Outdoor Chattanooga News & Events April 2018
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 Events

Crank it Up!
Tuesday, April 10th and 17th from 3:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Crank It Up! is a free and 'wheelie' fun bicycle class provided by Outdoor Chattanooga and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Initiative Program. Learn basic bike maintenance and safe road riding skills. Bikes and helmets provided for instruction and riding fun at the pump track and trail system at Stringer's Ridge City Park. All skill levels welcome, ages 10 and up. Registration is required in advance as space is limited. Call the North Chattanooga YFD center (423.757.5447) to register. Minor participants will need a signed liability waiver from a parent or legal guardian.

Intro to Mountain Biking 
Thursday, April 12th and Friday, April 20th from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Outdoor Chattanooga's  Intro to Mountain Biking Classes teach the basics and reinforce the skills needed to get the most out of mountain biking. Our instructors teach in a format that is structured to your pace and individual learning style through the use of open fields, built features and skill drills.    Cost: $10 per person. Appropriate for ages 10+. Complimentary mountain bikes available to use for class thanks to grants from the Ironman Foundation  and Friends of Outdoor Chattanooga. *Participants m ust be able to confidently ride a bike for this class. Reservations required in advance.  Email Outdoor Chattanooga  or call (423) 643-6888 to register and learn more.

Mountain to Town - Downhill Bike Adventure
Friday, April 13th 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Join Outdoor Chattanooga for an all-inclusive downhill bike adventure from Lookout Mountain to downtown Chattanooga. Enjoy views of the city from the top of the mountain while cruising the Guild Trail until it connects with the Tennessee Riverwalk all the way back into town. Outdoor Chattanooga's experienced guides will be with you during the ride providing support and instruction. You can use your own bike or borrow one of ours at no additional cost. Ride time is approximately 2 hours. Appropriate for ages 12+ with an adult. This is a beginner friendly tour, but participants must be confident riding a bike, be able to shift gears and brake independently and listen to instruction while moving at higher speeds. Cost: $25 per person includes bike, helmet, transportation, guide staff and ride support. Reservations required in advance as space is limited. For more information and to make a reservation call (423) 643-6888 or email us.

Beginner Backpacking Adventures & Guided Hikes
Saturday, April 14 to Sunday, April 15
Join Outdoor Chattanooga on an  introductory backpacking adventure as part of our   Cumberland Trail Hiking SeriesExperienced guides will be with  you every step of the way providing instruction on the basics of backpacking. Learn how to properly pack the essentials, c ampsite setup, cooking techniques on the trail, all while practicing Leave No Trace principles in the backcountry. Cost is $65 per person which includes formal instruction, guides along the trail assisting with campsite setup and breakdown, meal prep and cleanup, transportation to and from the trailheads, and the use of backpacking equipment (if needed).  We ask that participants have some hiking experience and be physically able to hike 4 to 6 miles per day on a trail rated as moderately strenuous while carrying a pack weighing 25 to 45 lbs. Beginners will find this adventure to be challenging, but certainly attainable. Children ages 14 and up must be accompanied by a participating adult. You must call to  register in advance as space is limited. All details will be given upon registration via email. For more  info or to register: Call (423) 643-6888.
Join Outdoor Chattanooga for a  guided hike on the Cumberland Trail  on  Friday, April 27 at 10 a.m.   We'll lead registered participants on a  5-mile hike that's rated as moderately strenuous to explore a unique section of the CT. We'll provide guides and a shuttle for the one-way trek so you can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature without the worry of getting lost. Call us to register and receive details!

Hiking Series Schedule -- Section details given with registration
April 14-15 Saturday to Sunday (backpack) 
April 27 Friday
May 11- Friday
June 8- Friday
October 27- Saturday
November 10-11 Saturday to Sunday (backpack)
December 1-Saturday

Community Events

Ocowassee Festival

Saturday, April 7th 9 AM - 11 PM
Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park  hosts the 2nd annual  Ocowassee Festival . The festival offers a full schedule of outdoor educational and experiential adventures led by park rangers, instructors and advocates! All activities begin from  Gee Creek Campground  and include: mountain biking, fire making, mushroom growing, nature hikes, birding classes, rock climbing, bee keeping, snake and bird of prey shows, hiking and several other classes to help with your skill sets to make the most of your summer. 

