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The Best Hikes in Chattanooga: 7 Trails You Don’t Want to Miss

One of the many reasons I love visiting Chattanooga is its proximity to so many great trails. Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll in nature, there are hikes for every ability level. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about the best hikes in Chattanooga. All of these trails are dog-friendly, but some might be more difficult for older/smaller pups so plan accordingly.

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Foster Falls

drive TIme: 45 Minutes
DIfficulty: Moderate

Foster Falls is one of my favorite hikes in the Chattanooga area. The scenery is beautiful and it’s easy to spend a whole day exploring here. One of the nicest things about visiting Foster Falls is the fact that it’s free and has ample parking, unlike a lot of other local trails. However, it is a popular spot -especially when the weather is at its best- so getting there early is ideal if you want to enjoy the falls without crowds. *The time changes when you’re driving here from Chattanooga, so plan for that if you’re arriving early!

  • There are two trail options you can take to get to the falls:
  • Overlook Trail-take a left at the overlook for this 0.3-mile trail that will take you directly down to the falls, but be warned it’s very rocky! I would avoid this route if it’s a wet day.
  • Fiery Gizzard Trail-take a right at the overlook, following the sign that says Fiery Gizzard Trail. This will take you directly to the 1.7-mile loop which you’ll stay on until you see a sign that says “Climbers Access 2” that brings you down to the falls.

I chose to do Fiery Gizzard Trail and really enjoyed it. Along this trail, you’ll cross over the stream that leads to the falls, get great viewpoints of the falls from above, and probably get to watch some rock climbers along the way. Once you make it down to the falls you’ll probably be warm since it’s a moderately difficult hike, so bring a swimsuit & water shoes to go for a swim! When you’re ready to head out you can walk the suspension bridge to Overlook Trail which will take you back up to the parking lot.

Snooper’s Rock

Drive Time: 45 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Although it’s a bit of a drive from Chattanooga, the views at Snooper’s Rock are well worth the trip. Its location deep inside Prentice Cooper State Park will require driving on a rough gravel road, so expect lots of bumps on your way in. Once you enter the park it will take around 15 minutes to get there. Before you head out, check their website because the park is closed on specific dates for hunting.

You have two options when it comes to getting to Snooper’s Rock. Option one is to drive directly to the parking lot which is a 5-minute walk from the overlook. Just put Snooper’s Rock into Google Maps and it will take you straight there. I recommend going on a weekday to avoid crowds since the parking lot only fits 4-6 cars. I opted for this option so that I was able to check out another trail after.

Option two is to take the Snooper’s Rock Trail, which is 6 miles long, moderately challenging, and from what I read when researching, pretty overgrown.

North Chickamauga Creek

Drive TIme: 20 Minutes
DIfficulty: Easy to moderate

North Chickamauga Creek is easily my favorite hike in Chattanooga! I highly recommend spending an entire day out here because it’s beautiful. To get there, put “North Chickamauga Creek Gorge Trailhead” into Google Maps which will take you to the parking lot. The parking area isn’t huge, so get there early if possible.

There are so many places to swim, as well as a few blue holes to jump into, which is the highlight of this area. You’ll have to cross the creek to get to the blue holes, but it only takes around 20 minutes to get there from the trailhead. The trail itself is pretty long, so if you have time to explore further it’s worth it! I’d say the best time to visit would be summer or early fall when the creek is flowing and you can really enjoy the water.

Edward’s Point

Drive TIme: 15 Minutes
DIfficulty: Moderate

Edwards Point is on the more difficult side, with a rocky trail that has a lot of inclines due to the elevation gain. It’s totally worth doing for the views of the Tennessee River Gorge though! Make sure you pack a lunch or snacks to enjoy once you get to the top. I’d recommend going earlier in the day because it would be tough coming back down around dusk or later. I’d skip this one in the heat of summer, but early fall (September) is a good time to go. This trail is located on Signal Mountain so you’ll find many more trails nearby that you can check out after if you’re feeling up to it!

Cloudland Canyon State Park

Drive TIme: 30 Minutes
DIfficulty: MOderate

This park is actually located in Georgia, but since Chattanooga is right across the state line it’s an easy drive to get there. The park charges a $5 parking fee, so bring cash or buy a pass before you go.

There are multiple trails you can do in the park, but my recommendation would be Sitton’s Gulch Trail. This 4.8-mile out-and-back trail takes you winding through the forest along the creek, making it a really peaceful hike. At the end, you’ll find multiple waterfalls and viewpoints that are great for a picnic. I recommend going in the spring or summer because it can be dried up by fall. *There are no restrooms along this trail.

Glen falls

Drive TIme: 15 Minutes
DIfficulty: Easy

Glen Falls is a fairly easy hike near Lookout Mountain with a few different waterfalls. This hike is great if you don’t have a ton of time since it’s on the shorter side at 2-ish miles and not far from downtown Chattanooga. Keep an eye out for stairs on the right after crossing the bridge which will take you through a “door” in the rocks and lead you to the waterfall pictured above.

The parking lot along the road by the trailhead is very small, and it’s on a steep curve in the road, so be very cautious when parking.

Big Soddy Creek Gulf

Drive TIme: 25 Minutes
DIfficulty: Easy

Big Soddy is a very easy, family-friendly hike with several swimming holes. The full trail is 3.5 miles, with the first 1.5 miles being a flat, gravel path until you get to the creek. Depending on the time of year it can be difficult to cross the creek and continue on the trail, so you may want to check the latest All Trails reviews to get the status. The swimming holes and a small waterfall are all accessible on the first part of the trail though.

General Hiking tips

  • Download the All Trails app which is great for any trail you’re visiting. You can look up any trail and find general information like difficulty or dog-friendliness, reviews from those who have hiked it (I usually find helpful tips in the reviews that you wouldn’t get elsewhere) as well as a trail map that you can download. All the hikes on this post are linked to their All Trails page which you can save on the app for future adventures!
  • Pack your sunscreen and bug spray. I always apply SPF to my face and any other exposed skin before heading out on a hike, but if you’re out for a length of time you’ll need to reapply. And of course, bug spray is great to have on hand because nothing can ruin a good hike like being swarmed.
  • Invest in a good pair of hiking shoes. I’ve had these Colombia hiking boots for years and love them! They were comfortable from the get-go and didn’t need breaking in. I also bought Chaco’s for hikes that involved water, but wasn’t a fan, so the jury is still out on that type of shoe.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks. I have this Osprey hydration pack which has been perfect for any hikes I’ve taken over the last few years. It holds 2.5 liters of water and has two side pockets for bottles, which I use to hold Finn’s water. The main compartment is big enough to hold some snacks (I like to bring nuts, meat & cheese roll-ups, and fruit) and whatever else I might need without being too heavy.
  • If you’re bringing your pup along like I do, make sure to have everything they need as well! I bring plenty of water specifically for Finn, dog food/treats, waste bags to pick up after him on the trail, and towels that I keep in my car to clean him off afterward.

After all this hiking you’ll probably have worked up an appetite, so be sure to check out my post on The Perfect Weekend in Chattanooga for all the best places to eat and drink!

Happy Hiking! Be sure to save this post for later ⬇

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