 | |