Art on the Riverwalk: Bike Tour
Saturday, April 14th 10 AM - 12 PM
Mid-South Sculpture Alliance  (MSA) and  Public Art Chattanooga  invite you to join MSA president and local artist,  Isaac Duncan III  for a 3 mile bike ride and tour of the Art on the Riverwalk - Sculpture Exhibition. The ride will begin at the Wheland Foundry Trailhead and end at Blue Goose Hollow. Bring your own bike or rent a bike at the trailhead. This program is generously sponsored by the Lyndhurst Foundation and the Benwood Foundation.

South Chickamauga Canoe Trip

Sunday, April 15th 1:00 - 4:30 PM
Join the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute and Outdoor Chattanooga for an afternoon of family fun. Outdoor Chattanooga guides will provide instruction and all the canoeing equipment for a calm water paddle down the South Chickamauga Creek. Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute naturalists will accompany the tour providing interpretive information. This section of creek often provides views of various aquatic birds and the Buffalo Fish swimming wildly in the shallows. This canoe trip is open to ages 10+. Each canoe requires an adult. One mandatory portage of the canoes does require some physical exertion. Full trip details provided with paid registration. Registration is required in advance as space is limited. Purchase tickets online here

Waking Up With the Birds

Sunday, April 22nd 7:00 - 11:30 AM
Join the Tennessee Ornithological Society (TOS) at Reflection Riding for an early morning bird walk. In the company of ornithological experts, find out why birding is similar to learning a new language. You'll learn the basics of birding and spot some feathered friends along the way.  This event, including admission for the day, is free for TOS & Reflection Riding members. For other guests, suggested donation of $10-20 per person. Please pay online or as you arrive to support our conservation efforts. Reflection Riding is a non-profit that relies on community support through memberships and donations. For more information, click here.

Cumberland Trail Spring Festival

Saturday, April 28 at 10 AM - 3 PM
The 2018 Cumberland Trail Spring Festival is partnering with Ivy Academy and its 5K trail run Running with Sasquatch, which takes place at the school, located at 8520 Dayton Pike, Soddy Daisy, TN. The trail run begins at 9 a.m. and follows the trail on the south side of the North Chickamauga Creek Gorge. 
The festival begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m.  Admission to the festival is a recommended donation of $5 per person/$10 per family; however, admission is included in the fee for those participating in Running with Sasquatch.  The festival includes; interpretive programs, basket weaving, Native American demonstration, Guided hikes and a scavenger hunt, Citizen Science booth by Ivy students, Nature booths, craft vendors, Live music and Food vendors.

Meet Me at the Park - Clamber, Scramble, Traverse

Saturday, April 28 at 10 AM - 2 PM
Come 'Meet Me at the Park' for the grand opening celebration of the new Adventure Trail at Sterchi Farm Park! Explore and play on the South Chickamauga Creek Blueway and Greenway by bike, foot, kayak or SUP and be the first to experience "Clamber, Scramble, Traverse" an adventure trail by environmental artist, Adam Kuby. There will be BBQ, music and activities with Outdoor Chattanooga. In partnership with Trust for Public Land and the City of Chattanooga-Public Art Chattanooga.

Try this Local Outdoor Adventure

Spring Waterfall and Wildflower Hikes

Spring has officially arrived here in Chattanooga and that means there's rain; lots and lots of rain! We've been feeling the effects of the nearly constant precipitation that occurs from February to April here in the Southeast more so this year than in years past. The rivers are flowing high and so are the creeks, which means waterfalls and wildflowers are even more spectacular this time of year. If you're brave enough to hike in wet weather, you'll be rewarded with some colorful trails and awesome waterfalls! Here's a few of our favorite waterfall and wildflower hikes near Chattanooga. Let us know which ones you've done and share your photos with us! 

