July 2021 Events + News
Outdoor Chattanooga's newsletter highlights the awesome outdoor activities happening in and around Chattanooga that will connect you to the outdoors and inspire you to come out and play with us!
Outdoor Chattanooga Programs
Bat Cave Canoe Tours
July 1, 13, 15, 19 | 7:30 - 10 PM
Outdoor Chattanooga hosts a guided and equipped canoe trip to Nickajack Cave, where thousands of endangered gray bats come each summer to raise their young. We will begin with essential canoeing instruction for the novice paddler and set out for a short paddle to the mouth of the cave at dusk and watch the bats fly to start their nightly feeding. A short return paddle in the twilight tops off the experience. This special trip is appropriate for the entire family, adults and kids ages 5 and older. Cost: $20 per adult (2 per canoe) and $10 for children under 10 years of age (sits on the floor of the canoe if the child is very small and total weight is under 500lbs). Online reservations required in advance.

Dam Kayak Tour
July 10 & 18 | 6:30 - 9:00 PM | July 17 | 8:30 -11:30 AM
Join Outdoor Chattanooga for a guided kayak tour on the Tennessee River as the sunsets and the unforgettable experience of locking through the Chickamauga Dam. This is a beginner-friendly trip and includes all kayak equipment, instruction, guides, and a shuttle. The tour is appropriate for ages 14 & up, the cost is $35 per person. Online Registration and payment required in advance as space is limited.

Pedal + Paddle Sunset Tour
July 17 | 5:00 - 9:00 PM
Join Outdoor Chattanooga for a guided and equipped Pedal to Paddle | Bike to Kayak Adventure on the Tennessee Riverwalk and Tennessee River Blueway! You'll discover how Chattanooga's greenways and blueways are connected while experiencing two adventure sports in one day! Outdoor Chattanooga's experienced guides will lead you on a leisurely paced 6-mile bike tour on Bike Chattanooga bikes over the Walnut Street Bridge and along the Tennessee Riverwalk before shifting gears and getting into kayaks to paddle 5-miles down the Tennessee River back to our starting location. Cost is $35 per person which includes guides throughout the duration of the tour, all equipment including a bike, helmet, kayak, paddle, and lifejacket. This tour is appropriate for ages 14+ when accompanied by an adult. Some prior paddling experience is helpful but not required to participate. All participants must be able to confidently ride a bicycle to participate in this activity. Online reservations required in advance.

Indoor Archery Sessions at Outdoor Chattanooga
Free indoor archery sessions provided by Outdoor Chattanooga. No experience or reservation required to play. Drop-in anytime from 12:30-2:30 PM on the dates below. All sessions occur at the Outdoor Chattanooga Center, 200 River St. in Coolidge Park. All equipment and instruction provided during the 2-hour sessions.
Adult Archery
July 19 | 12:30 - 2:30 PM

Remember adult swim time in the pool? That’s the theme of our Adults-only Archery sessions. We offer a lot of family-friendly activities throughout the year, so we created this one just for grown-ups to give them the opportunity to take aim and try archery while socializing with peers. Each session will offer group games to encourage comradery and friendly competition. Adult Archery is best suited for archers ages 30+. Leave the kids at home and join us for Adult Archery!

Try Archery
July 20 + 27 | 12:30 - 2:30 PM

Take aim at Outdoor Chattanooga's "Try Archery" class. This free indoor class offers a hands-on opportunity to learn more about the sport of archery. Concentrating on range safety rules and fundamentals of archery, the class is taught using the National Archery in Schools NASP equipment and procedures. The session is walk-in and open to ages 6 and up. No reservation or prior experience required. All equipment provided. Cost: free. Just show up, take aim and give archery a try!

Paddling 101 - Virtual Webinar
July 20 | 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Have you purchased your own kayak/canoe/SUP but lack the confidence to explore Chattanooga's scenic waterways on your own? Maybe paddling is on your bucket list of outdoor activities to try but you're not sure where to start. Join Outdoor Chattanooga's experienced instructors for a free Paddling 101 - Virtual Workshop that will explore the wonderful world of paddlesports! We will cover types of paddle crafts on the market, their intended use, and what style of paddling you're best suited for. By the end of the workshop, you'll have the knowledge and confidence to safely paddle Chattanooga's scenic waterways! Attendees will receive a paddling guide and Outdoor Chattanooga sticker as a thank you for attending. You'll also find out about all the beginner-friendly paddling tours and classes we offer so you can put this into practice and check this adventure off your bucket list sooner rather than later! Online reservations required.

