Chattanooga, TN

Escape to Chattanooga with these outdoor adventures

Uncharted Traveling

If you're looking to add some adventure to your Labor Day weekend plans, or any weekend for that matter, head to Chattanooga and check out these outdoor adventures. They'll be sure to get your blood pumping and your heart racing. Take your pick from extreme sports like white water rafting, ziplining, or even hang gliding. If you want a slower pace that will awe you with breathtaking views, explore the Tennessee River Gorge on a hike or in a canoe, see seven states at the Rock City lookout, or discover the hidden waterfalls and caves of the Cumberland Plateau.

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Whitewater rafting on the Ocoee RiverPhoto by Julie Thornton on Unsplash

1. Lookout Mountain

At Lookout Mountain, you can ride the Incline Railway and have a picnic above the clouds, descend 26 stories underground to Ruby Falls, fly down 700 feet of rushing zip lines, or soar through the air on a hang glider at Lookout Mountain Flight Park.

2. Rock City

Marvel at Rock Citys natural rock formations on the Enchanted Trail, discover the secrets of Fairyland Caverns and walk through the magical Mother Goose Village. Test your fear of heights on the 180 foot long swing-a-long-bridge, explore ancient geological wonders like Mushroom Rock and the Fat Man's Squeeze, and get a view of seven states from the 1,700 feet high Lover's Leap lookout point.

3. Explore Hidden Caves and Caverns

A little further out of the city is Raccoon Mountain Caverns, which has over five miles of mapped cave systems to explore. With guided walking tours to Crystal Palace Caverns and wild cave expeditions, you're sure to find adventure here!

Just an hour north of Chattanooga in McMinnville, you'll find Cumberland Caverns, the second longest cave in the state. There are close to 30 miles of caves and underground passageways, natural rock formations, underground waterfalls, and mysterious pools, At Cumberland Caverns, you can take walking tours, caving tours, and even have an overnight caving adventure!

4. Hiking

There are also plenty of opportunities for hiking all within a short drive from downtown Chattanooga. Hike on trails that meander among sandstone cliffs and lead to rock outcroppings with breathtaking views of the area's geological wonders. Discover how nature and history have combined together over the years to create some of the state's most scenic and historic hikes. According to Alltrails.com, some of the most popular trails on Lookout Mountain are the Bluff Trail, the Glen Falls Trail, the Lulu Lake Land Trust, Sunset Rock Viewpoint, the Point Park Trails Loop, and the Craven's House Loop Trail.

On Signal Mountain, you can hike through steep gullies, discover hidden waterfalls, and catch stunning views of the Tennessee River Gorge. The most popular Signal Mountain trails on Alltrails.com are Edwards Point Trail, Rainbow Lake, the Bee Branch Loop, Signal Point Park, and the Green Gorge Trail. You can also go chasing waterfalls like Rainbow Falls, Middle Creek Falls, and Falling Water Falls. Other popular trails include the Cumberland Trails and Cooper Prentice State Forest.

5. Whitewater Rafting

Whitewater on the Ocoee River will be an adrenaline rush like you've never experienced before! If you dare, your guide will help you navigate the close to 10 miles of excellent Class III and Class IV rapids, which is just one of the reasons the Ocoee River is one of the top whitewater rafting locations in the country. See here for a list of rafting outfitters and advice on whitewater rafting on the Ocoee.

6. Get on the Water

Explore the Tennessee River gorge on the water with a kayak, canoe, or pontoon rental from Canoe Kayak Chattanooga. Take a half-day excursion or multi-night paddling adventures with Outdoor Chattanooga. You can even rent a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard and paddle right through downtown Chattanooga. For everything you need to know about paddling in Chattanooga, check out the complete guide on the Visit Chattanooga website.

For more articles like this, follow me. I write about Tennessee travel and all things Memphis, including community events, live music, and festivals, and all the best food and drink!

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Local city guide for Memphis Tennessee, reporting on current events, entertainment, and all the best places to eat and drink. And a few cocktail recipes here and there!

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