Lula Falls 
Height = 110 feet
Trailhead = 12 miles from Chattanooga

Get a two for one special with Lower Lula Falls + upper Lula Falls at Lula Lake Land Trust's core property. This waterfall flows year-round, and after a good rain it's absolutely thunderous, with spray wafting out into the gorge and onto the trail above. There's an access trail, featuring a steep stone staircase that leads to the base of the falls. Lula Lake is only open the first and last weekend of the month in order to minimize impact; restoring this area after years of heavy logging and mining has been a thirty-year project, and its current state is a true conservation success story. Visit the Lula Lake Land Trust website to check open gate dates. Donations accepted and recommended when visiting the property.

Hemlock Falls / Cherokee Falls
Height = 90 feet / 60 feet
Trailhead = 28 miles from Chattanooga

Get another two for one special at Cloudland Canyon State Park with Hemlock and Cherokee Falls. It's a short hike to access both of them from the main parking lot at the top of the gorge, but it's a truly steep hike! Like, 600-stairs steep! But, both waterfalls are absolutely worth all those stairs. You can also access the Sitton's Gulch Trail starting at the bridge over Daniel's Creek, which follows the water down the canyon. Cloudland Canyon is just a few minutes down the road from the Lula Lake Land Trust core property, so it's easy to visit both properties in a single day, and it's possible to hike from one to the other along the Cloudland Canyon Connector Trail. Cherokee Falls, the shorter of the two, is especially picturesque, with a lovely grove of trees at the edge of its plunge pool. The spur trail to the taller Hemlock Falls ends at an observation platform, which offers a great view but no actual access to the base of the waterfall. It's instantly recognizable for the massive boulder sitting directly between the platform and the falls itself. There's a $5 fee to enter the State park and hike to the waterfalls.

Benton Falls
Height = 65 feet
Trailhead = 57 miles from Chattanooga

Located in the Chilhowee Recreation Area near the Ocoee River, the drive to Benton Falls following the Ocoee Scenic Byway is just as scenic as the waterfall. The drive up Chilhowee mountain offers spectacular overlooks of Sugarloaf Mountain and Parksville Lake. From the parking lot, take Benton Falls Trail for an easy 3-mile round-trip hike to a cascading 65 foot high waterfall. Cool off in the shallow pools at the base of the falls or bring a hammock and chill out in the trees. There is a $3 fee to park at the McCamy Lake parking lot. 

Have you experienced this local adventure?  Got suggestions for next month's local outdoor adventure? We'd love to hear about it!  Share your stories and pictures with us at  info@outdoorchattanooga.com  

Looking Ahead...Upcoming Events

1-6        NOC Raft Guide School
            Ocowassee Outdoor Festival
            Wild Women Outdoors Hike
            Spring in the Park
8-13      NOC Raft Guide School
9           Learn to Ride a Bicycle
10        Crank it Up!
            Intro to Mountain Biking
             Art on the Riverwalk Bike Tour
            Coldwater Mountain Enduro
16        Knot Tying
17         Crank it Up!
            Intro to Mountain Biking
             Clean and Green 2018
            Boardwalk Boogie 5K
            Waking up with the Birds
            Paddling by Moonlight
             Choo Choo Chase Paddle Race
             Cohutta 100 | Big Frog 65 | Old Copper 20
14        Learn to Ride a Bicycle
18        Intro to Mountain Biking
20        Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga
28        Chattanooga Chase

7          Intro to Mountain Biking
11        Learn to Ride a Bicycle
23        Bear Claw Trail Race

4          Still Hollow Trail Race
13        Learn to Ride a Bicycle

7          Intro to Mountain Biking
8-9      Moon River Festival
10        Learn to Ride a Bicycle
21        Intro to Mountain Biking

21        Urban Nature 10K

10        Upchuck 50K


Find more community events here.