Paddle Smart - Intro to Flatwater Paddling
July 29 | 6:00 - 8:30 PM
After attending our virtual workshop, we invite you to come put those skills to practice during an in-person and on-water Paddle Smart Chattanooga class, taught by Outdoor Chattanooga’s experienced paddling instructors. They'll share their knowledge and offer insight on the best ways to set up your boat, transporting your craft, paddling techniques, navigation essentials, entry and exit practices, self-rescue techniques, TN boater laws, understanding CFS-water flow and how it can affect you, safety precautions and resources for recreational paddling in the Chattanooga area. You’ll learn the basics to keep yourself safe in any scenario and proper trip planning skills to make the most of every water-based adventure! Cost is $10 for those that have their own kayak/canoe/SUP and $35 for those without and who need to use our recreational kayaks and gear. Online Reservations required.

Full Moon Kayak Tour
July 23 | 7:30 - 10:00 PM
Join Outdoor Chattanooga for a guided and equipped Full Moon Kayak Tour around the islands and sloughs of Chickamauga Lake as the full moon rises in the night sky. This is a beginner-friendly moonlit tour is appropriate for ages 14+ when accompanied by an adult. Cost is $35 per person which includes all kayak equipment, lights, instruction, and guides throughout the duration of the tour. Online registration and payment are required in advance as space is limited.

Rapid Learning Skills Sessions
Wednesdays in July | 6:00 or 7:00 PM
Rapid Learning skills sessions occur every Wednesday night through the end of September at the Lake at Chester Frost County Park. There are two sessions to choose from, 6:00 or 7:00 PM. We provide all the equipment and instruction. Your first visit is free! No reservation required. First come first serve. Membership based program after the first free session. Call 423-643-6888 to learn more.

Local Outdoor Adventure Spotlight
Best Places to Paddle in Chattanooga
Summer is in full effect here in the Scenic City and we want to help you find creative ways to beat the heat! Check out our paddling guide and start exploring Chattanooga's scenic waterways! We're also offering several paddling tours this month, so if you don't have your own gear yet, take advantage of using ours and going on a guided tour.
Tennessee River Blueway | Chickamauga Dam to Nickajack Dam is a 46-mile navigable waterway flowing through the heart of downtown Chattanooga. Multiple access points allow for easy day trips and multi-night adventures!
#ProTip: The Tennessee River has a current that fluctuates frequently. Don't assume it's going to be easy to paddle against the current. We recommend checking the average hourly discharge rates of the TVA Chickamauga Dam before going out. Under 30,000 CFS is easy for beginners to paddle upstream.

South Chickamauga Creek | Extends 13 miles from Graysville Road in Ringgold, GA to the Tennessee River at Riverpoint off the TN Riverwalk. There are multiple access points along the creek that meanders through neighborhoods and Chattanooga's industrial core. Some places allow for out and back paddling, otherwise, you will need to arrange your own shuttle between kayak launch points. **Please note the Sterchi Farm Park access point, off Old Harrison Pike is temporarily closed due to construction.

North Chickamauga Creek | Greenway Farm, 5051 Gann Store Road. | North Chickamauga Creek begins on the Cumberland Plateau with Class IV/V whitewater until it reaches the community of Hixson where it becomes a perfect creek for families and beginners in any type of paddle craft to enjoy an afternoon paddle along the 2.5-mile stretch at the City of Chattanooga’s Greenway Farm Park. There are two public canoe/kayak launch points at the park. Creek levels can fluctuate due to water releases from TVA’s Chickamauga Dam on the Tennessee River. Be aware of release schedules before launching. (A section of Creek is closed for bank stabilization and repairs during the month of July).

Lookout Creek | Reflection Riding, 400 Garden Rd. | Fees apply to enter Reflection Riding and it helps support their conservation efforts. Lookout Creek meanders below Lookout Mountain, spilling into the Tennessee River near the toe of Moccasin Bend. It is a part of the Tennessee River Blueway system. Though sections of the creek are navigable from Trenton, Georgia to Chattanooga, the most accessible part is a 2.5-mile section between the Tennessee River and Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center.

