Come Out and Play!
Outdoor Chattanooga Events + News
October 2020
Our newsletter continues to evolve as we continue to navigate these uncertain times. We're still relying heavily on our online and social media outlets to stay connected, but we are also very excited to be offering outdoor programs again and we're looking forward to providing more opportunities this month!
Outdoor Chattanooga Programs
Sunset Canoe Tours
October 7, 16 & 28 | 5:00-7:00 PM
Join Outdoor Chattanooga for a guided and equipped Sunset Canoe Tour on North Chickamauga Creek. Guides will lead you on a family-friendly, leisurely paced paddle along the peaceful creek to view wildlife as the sun sets. Cost is $10 per person which includes guides on the water and all the canoe equipment (tandem canoe, paddles, lifejackets, and lights). This sunset canoe tour is appropriate for ages 6+ when accompanied by an adult. Some prior canoeing/paddling experience is helpful but not required to participate in this tour. Guides will offer basic paddling instruction and provide on water support throughout the duration of the tour, which lasts approximately 2 hours.

Introduction to Mountain Biking
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 courses are designed for you! Learn the fundamentals of mountain biking from our experienced instructors through skills demonstration and practice in a controlled setting. Our instructors teach in a format that's structured to your pace and individual learning style. 

You don't have to have prior mountain biking experience 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 charge 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. 
Fundamentals Class
Thursdays, October 8, 15, 22 | 5 - 7 PM
Our Intro to Mountain Biking Fundamentals Course will introduce and reinforce the skills needed to get the most out of mountain biking. This class is ideal for the complete novice or for those who wish to practice specific skills in a controlled setting. Take any Fundamentals Class offered throughout the year to build confidence. Combine that with the Guided Trail Rides and take your riding to the next level!

Guided Trail Rides
Saturdays, October 10 & 24 | 9:30 - 11:30 AM
Take your riding even further by taking the skills you learned in the Fundamentals Class out onto the trail! Our experienced instructors will guide you on a group ride allowing time for skills demonstration and practice on singletrack trails. Even though these are group rides, our instructors teach in a format that's structured to your pace and individual learning style. We highly recommend taking the Fundamentals Class before going on a Guided Trail Ride.

Monday, October 12 | 4 PM or 6 PM
Learn how to ride a bicycle with Outdoor Chattanooga's experienced instructors in a relaxed setting. Gain the skills and confidence to get out there riding on your own! FREE classes offered the 2nd Monday each month. No experience necessary. Ages 5+. Bikes, helmets, and instruction provided. Online reservations required in advance. Call 423-643-6888 to register and learn more.

For the Love of Whitewater Interview Series
"For the Love of Whitewater" is an interview series with former Rapid Learning Members who learned how to whitewater kayak through Outdoor Chattanooga's Rapid Learning Program. We invited them to share their stories and experiences with us as we tackle some tough topics. Ultimately, we discover they each have a genuine love of whitewater that our program helped inspire and cultivate! Learn more about this dynamic program here.
Part 2: Women in Whitewater

In this episode, Meryl Stark, a local paddler, shares her love of whitewater, her journey learning how to kayak and her experience as a female in a sport that's dominated by men.
Part 3: Racial Diversity in Whitewater
In this episode, Alden Lee, shares his love of whitewater and all things outdoors, his journey learning how to kayak along with his experience as a person of color in a sport that's dominated by white men.
Local Outdoor Adventure Spotlight
Do You Mountain Bike?

