10 Short, Easy, and Stunning Hikes in Chattanooga, TN
March 30, 2021
Here in Chattanooga, you don’t have to go on a long trek to see beautiful views. You can walk a few minutes or a few hours and observe equally gorgeous scenery either way. The hikes on this list are perfect if you’re in the mood to explore nature, but not ready to spend a whole day on the trails. Luckily, Chattanooga is home to many scenic hiking trails, both short and long. Time to lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails!
Start at Craven’s House and follow this trail up to the park. Point Park is the site of the Civil War battle referred to as “The Battle Above the Clouds.” There you will find interesting Civil War artifacts, as well as an incredible view of Chattanooga. After exploring Point Park, hike back down to Craven’s House to complete this 2.8-mile loop.
Just like the Point Park route, this trail also begins at Craven’s House on Lookout Mountain. The hike to Sunset Rock offers incredible views of Chattanooga along a 2.9-mile, out-and-back trail. Follow the map to stay on the right path, as there are some routes that branch off from the main trail. Climb a bit higher along the trail to get the best view.
If you’re up for putting up a bit of effort to get gorgeous waterfall views, this hike is for you. The 1.5-mile out-and-back trail disappears about a ½ mile in, requiring hikers to scamper down the rocks to reach the falls. Follow the pink trail markers to head in the right direction. Although the adventure down can be a scramble, it’s worth it once you reach Middle Creek Falls.
Best explored from May until September, this 2.8-mile out-and-back hike is perfect for waterfall lovers. You will love stumbling upon smaller waterfalls along the way to the main falls. Get there early to snag a parking spot, especially in the summer months. The trail is fairly steep, but the payoff of the waterfalls is completely worth the ache in your legs.
To access this trail, head down Ochs Highway and park in the paved pull-off just past Sanders Road. You can see the waterfall only a half mile into this out-and-back hike, so feel free to turn back there. If you’re wanting to explore the falls more, keep walking along the trail to check out the upper pools and the wooden bridge for a hike about 2 miles total. Heading out in the spring and summer seasons? Keep your eyes peeled for colorful wildflowers too!
Heading out for the day? Add on our Hiking Above The Clouds package to receive a cooler backpack with lunch and trail snacks to keep you fueled for your hike!
This 1.2-mile out-and-back trail is full of historical significance. In 1838, groups of Cherokee Native Americans walked along this path during the Trail of Tears. Additionally, in 1863, Union troops brought Civil War supply wagons using this trail. Today, the trail is an easy, peaceful walk through lush, green forest.
Audubon Acres is a sprawling 130-acre nature and wildlife sanctuary divided by the South Chickamauga Creek. Choose your own adventure here amidst their five miles of hiking trails. Explore historical sites that predate the Cherokees, gaze upon native birds in the wetlands, and take a peaceful break on a large boulder overlooking the creek. There is a fee to get into the nature preserve, so check out their website for details before you go.
Although the hike to the overlook is only one mile round-trip, the journey requires some physical effort. Julia Falls Overlook offers an open, 360° view of the jaw-dropping Tennessee River Gorge. The trek requires hiking up and down the wooden staircase known as “the mousetrap.” As long as you are comfortable on the stairs, you will love this short, rewarding hike with stunning views.
Looking for a change in scenery? Lookout Creek Trail provides an easy 2.5-mile loop stroll along a scenic creek. You’ll love walking through throngs of wildflowers and even a striking bamboo grove. The trail is maintained by the Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center, so there is a fee to park. Proceeds go toward maintaining the nature preserve.
The Tennessee Riverwalk spans 16.1 miles along the banks of the Tennessee River. Walking along the Riverwalk provides a great combination of natural splendor and industrial buildings. This well-maintained, paved path winds throughout the city. Check out this awesome guide for tips on accessing sweet views and unique parts of Chattanooga via the Riverwalk.
Whether you’re hitting the trails for minutes or hours, you’ll be happy you followed our insider guide to the Scenic City’s best short and easy hikes. Want to know more insider tips? Book a stay at the Chanticleer Inn, and enjoy your own European-style cottage above the clouds on Lookout Mountain. Located only 10 minutes from downtown Chattanooga, you’ll be ready to hit the trails anywhere in the city.