Come Out and Play!
Outdoor Chattanooga Events + News
November 2020
This has been a tough year y'all, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight! With the upcoming elelction, holidays approaching and COVID cases on the rise again, we hope you're finding healthy ways to deal with the stress of 2020! Getting outside has been our saving grace this year and we hope you are making outdoor play a priority as well. We also hope this newsletter serves as a friendly reminder to take a break from the screen, go outside, take a deep breath of fresh air, and connect with nature!
Outdoor Chattanooga Programs
We need your help! Traditionally, we teach "classroom based" winter workshops but with COVID lingering longer than anyone wants, we likely won't be able to teach in person workshops. As we reimagine what our workshops will look like in the COVID era, we wanted to get feedback from YOU, our loyal readers! So, please take a moment to select the outdoor topics/skills that you'd like to learn about so we can help you get out there recreating safely and joyfully! Pick from the list below or submit your own idea to
What outdoor skill do you want to learn most?
Choose the outdoor skill(s) that interests you most!
Basic Bike Maintenance
Camping 101
Fishing 101
Hiking 101
Hunting Basics
Intro to Backpacking
Intro to Bikepacking
Intro to Paddlesports
Map & Compass Navigation
Wilderness Survival Skills
Monday, Nov. 2 & 9 | 4:00-5:30 PM
Learn how to ride a bicycle in as little as one class with Outdoor Chattanooga's experienced instructors. Gain the skills and confidence to get out there riding on your own! FREE classes offered the 1st and 2nd Monday at 4 PM. Ages 5+. Bikes, helmets, and instruction provided. Online reservations required in advance. Call 423-643-6888 to learn more.
Intro to Mountain Biking - Guided Trail Rides
Wednesday, Nov. 4 | 3-5 PM or Saturday, Nov. 15 | 2-4 PM
Mountain biking is a fun way to exercise and connect with nature. If you're curious about leaving the asphalt behind and gearing up for the trails, these Intro to Mountain Biking Guided Trail Rides are for you! Learn the fundamentals of mountain biking from our experienced instructors through skills demonstration and practice on singletrack trail. Prior mountain biking experience isn't required to participate, but you must be able to ride a bike confidently. Don't have a mountain bike? No problem. We have mountain bikes for use at no additional cost so you can decide if this sport is for you before making a big investment. Appropriate for ages 10+. Cost: $10 per person. Mountain bikes, helmets, and instruction provided. Register Online
Bike Tour on South Chick Greenway Trail
November 11 | 12:00 - 2:00 PM
Join Outdoor Chattanooga for a leisurely paced bicycle tour along a section of the South Chickamauga Greenway Trail. The 8-mile round-trip bike tour travels over the boardwalk and bridge, through hickory-oak forests, marshy areas, and neighborhoods to Sterchi Farm City Park offering scenic views of South Chickamauga Creek along the way. The tour is rated as easy to moderate and family-friendly. Bring your own bike or borrow one of ours for free. Our bikes are provided by grants from Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga and appropriate for riders 5ft or taller. Children must be able to confidently ride a bike for the distance-no training wheels allowed. Appropriate for ages 12+. Helmets are required for all riders. Online reservations required in advance.
Sandhill Crane Kayak Tours
November 14 & December 5 | 9:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Join Outdoor Chattanooga for a guided and equipped kayak tour at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge. The Hiwassee Refuge is located at the confluence of the Tennessee and Hiwassee Rivers about one hour north of Chattanooga. The group will explore the perimeter of the 400-acre Hiwassee Island in search of wildlife with Outdoor Chattanooga's experienced guides. The wildlife refuge area attracts a variety of birds due to its combination of cultivated, forested, and interior wetlands.

All kayak equipment and the guided tour is included in the price of $45 per person. We utilize sit-in style kayaks that have a weight limit of 250lbs. Previous kayak experience is helpful, but not necessary to participate. Appropriate for ages 16 and up when accompanied by a participating adult. Registration and payment are required in advance as space is limited.

