Explore 12 Must-Do Hiking Trails Near Chattanooga

Chattanooga, a city in the southeastern part of Tennessee, is known for its beautiful landscape and breathtaking waterfalls. Located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Chattanooga is endowed with incredible waterfalls, friendly forest, and rocky outcrops. It is one of the best locations to hike, with many areas to explore within the City.

If you are looking forward to hiking, either as a professional hiker or a beginner, congratulations, I’ve made your journey less stressful and more relaxed, and satisfactory. I have selected the best trails you can explore for hiking in the order of difficulty and length. Hope my article helps you quickly find some good hiking trails near Chattanooga that suit your preference and experience level.

Glen Falls

Length of Hike: 2.1 miles
Difficulty Level: Easy

Glen falls should be on top of the list for families that want to go hiking and wish to bring their kids along. In addition, it’s an amazing location to explore for all the locals, as the falls are located in downtown Chattanooga.

This is one particular hiking trail where families with children can enjoy the spoils of Glen Falls. Glen Falls trail has natural waterfalls, man-made tunnels, boulder fields, and a rocky staircase.

During the fall season, the foliage colors are spectacular, and in the Spring, the waterfalls are usually more impressive, hearing the sounds even before getting to the waterfalls. Glen Falls is known for its high mountain falls features with waterfalls on the trail, making it the best area to explore when there has been lots of rain.

Chattanooga Riverwalk

Length of Hike: 16.1 miles
Difficulty Level: Easy

This Riverwalk is known as one of the most accessible trails for hiking in the Chattanooga area. It is also one of the popular spots known to runners, walkers, hikers, and cyclists. Although this trail follows through the South bank of the Tennessee River, it is a piece of the Tennessee Riverpark.

You don’t need to worry about the children, as the concrete trail of the Riverwalk is easy enough for them to rally around. The park is filled with tons of activities to choose from, ranging from picnic areas, benches, and trails of course. This is the best area to explore and enjoy what the Tennessee River has to offer.

Savage Day Loop

Length of Hike: 4.9 miles
Difficulty Level: Easy

Though this trail might mislead you into thinking it might be hard. But actually, it is the other way round; it’s an easy trail. The name just means it’s a Savage Day. This hiking trail near Chattanooga is located at the South Cumberland State Park. And as with other Hiking trails, it also has waterfalls.

The Savage Day hiking trail features a two-suspension bridge, which can get slippery and muddy when it’s a wet season. This trail can become muddy and a little difficult during rain, so put your most comfortable hiking shoes on. 

The spring is the best time to go hiking on the Savage Day hiking trail. During the spring, you get to see the fascinating wildflowers.

Little River Canyon – Alabama

Length of Hike: 1.4 miles
Difficulty Level: Easy

I know the location of this trail in  Alabama might confuse you, but it is not as far as it sounds. The trail is in Alabama, but it is still very close to Chattanooga. It’s one of the more famous trails in the area, so traffic is a bit high here. Families with kids love it because of its waterfall features.

You can go diving in the river if you want, but check the current before going in. As with most wilderness trails, there are rocks and roots along the path, so be careful where you step. There are smaller waterfalls and sandstone cliffs along the route to the big waterfall. So it keeps the kids engaged all along the way.

This is a trial for everyone irrespective of age and skills level, and you can bring your dog, making this one of my favorites.

Bay Point Loop Trail

Length of Hike: 4.5 miles
Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate

Bay Point Loop Trail is the most popular hiking trail in Harrison Bay State Park, so it gets busy, especially on weekends. The view of the lake from this trek is magnificent, and the hike is relatively easy for most of the trail.

This trail is quite close to the shorelines of two peninsulas that are very large on Chickamauga Lake. This makes it an ideal place to go swimming and fishing.

This park has everything for the family to enjoy a nice day out. It has campsites with electricity and water, totaling about 128 RV and camping spots.

It also features a Bear Trace Golf Course, wildlife exhibit, fishing piers, and a Swimming pool. So there are activities for each preference.

Cravens House Loop Trail

Length of Hike: 3.7 miles
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Cravens House Loop is a moderate trail because of its rocky features. But this trail is filled with beautiful abundant wildflowers which bloom during the spring.

You can even bring your dogs along, as long as they are leashed. It’s popular because of the large forest around it, and its amazing views.

This trail is in the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park close to Chattanooga. It’s a historic park filled with historical artifacts and memories along the hike. You might want to have company while hiking even though it’s a moderate hike trail. The park even suggests that you do not hike or bike alone.

The park also features waterways for canoe and kayak tours, outdoor activities like Horseback riding, guided bike tours, and picnic areas for relaxation.

Grundy Forest

Length of Hike: 3.3 miles
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This trail is moderately complex but doesn’t mean families can hike the trail. It has rocky routes that you would want to be careful of. This trail intersects with the Fiery Gizzard Trail. 