Booker T. Washington State Park |  5444 Vincent Rd. | 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.

Harrison Bay State Park | 7855 Bay Marina Circle. | Designated Tennessee’s first state park in 1937, Harrison Bay is a 1,200-acre park located off Hwy 58, just 25 minutes from Chattanooga. 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. Rusty’s Kayak and Paddleboards offers rentals throughout the year near the park entrance. 

Chester Frost | 2277 Gold Point Cir N. | Located 25 minutes from Chattanooga, Chester Frost County Park is a perfect location for beginner paddlers to explore a section of Chickamauga Lake. The park contains a power boat launch, boat docks and ramps, a swimming beach, fishing piers, group picnic facilities, an indoor pavilion, disc golf course, and a developed campground for RV, tent, and group camping on the shores of Chickamauga Lake. 

Nickajack Lake Nickajack Lake is the reservoir created by Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Nickajack Dam. Boat ramps are located at Hales Bar Marina, Shellmound, Maple View Public Use Area, Macedonia Rd., and on both sides of the river below the dam. TVA camping and picnicking facilities are available at Shellmound. Nickajack Cave Wildlife Refuge is home to hundreds of thousands of endangered gray bats that emerge at Sunset every night May through Sept. Outdoor Chattanooga and other local outfitters offer guided tours to view the bats.

Hiwassee River Blueway | 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. Click the link for information on access points, outfitters, and amenities along the Hiwassee River Blueway.
#ProTip: The Hiwassee River water release schedule is controlled by Tennessee Valley Authority’s Apalachia Dam. Water release schedules can change suddenly and without notice due to changes in weather conditions and power system requirements. The depth and swiftness of the river can change rapidly in the upper section of the river. Your safety depends on obeying all posted safety regulations and warnings. Two generators are required for adequate water levels on the upper section for recreational boaters. TVA releases two generators on weekends Memorial Day through Labor Day. This release typically begins at 11 a.m. and boaters can generally get on the river by NOON below the Appalachia Powerhouse. Be sure to double-check TVA – Apalachia Water Release Schedule before you go.

Don’t have your own paddle craft? Local businesses like L2 Outside,  Chattanooga Guided Adventures, River Canyon Adventures, River Drifters, Rusty's Kayaks, and many more (view Outdoor Chattanooga Paddling Guide) can get you set up with a rental or guided tour!
Outdoor Community Events
Bike Rodeo
Saturday, July 31 | 9:00 - 11:00 AM
Bring the kids out to a free bike rodeo at the First Horizon Pavillion on Saturday, July 31 from 9-11 AM to participate in an obstacle course designed to teach bike safety skills in a fun atmosphere! Ride away with new skills such as proper helmet and bike fit, hand signals, rules of the road, and much more! For the more adventurous, you might learn how to pop a wheelie.

Designed for all ages and skill levels, this free event is sponsored by Outdoor Chattanooga, Owen Cyclery, Rock/Creek, and SORBA Chattanooga with free refreshments provided by Whole Foods. All you need to participate is a helmet, bike, and closed-toe shoes. There will be a limited number of extra helmets and bikes on hand for those who need them. Volunteers are needed. Learn more and get involved by contacting us here. Keep an eye on our calendar of events and Facebook for updates!

Stringer's Ridge Trail Day
July 29 | 5:30 PM
Join SORBA Chattanooga at Stringers Ridge Park on July 29 for a Trail Work Day installing new info kiosks at trail intersections and park entrances along with clearing corridors and removing invasive species and overgrowth.
Work includes digging postholes, setting the kiosk posts, and pouring quick-setting concrete to secure the kiosks. Prior construction experience is not required.
All of the necessary trail tools will be provided. Please bring your own water, food, and PPE (mask, work gloves, and any sort of sanitization supplies) that you will need. We will have limited amounts of work gloves and eye protection available.
All in attendance must register and registration is capped at 10 persons to remain effective and efficient in our work.

Upcoming Events
Outdoor Chattanooga | 423.643.6888 | info@outdoorchattanooga.com