Historical Bike Tour on South Chick Greenway Trail
November 21 | 1:00-3:00 PM
We're partnering with the National Park Partners and local historian, Greg Grant, to offer an easy 4-mile historical bike tour along the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway. We will follow the advancement of Union forces under General William T. Sherman from the Tennessee River up South Chickamauga Creek as they move to attack Missionary Ridge during the Civil War. We will also learn about and explore the Cherokee Trail of Tears Crossing of South Chickamauga Creek as well as some of the early railroad history in the Chattanooga area. This tour is appropriate for ages 15+. Bring your own bike or borrow one of ours for free. Our bikes are provided by grants from Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga and appropriate for riders 5ft or taller. Children must be able to confidently ride a bike for the distance-no training wheels allowed. Helmets are required for all riders. Online reservations required in advance.
Local Outdoor Adventure Spotlight
The Need for Kids in Parks

In our modern society, humans have become increasingly disengaged with nature, spending less time in parks and outdoor spaces, while spending more time “plugged-in” to electronics. Studies show that on average kids spend 7.65 hours per day “plugged-in” and only 7 minutes per day in unstructured outdoor play. In the general population childhood obesity rates continue to rise, with one in three children being classified as overweight or obese, while visits to parks continue to decline. The Kids in Parks program exists to address these trends by getting kids “unplugged” and physically active in parks for their own health and the health of our parks, and is nationally recognized by professionals as a cost-effective intervention to address these issues. Kids in Parks encourages and supports active family engagement, increases trail use, introduces recreational opportunities available in parks, forests and communities, and creates a network that offers an almost unlimited variety of experience.
There is clear evidence that children benefit from spending time in nature, and these benefits are dramatic and long lasting. Studies show increased brain activity and higher SAT scores when children play in natural settings, and research links a lower incidence of bullying, ADHD, and depression in kids that play outside. Increased physical activity decreases obesity, diabetes, ADHD, and other physical and mental ailments that are becoming common with today’s sedentary lifestyle. Likewise, parks benefit when people use them. Finding ways to create stronger connections between children and parks cultivates current and future stewards who understand the value of our public lands. These stewards can be advocates for protecting our public lands from current and future threats.
While there are many parks, trails and outdoor areas already accessible to both urban and rural families, hiking and other outdoor activities are often perceived to be too difficult, potentially dangerous, or unexciting to newcomers. Kids in Parks is a proven program that gets beginners outside using a network of TRACK Trails established through partnerships with municipal, state, federal, and other partners to provide introductory level, family-friendly trails that are equipped with self-guided materials designed to make the experience more educational, enjoyable, and fun.
Kids in Parks
Get unplugged. Get Outdoors. Get Cool Prizes!
Kids in Parks offers an expanding network of family-friendly outdoor adventures called TRACK Trails. Each TRACK Trail features self-guided brochures and signs that turn your visit into a fun and exciting outdoors experience. Best of all, you can earn PRIZES for tracking your adventures! 
TRACK Trails are hiking trails, biking trails, geocaching trails, paddling trails, nature trails, disc golf courses, and even adventures you can do in your own back yard! In addition to getting prizes in the mail, you can TRACK your adventures in your own online nature journal and see how many trails you’ve visited, how many miles you’ve hiked, and more. What are you waiting for? Sign up today and begin a lifetime of adventure in the great outdoors!
One of the closest TRACK trail adventures to Chattanooga is located at the Chilhowee Recreation Area in the Cherokee National Forest. Check it out!
Community Events + Experiences
Apply for a Tennessee State Parks Conservancy Field Trip Grant!
Tennessee State Parks Conservancy wants educators to apply for Field Trip grants to get students outside into Tennessee State Parks! This grant opportunity is not only for teachers in traditional school settings, but also educators serving elementary to high school aged children in other ways. Why? They Want Kids in Parks! They want children to learn about caring for our natural areas and become the next stewards of our parks. We want them to reap the benefits of being in nature which has been shown to reduce stress, improve concentration and self-regulation, and increase collaboration and team building. The TN State Park rangers are dedicated to providing a positive and safe experience for everyone. Funding can cover transportation, lunches/snacks and related project supplies. For more information and to apply, click here.
Paddle for PanCan 5K
Paddle for PanCan is a virtual kayak /paddleboard 5K hosted by River Gorge Excursions with all the proceeds going to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Registration is $25 per adult entry (ages 13 & up) and $15 per child entry (ages 12 & under). Tandem kayak registration fee is $50. Each participant will be sent a race t-shirt via mail and entered to win raffle prizes! The race can be completed anytime between September 1-November 15, so there is plenty of time to get on the water and paddle! There are male, female, kid, and tandem divisions. The winner for each division will receive one of our awesome prizes donated by the sponsors.

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 our region. 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.
Upcoming Events
Outdoor Chattanooga | 423.643.6888 | |