Inspired by our Intro to Mountain Biking Classes and Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, we're highlighting Chattanooga's local mountain bike trails as this month's local adventure spotlight in hopes it inspires you to get out and ride! Trails listed are in order of proximity to downtown Chattanooga. If you get out and ride this month, be sure to snap a photo and tag @outdoorchatt on IG or FB to be featured.
Stringer's Ridge is a city park that offers 6 miles of multi-use trails in North Chattanooga so you can get a quick ride in without having to travel outside the city limits. The trails are directional depending on the day of the week so that hikers and bikers approach one another from opposite directions. Please check the signs before heading out. There are several punchy climbs, which lead to fast descents (be sure to yield to hikers and trail runners). This isn't the most beginner friendly trail, but there is a pump track off Spears Ave, which is great for all skill levels to play on. Trail map.
TVA's Raccoon Mountain trail system is managed by SORBA and is a Chattanooga staple. With 30+ miles of singletrack trails, there's lots of riding to be done, but these trails definitely cater to seasoned riders. You'll find your fair share of rocks and roots, as well as massive climbs and descents, bridge crossings, boulders and switchbacks. We wouldn't recommend taking your first ride out there, but we sure do love how close it is to town and the views from East Overlook and Small Intestine are totally worth it!
Enterprise South Nature Park has 3 stacking loops totaling 10 miles of fast flowy singletrack, with an additional 5 mile loop that’s considered intermediate, a skills area and pump track. This trail system is easy to access off I-75 near Volkswagen and is good for beginners to get their bearings because the stacked loops start out easy and get progressively more difficult. Plus, there's a small skills area to practice riding techniques including skinnies, ratcheting, rock gardens and drops off Black Forest loop. This trail system is directional depending on the day of the week, so please check the signs before heading out.
Development is underway for a 200 plus acre park on the Eastern facing ridge of Signal Mountain, known as Walden’s Ridge. Walden Ridge Park will offer Chattanooga's MTB community 8 to 12 miles of gravity oriented MTB trails with 800 feet of elevation loss, for beginner to expert riders. You can certainly expect gravity fed features, rock rolls, flowing singletrack, and the ability for you to shuttle it, or grind back to the top in the “granny gear” if you so choose. Trail work days and donations are needed to complete this project. Interested in helping? Fill out this Survey to support the Waldens Ridge Project
Biology Trails at White Oak Mountain, on Southern Adventist University's campus offers a variety of fun stacking loops that require a little more climbing than Enterprise, but is still rated as beginner friendly. There are enough trails to keep all skill levels happy including some advanced trails on top of the ridge, a dedicated downhill trail and the Cottontail trail with advanced features to test the more experienced rider. 
Bauxite Ridge is a very beginner friendly trail in Collegedale near White Oak Mountain. It offers about 10 miles of fast flowy singletrack, with little elevation change. The trail system is directional depending on the day of week and is multi-use meaning hikers and trail runners use the trails as well. 
Booker T Washington State Park has 3 loops that make up the 7 miles of dedicated mountain bike trails, thanks to SORBA and lots of volunteer hours. The trails are good for beginner to intermediate riders, but should be avoided in the summer months due to overgrowth and poison ivy. Like all TN State Parks, there is no entrance fee. Keep an eye out for hikers on this multi-use trail.
Harrison Bay State Park has a 4.5 mile trail loop that is kid and beginner friendly with very little elevation change due to following the shores of the lake. There's plenty of other activities to be done at the park, so consider making a day or weekend out of exploring the park! Like all TN State Parks, there is no entrance fee. Keep an eye out for hikers on this multi-use trail.
Five Points Recreation Area, located on Lookout Mountain was a partnership project between SORBA, Lula Lake Land Trust and Cloudland Canyon State Park. The 30+ miles of purpose built trails opened in 2011. The Cloudland Connector trail is multi-use including hikers and horses. From the 5 Points trailhead, riders can access several trails of varying difficulty. There's definitely something for everyone out there including fast flowy and technical trails. There's additional parking at the Ascalon trailhead. There's a $5 parking fee for all vehicles as part of the GA State Parks.
Moonshine Trails on Lookout Mountain offer 10 miles of fast descents, lung busting ascents, rock bridges, boulders and some man-made features that incorporate the natural land formations. It's named for the Prohibition-era moonshiners who used the area to hide stills. The trailhead begins near the Covenant College practice fields, off of Scenic Highway—on South Campus Rd. Unfortunately, there's no parking on Lula Lake Rd., which means what goes downhill must come back up to finish. These trails are best for intermediate to advanced riders.
The Tanasi Trail System near the Ocoee Whitewater Center attracts cyclists from across the region, and is home to the annual Black Bear Rampage hosted by Scott's Bicycles in Cleveland, TN along with several other races. With 35+ miles of trails, ranging from beginner friendly to advanced, you can enjoy a day in the mountains, then cool off in the Ocoee River post ride. These are multi-use trails in a remot setting. Do your reserach and pack a trail map before you head out. There is a $3 day use fee for all vehicles in Cherokee National Forest.
Chilhowee Recreation Area was the place to ride before mountain biking became fashionable! The 20+ miles of trails don't see much mountain bike traffic since there are so many other more notable trail systems in the area. We still consider it a great place to spend a day riding. If you start at the Clemmer trailhead, you'll have a 4.5 mile climb to access the trails on the top and avoid the parking fee. Or park at the top of the mountain and pay the $3 day use fee to avoid the climb. Beginner to advanced trails can be found here. 
Community Events + Experiences
Cleveland Circuit Ride 2020
The Cleveland Circuit Ride is schedule as a virtual race for the whole month of October. Registration is $25 per rider. $40 If you want a t-shirt and goodie bag shipped to you! Proceeds benefit Family Promise of Bradley County, a homeless shelter started to assist struggling families in 2011. Don't forget to RSVP on their Facebook event on the Cleveland Circuit Ride Facebook page. Register at
Ocoee River Race
The annual Ocoee River Race hosted by Tennessee Valle Cane Club (TVCC) is happening live and in person! There are only 40 spots available this year due to limitations by the National Forest Service for group sizes during COVID. Registration is required in advance and closes Oct. 5th. If registration is full, you can add your name to the Waitlist.

Clean Catoosa
Oct. 10 | 9 - 12
Clean Catoosa is a county-wide Earth Day initiative to celebrate and clean up Catoosa County hosted by LIFT Youth Center Inc, the City of Ringgold, the City of Fort Oglethorpe, Catoosa County Government and the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce. The original event, held in April was postponed due to the pandemic. The rescheduled event, set for Saturday, Oct. 10 from 9 am - 12 PM will have small groups at outdoor project sites across Catoosa County with Covid-19 precautions in place. Interesed in getting involved and helping out? Click the link below or email to find out more!

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.

Lula Laker 19-Mile Race
Be one of the first to set foot (or wheel!) in this new race series for trail runners and mountain bikers. The 19-mile Lula Laker race course is within the famous trail systems maintained by Lula Lake Land Trust. Divided between two days, 100 runners will compete on Saturday, October 24 and mountain bikers will compete on Sunday, October 25 in this socially distant, independent race. The top 3 runners and top 3 mountain bikers will receive a one-of-a-kind prize package worthy of your Lula Laker efforts! $50 registration fee where 100% of proceeds go directly back into Lula Lake's trail work effots and consevation mission.

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
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