Chattanooga River Trips + Paddling Guide
Chattanooga certainly has no shortage of water to get out and enjoy. Whether you’re looking to bomb steep whitewater or take a leisurely paddle on the Tennessee River near the Chattanooga Riverfront, there are plenty of great river trips to choose from in the Chattanooga area. Here are a few of our favorite Chattanooga River Trips.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding on the Tennessee River: Paddlers looking to get in a great workout while having a blast can rent a stand up paddle board before heading out on a variety of adventures near Chattanooga. The primitive, secluded beaches of Edward’s Island make for a great afternoon adventure and can be reached by taking a two-hour paddle on the Tennessee River. Beware of the currents as they fluctuate throughout the day. Another great adventure in the area includes a paddle out to Nickajack Cave near South Pittsburg to watch thousands of gray bats head out for their dinner as the sun sets. During the 20-minute bat exodus around 150,000 bats hit the skies.
Directions from Chattanooga: L2 Paddleboards offer paddle rentals by the day, week or hour from their shop located near the riverfront in downtown Chattanooga. From downtown, head north on Market Street toward the riverfront and look for the shop on the corner of Market and 1st streets. See below for more info.
Canoe the Sequatchie (Sequatchie Valley): 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.
Directions from Chattanooga: Take TN-29/Hwy 27 N for 2 miles to Signal Mtn. Rd./TN-8/US-127. Head north for 24 miles to destination at 12800 US-127.
Jump into Blue Hole (Soddy Daisy): 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 and hiking opportunities so don’t be shy about exploring.
Directions from Chattanooga: Take Hwy 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.
Canoe to Maclellan Island (Riverfront Area): Maclellan Island sits in downtown Chattanooga between Coolidge Park and the Hunter Museum. The island features an enclosed shelter and an observation platform for the viewing of the Great Blue Heron rookery. Start the canoe trip from Coolidge Park for a great view of Chattanooga’s Riverfront area.
Directions: Take Hwy 27 N to the Manufacturers Rd exit. Take a right onto Manufacturers Rd. and travel to Cherokee Blvd. Take a right on Cherokee Blvd. and travel for approx. 0.5 mile to Tremont St. Take a right on Tremont St. and continue straight to put in.
Paddle at North Chickamauga Creek Greenway (Hixson): This family friendly area covers over 220 acres that includes the Greenway Farm and several miles of trails for hiking and biking. With the three river access points, we suggest paddling this gentle section of the North Chickamauga Creek.
Directions from Chattanooga: Take I-24 E to I-75 N to the Hwy 153 exit. Cross over the dam to right on to Hamil Rd. Follow Hamil Rd. for 2 miles to Greenway Farm on the right.