Welcome to the Chattanooga Adventure Guide’s Best River Adventures section. Below you will find information on Chattanooga river rafting, paddling, and canoeing. You will also find directions to each adventure and related rivers. Happy paddling!
The Ocoee River, just 30 miles north of Chattanooga, offers plenty of whitewater rafting action. The 5 mile Middle Ocoee section starts at Ocoee Dam #2 and includes Class III and Class IV rapids with highlights such as Table Saw and Powerhouse. The Upper Ocoee’s claim to fame is that it was featured in the 1996 Olympic canoe and kayak course- watch out for Humongous.
Ocoee River Directions to the NOC Outpost:
Take I-24 E to I-75 N for 22 miles to exit 20/Cleveland. Take US-64 Bypass east for 6 miles to the Ocoee/64 E exit towards Ocoee/Murphy. Head 1.5 miles east to US-64 & US-411 junction. Turn right onto Old Federal Rd. for 1 mile to a left onto Sloans Gap Rd. (gravel). Go another 1.6 miles to a right onto Hawkins Dr. Take this to NOC’s Ocoee Outpost.
The Blueway is a 50-mile stretch of the Tennessee River from the Chickamauga Dam to the Nickajack Dam. The real payoff of this journey is that it takes you through the Tennessee River Gorge-”The Tennessee Grand Canyon.” The Gorge section encompasses 27,000 acres and 26 miles of the river that in large part have been preserved by the Tennessee River Gorge Trust. A recent option for paddlers when coming off the TN River Blueway is to stay at the Chattanooga Nature Center’s Paddler’s Perch, an elevated creekside cabin that can be rented for overnight stays. The Perch is right off Lookout Creek and features a boardwalk, boat storage, and dock.
Tennessee River Directions:
There are numerous spots to access the Tennessee River. If you are downtown the best spot would be at Coolidge Park on the north shore right under the Market St. Bridge.
About 30 miles north of Chattanooga is the gentle Sequatchie River. The river winds southward through the valley, criss-crossed by old bridges and lined with hardwood stands. For a gentle float with plenty of opportunities to get wet, we suggest starting the trip in Dunlap at the Canoe the Sequatchie outpost. Head downstream for an easy 6 mile/3 hour trip. Be on the lookout for sections of the river known as Native American fish traps - natural channels used by Native Americans to catch fish.
Sequatchie River Directions:
Take TN-29/US-27 N for 2 miles to Signal Mtn. Rd./TN-8/US-127. Head north for 24 miles to destination at 12800 US-127.
This swimming spot in the North Chickamauga Pocket Wilderness area is just 20 minutes north of town. The jump from the cliffs into the 12 to 14 feet deep waters will certainly get your blood pumping. This area also includes some prime kayaking, river rafting, and hiking opportunities so don’t be shy about exploring.
North Chickamauga Pocket Wilderness Directions:
Take 27 N to the Thrasher Pike exit and turn left. Go approximately 1 mile to Dayton Pike, and then turn right. Proceed 1 mile to Montlake Rd. Take a left and proceed 1.5 miles to the entrance on the left. The trail begins at the lower end of the parking area. Follow the trail upstream and it will take you across the creek. From there about 1 mile to Blue Hole.
Chattanooga has a solid rowing community and a great boathouse a few miles from downtown off Amnicola Highway. If you are new to the sport then check out the classes offered by the Lookout Rowing Club. If you are more of a spectator then check out the Chattanooga Head Race that takes place in October and finishes downtown at Ross Landing on the Tennessee River.
Tennessee River Directions:
The William G. Raoul Boathouse is at 1001 Riverside Dr. Head east from downtown Chattanooga for 2.5 miles on Amnicola Hwy/Riverside Dr./TN-58.