The Grundy trail is located in the Grundy Forest State Natural Area. There are at least five waterfalls along the route, varying in sizes, ranging from small to large. The large waterfalls are; the Blue hole Falls, Black Canyon, and Sycamore Falls. 

The three large waterfalls also have swimming holes where you can clean up your feet along your hike. You also get to walk by a magnificent mountain stream for most of the trail, and Hemlock shades it. I usually carry a light snap-in backpack during my day trips. So you can enjoy a snack or two after a long day outdoors.

Lula Lake

Length of Hike: 3.9 miles
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Lula Lake is one of the most scenic places you can ever think of in Chattanooga. You would not want to miss it. The trail leads you to Lula Falls, which is about 120 feet high.

The natural decor is just so magnificent that it will take your breath away. The trail is beautified with rocky outcrops, smaller falls, and dense forest. The water here is bright blue, and very clear, giving island vibes.

The Hiking trail isn’t always open daily. It only opens on the first and last Saturday of each month between 9 am – 5 pm. But during the months of May through November, it is open from 12 Noon to 5 pm on the First and last Sunday of each month. So you would need to plan your trip according to the timing if you wish to see this magnificent natural scenery.

Signal Point to Edward Point

Length of Hike: 7.2 miles
Difficulty Level: Moderate

This trail’s rocky feature and uneven footing make it a moderate hiking trail. As the name suggests it starts at Signal Point Park. This trail also features bridges, beautiful scenery, and rocky terrain. Avid hikers will love this trail with amazing views to boot..

Though it’s moderate, it may be dangerous to bring your pet along, especially if they are not well trained. So it’s preferred not to bring dogs along.

Fiery Gizzard Trail to Raven’s Point

Length of Hike: 9.6 miles
Difficulty Level: Strenuous

This Fiery Gizzard Trail is a difficult trail, beyond moderate and easy. Therefore, it is more suited for experienced and skilled hikers or those who would love a bit of challenge.

This trail features a lush forest, several waterfalls and streams, and towering rocky gorges.

It is suggested to do this trail counter-clockwise. They will put you through the difficult portions of the trail early in your hike while you are fresh. It is a grueling trail so bring lots of water. You can bring your dogs, but it can get difficult for them.

Walls of Jericho

Length of Hike: 6.6 miles
Difficulty Level: Strenuous

This trail can be so strenuous that it can’t be completed in one day, it has to be divided. However, you can camp overnight on the trail after a long day of hiking. There are plain fields where you can pitch your tent and camp for the night.

Located in the Paint Rock River Area. This area is home to various wildlife. It also houses the Tennessee Cave Salamander. It also boasts of remarkable waterfalls along the trail. 

It’s called the Wall of Jericho due to its natural amphitheater consisting of a limestone bowl that is 50 yards wide with a magnificent waterfall. The arena is usually filled with water during the rainy season, which makes it difficult to explore, so it’s preferable to visit around late summer when it is drier.

Greeter Falls

Length of Hike: 3.2 miles
Difficulty Level: Moderate

Just like the Savage Day Loop trail, this trail is also located in the South Cumberland State Park. It’s on the moderate list due to its muddy feature on the lower falls. It can be challenging and not ideal to bring along young children. 

This trail also has a magnificent waterfall, the upper fall is 15 feet down to the drop, and the lower fall is 50 feet high. The lower falls are one of the beauties on the East Coast, featuring a deep swimming pool. Bring your swimming costume along.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best time and Month for Hiking here?

Chattanooga has hot and muggy summers and very wet, short, and cold winter. If you hike at an elevated mountain, it might not be as hot as the city.

The best time of the year to go hiking near Chattanooga is during late spring or fall. During this season it won’t be as humid and hot. There’s also less probability of experiencing rain or snow.

What do you need for Hikes? What to pack?

Hiking is an outdoor activity that requires different equipment to have a worthwhile experience. There are certain things you need to take into cognizance before stepping out to hike. Here is a list of them

A reusable water bottle Make sure to also take enough water with you for the hike. Good hiking boots to protect your feet from rocky steps. A bug repellent is vital, as Tennessee is known for its abundance of mosquitoes.

A Sunscreen or Hat to during the summer 

Hiking requires energy, so it’s essential that you also pack enough snacks and energy bars, to keep your energy level high.

You should also head out with a first aid kit that can fit into your backpack. This helps in case of any sudden injury.

Is the area/trail famous for any wildlife/bird watching?

Most hiking trails around here have some kind of wildlife and are great for bird-watching. In addition, trails like the Wall of Jericho are home to wildlife. 

Conclusion

Listed above are 12 remarkable hiking trails near Chattanooga. I’m sure you already have an intense urge to visit these places and have a fun-filled experience coupled with eye-watering moments of natural scenery. If you like this list, find more hikes around the country

Please share your experience and your favorites in the comment section, and if you haven’t been to any, the ones you are looking forward to visiting.

Emily Winters

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