December 2020 Events + News
Tis the season for giving, making spirits bright, holiday cheer, and self reflection. As a very tough and unpredictable year comes to an end, 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 and recreation 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 (reduced)
Traditionally, we teach "classroom based" workshops during the winter months but with COVID lingering longer than anyone wants, we won't be able to safely offer in person workshops anytime soon. As we reimagine what our workshops will look like in the COVID era, we requested feedback from our loyal readers in last months newsletter and you all answered the call! Thank you! We received 140 responses with Wilderness Survival Skills, Map + Compass, Fishing 101, Hiking 101, and Basic Bike Maintenance receiving the most votes! We are making a plan and quickly teaching ourselves how to use technology so we can offer some virtual workshops in the coming months. Stay tuned!
In the meantime; enjoy these videos on how to navigate our website and learn more about who we are and what we do.
Monday, Dec. 7 & 14 | 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.
Local Outdoor Adventure Spotlight

In consideration of some trends that have ensued since the pandemic started, like the increase in outdoor recreation participation and equipment sales along with the increased purchase and adoption of pets, we're curious if you're trendy and guilty of getting a pandemic pooch? Whether your favorite furry friend is new to you or been around the block a time or two, we thought this article from our friends at the Ark Pet Spa & Hotel was a perfect fit for our local adventure spotlight to try this month. They've compiled a list of dog-friendly hikging trails in the Chattanooga area for you and your four-legged companion to enjoy together this winter. We are a sucker for adorable pet photos, so if you get out and give this adventure a try, be sure to tag @OutdoorChatt!
If you're looking for a convenient hike in the heart of Chattanooga, look no further than Stringer's Ridge. While these trails don't boast many scenic overlooks or swimming holes, they sure make up for it in accessibility and family friendliness. There are several miles of criss crossing loops that make for a good “quick hiking fix”.

SUNSET ROCK | Ranking: Easy
There isn't a hike more iconic than the Sunset Rock overlook atop Lookout Mountain. This quick "hike" takes you from a small gravel parking lot to a breath-taking view of the valley. Like the name implies, this ledge provides the perfect spot to watch the sunset. Hold the dog tight if they have never been around bluffs. This spot is very popular and easily accessible so parking fills up quickly. We recommend trying to go in the middle of the week to try and avoid the inevitable crowd.

The Rainbow Lake Trail is a 2.2 mile hike atop Signal Mountain. The short trail loops around Rainbow Lake - a popular swimming spot for humans and dogs alike. If you're up for an adventure, you can explore the suspension bridge and surrounding trails! Parking is decent, but can also fill up quick on weekends and summer months.

SIGNAL POINT | Ranking: Moderate
Only 15 minutes from downtown, this popular spot boasts scenic bluff views of the Tennessee River. The first section of the trail has a steep descent down several steps, but after that the trail levels out and brings you to a rock outcropping. Be careful and look out for the safety of your dog and others who may not want your dog running loose while they’re close to the edge soaking in the views.

If your pup loves to swim, this is the perfect spot to cool off in the heat of the summer. This wide gravel trail follows the creek with multiple spots to veer off to take a dip in the Creek. These trails go on for miles so you can choose how adventurous you and your pup want to be! Be mindful this spot is popular especially on hot weekends.

The Overlook Trail is wide, easy to navigate, and ideal for dogs. Go for a short out and back or combine it with other trails in the park for a long distance trek. There are rails in some but not all of the bluffed areas so keep your dog secure.

To avoid the 600+ metal steps from the canyon rim down to the falls, try hiking from the bottom up along Sitton's Gulch Trail. Your dog and their paws will thank you!

PRENTICE COOPER Ranking: Moderate
Prentice Cooper has countless trails to explore. We recommend staying on the Cumberland Trail to avoid the motorized trails that ATV enthusiasts enjoy. If you’re looking for an all day adventure check out the Mullins Cove trail. This 9.6 mile trail hits some of the park's favorite lookout points like Snoopers Rock. Snoopers Rock can be accessed by several much shorter trails if you’re not feeling up for an all day affair. And Mushroom Rock is another notable feature and hike worth sharing with your furry friend. 

Less trafficked and more isolated, Possum creek has two main trail heads that both bring you along a beautiful section of the Cumberland Trail. You can come in from the North or the South and each direction leads you to a small waterfall where you can take a dip at around mile 4. Sections of this trail, particularly coming from the Southern trail head can burn the legs! 

When you and your pup hit the trails, be sure to remember trail etiquette such as cleaning up after your dog and letting speedy hikers pass you. Believe it or not, other hikers might not love your dog's slobbery greetings as much as you do, so always keep your dog on a non-retractable leash. Don't forget to pack an extra water bottle for your dog and watch for signs of overheating and dehydration. For the best trail gear check out The Ark’s selection of Ruff Wear! Harnesses, leashes, collapsible bowls, and even trail lights, and backpacks!
Outdoor Community Experiences
Outdoor Chattanooga's Local Giving Guide
Tis the season for giving and because this holiday season is going to be a little different this year, how about gifting your loved ones an outdoor adventure or experience instead of traditional gifts wrapped in boxes under the tree? The Scenic City offers an outdoor activity for that special someone on your gift list. Not only will you give them a gift to remember, you'll be supporting a local business or non-profit organization in the process. In compiling this list, we came to realize even more how awesome it is to live Chattanooga! It truly is the Best Town Ever!!  
If you're set on giving a tangible gift that can be unwrapped, try shopping at a local consignment shop like the Gear Closet or Four Bridges Outfitters. Supporting a local retailer like Rock/Creek Outfitters, L2 Outside, Suck Creek Cycle, Scenic Bicycles, East Ridge Bicycles, Owens Cyclery, Trek Store, Pedego Chattanooga, or Scott's Bikes. Did you know that you could support local non-profits when you shop at Amazon? All you have to do is pick the charity and make your regular purchases at and Amazon will donate 0.5% of eligible purchases to that charity. 
Lastly, please consider making a donation on #GivingTuesday to any of these local non-profits in your loved one's name and help spread good cheer for conservation all through the year. 
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 nation. 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, 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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