Tennessee is known for many things — outstanding barbecue, legendary music, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, the Grand Ole Opry, Graceland, Dollywood, and much more. However, in southeastern Tennessee, there is a gem of a city that’s a haven of natural wonder, and according to the New York Times, it’s one of the top 45 places to visit in the world! Check out this list of fun outdoor activities to do in Chattanooga.
For some fresh air and fun, head over to the Riverwalk — a beautiful 16.1-mile trail along the Tennessee River that’s lined with restaurants, shopping, boat ramps, cultural sites, etc. You can access the Riverwalk in a number of places, and it also connects with the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway, which offers an additional nine miles of paved trails.
River Gallery Sculpture Garden
The Bluff View Art District is a historic neighborhood that is home to the River Gallery Sculpture Garden. Designed by landscape architect Joe Baasch, the two-acre outdoor space beholds the Tennessee River and features public works of art, a formal garden, a meditation area, and an informal garden with a recycling mountain stream. As a nod of honor, the garden has been recognized with a listing in the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens.
Walnut Street Bridge
Built in 1891, the Walnut Street Bridge has garnered the title as one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges. It was closed to traffic in 1978 and opened in 1993 as a pedestrian attraction, which also served as a symbol of rebirth for Chattanooga and a connection to the revitalized North Shore. For a stellar view of the bridge, visit the rooftop lounge at Whiskey Thief, order one their famous cocktails, and enjoy the beauty of a one-of-a-kind city.
Hiking enthusiasts will love exploring Signal Mountain! In less than 15 minutes from downtown Chattanooga, you’ll have access to a number of trailheads, waterfalls, and campsites. Make sure to check out the popular two-mile Rainbow Lake Wilderness Trailhead, and you can bring your canine buddy to join the adventure, too.
On the southside of Chattanooga, you’ll find a 33-acre public park that is home to more than 40 massive sculptures from around the world. And the great thing is it’s free to roam this outdoor art museum and explore 1.5 miles of walking, running, and biking trails. Plus, it’s pet friendly! It all started in 1911 when Mary Thayer Montague donated 49 acres of stunning property to the city for use as a public park. Sculpture Fields became a part of Montague Park in 2016 when it opened to the public.