Hiya, Chattanooga. Chloé here and summer is probably my favorite season, despite the sweltering heat. I’ve been known to tell people they just need to get comfortable with being sweaty. And while, I do think that’s a good rule if you want to be happy during Tennessee summers, let’s not forget that we have a wealth of swimming options in our area.
Interns Brianna, Cassidy and I researched, used our own experiences + reader suggestions to come up with this list of places to cool off this summer.
Before we get into it, we do want to remind you that there’s still a pandemic going on. Park officials recommend avoiding large crowds and practicing social distancing. If you can call ahead to double check about COVID-19 restrictions, we suggest that, too. Hamilton County parks are currently under directives from the state’s Tennessee Pledge COVID-19 plan. Read that here.
Be smart + safe out there, y’all.
☀️ If you want a public pool
Warner Park Pool and Spray Park | | 501 W. 12th St | Located close to downtown, this pool is perfect for kids (and adults too). Local public pools are re-opening gradually, and currently Warner Park is the only one open + you have to make reservations to go there. Call 423-643-6630 for reservations. There are three swimming time slots available Monday-Saturday. You can keep a watch of the city’s parks + rec website for details on other pools.
☀️ When you want a natural pool
North Chick Blue Hole | | 354 Montlake Road | This Soddy Daisy creek is about 20 minutes away from downtown with an abundance of deep natural swimming pools. From Montlake Road, it’s a relatively easy hike to several blue holes. There are some rocks good for bouldering and if you walk far enough, you might find a rope swing.
Big Soddy Creek Gulf | 11721 Back Valley Road | This summer hotspot features various swimming holes located along a 5-mile out and back hiking trail, so you can pick a spot to stop + swim whenever you get tired. Read more about the location here. ProTip: Roughly over a mile into the trail, take a right to hike a less-traveled trail that leads to the beautiful blue hole pictured below.
☀️ If you want to chase waterfalls…
Rainbow Lake | Ohio Avenue on Signal Mountain | Not far from downtown Chattanooga, this short hiking trail leads you to a beautiful man-made waterfall + swimming hole. If you like to get in a sweat before jumping in, enjoy the various hikes that Rainbow Lake offers, like the one up to Edward’s Point.
Middle Creek/Suck Creek | 2140 Suck Creek Road | This beautiful creek in the foothills of Signal Mountain features a 15 foot cliff jump, exploring cave, and the popular rock “slide” that will spit you out into the creek’s deep pool.
DeSoto Falls | | 7104 Desoto Parkway NE, Fort Payne, AL | You can reach this waterfall — one of the tallest in Alabama at 107 feet — in just under an hour from downtown Chattanooga. Besides swimming and admiring the beautiful waterfall, you can also enjoy access to restrooms, picnic tables, boating + fishing at DeSoto State Park.
Foster Falls | 498 Foster Falls Road | Less than an hour away from Chattanooga, this swimming spot is worth the drive for a 60-foot waterfall. You can camp overnight + it’s a 2-mile hike to the falls.
Glen Falls | Glen Falls Trailhead, TN-58 | This hiking trail offers several spots to stop and wade around + is a great place for children to enjoy due to the short hike and swimming spots (When looking to park for this trail, note that it is a paved pull-off to the side of Ochs Highway).
Greeter Falls | Greeter Falls Road, Altamont, Tennessee | It’s about 1:15 minutes away from Chattanooga, but reader Ben Staples said it’s worth the trip. This gorgeous waterfall is in the Savage Gulf State Natural Area, and we hear it’s one of the best in the state. There’s a short hike to see two waterfalls — one with a 15-foot drop and the other with a 50-foot cascade.