10 must-hike trails in the Chattanooga, TN

From a recent hike editor Trista + friends did with Experience Chattanooga | Photo by Experience Chattanooga

The outdoors are looking green + colorful again, which means a lot of us are itching for a good hike or 10. We hear you — take a look at these 10 must-hike trails with varying lengths + difficulty ratings, all located within an hour’s drive of downtown Chattanooga.

Bay Point Loop Trail

📍 Harrison Bay Rd. | Rating: Easy-moderate | Length: 4.5 miles | 🚙  40 min. | 🐶  Leashed-dogs welcome

Harrison Bay State Park’s most popular trail, the Bay Point Loop Trail is a multi-use hiking + biking route which keeps fairly close to the shoreline of two large peninsulas in Chickamauga Lake, providing a mostly level and easy hike with lake views.

Big Soddy Creek Gulf

📍 Big Soddy Creek Gulf trailhead, Soddy-Daisy | Rating: Easy | Length: 3.8 miles | 🚙  30 min. | 🐶  Leashed-dogs welcome

This hike features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. It’s accessible year-round, and you may see mountain bikers as well. In addition to creek access, this hike connects to other trails, providing opportunities for longer and more rugged hikes.

Chattanooga Riverwalk

📍 Ross’s Landing | Rating: Easy | Length: 16.1 miles | 🚙  5 min. | 🐶  Leashed-dogs welcome | ♿️  Wheelchair accessible

Also known as the Tennessee Riverpark, this concrete trail follows the south bank of the Tennessee River. You will see runners, walkers, and cyclists.

Foster Falls

📍 498 Foster Falls Rd., Sequatchie, TN | Rating: Moderate | Length: 5 miles | 🚙  45 min. | 🐶  Leashed-dogs welcome

This hike starts at Foster Falls and follows the popular Fiery Gizzard Trail until it descends into Laurel Gorge 2.5 miles out. A shorter version turns around at one of the best overlooks of the Fiery Gizzard at the 1.8-mile mark, making a 3.6 mi. hike.

Grundy Forest

📍 131 Fiery Gizzard Rd., Tracy City, TN | Rating: Moderate | Length: 3.3 miles | 🚙  55 min. | 🐶  Leashed-dogs welcome

Grundy Forest State Natural Area is at the northern end of the Fiery Gizzard. This hike, which follows the Fiery Gizzard Trail for 1.3 miles, then takes the Grundy Forest Day Loop on the return, boasts five waterfalls. While a couple may not be that impressive, Blue Hole Falls, Black Canyon Cascade, and Sycamore Falls — along with stretches of hemlock shaded mountain stream — makes the hike worthwhile.

Reflection Riding Arboretum’s Blue Heron Boardwalk Trail

📍 Blue Heron Boardwalk, Garden Rd. | Rating: Easy | Length: < 1 mile | 🚙  15 min. | 🐶  Leashed-dogs welcome | ♿️  Wheelchair accessible

This trail will take you through Reflection Riding’s Blue Heron wetlands with numerous bird + animal species, and it will lead you to the arboretum’s Treehouse, Paddler’s Perch, and the Paddler’s Launch on Lookout Creek. Reflection Riding also offers 14 miles of other trails to explore, some of which connect to trails on Lookout Mountain that can take hikers to Sunset Rock or Point Park.

Ritchie Hollow Trail

📍 River Canyon Rd. | Rating: Moderate-strenuous | Length: 4.4 miles | 🚙  25 min. | 🐶  Leashed-dogs welcome

This trail starts at the Tennessee River Gorge Trust’s Pot Point Cabin and climbs about 1,000 feet from the Tennessee River to the plateau top in Prentice Cooper State Forest, where it intersects the Pot Point Loop Trail. Along the way, it passes the 30-foot Blowing Wind Falls.

Sitton’s Gulch Trail at Cloudland Canyon

📍 Cloudland Canyon State Park North Gate | Rating: Moderate | Length: 5 miles | 🚙  30 min. | 🐶  Leashed-dogs welcome

The Sitton’s Gulch Trail offers an alternative hike along Daniel Creek from the mouth of the canyon. This hike allows you to reach the 90-foot-high Hemlock Falls with only a moderate climb + without having to climb back out of the canyon. If you’re feeling adventurous, you have the option to hike to both falls and climb to the rim.

Signal Point to Edwards Point

📍 Signal Point Park, Signal Mountain | Rating: Moderate | Length: 5.1 miles | 🚙  20 min. | 🐶  Leashed-dogs welcome

This popular hike passes the historic Rainbow Lake on its way to Edwards Point + has panoramic views of the Tennessee River Gorge. A shorter alternative is a 3.6 mi. round trip hike to Edwards Point from the Rainbow Lake trailhead.

South Chickamauga Creek Greenway

📍 Camp Jordan to Talley Place | Rating: Easy | Length: 9.4 miles | 🚙  20 min. | 🐶  Leashed-dogs welcome | ♿️  Wheelchair accessible

This is a lightly trafficked, out-and-back trail that features a river + is good for all skill levels. You will likely see hikers and runners on the trail.