When things happen
Find out when everything happens in the Scenic City.
What's new
What's coming our way in Chattanooga.
Where we live
A guide to the region’s diverse housing options.
Where we work
From candies to cars, what’s made in Chattanooga.
Where we play
From parks to theaters, there’s lots of entertainment.
Need to know
A resident’s guide for getting by in the Scenic City.
Outdoor recreation opportunities abound
by Staff Report
Thursday, March 27, 2014    |   
Sailboats are a popular option for recreation on Chickamauga Lake.
Sailboats are a popular option for recreation on Chickamauga Lake.
Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


Area YMCAs have a variety of recreational offerings for individuals and teams, for both adults and children. Their numbers are:

Downtown branch -- 423-266-3766

North River -- 423-877-3517

Hamilton Place -- 423-899-1721

J.A. Henry -- 423-266-4844

North Georgia (Ringgold, Ga.) -- 706-858-0590

Chattanooga has become a magnet for outdoors enthusiasts, and with good reason. For one thing, it is within an hour's drive of more hiking trailheads than any other city in the world.

Check out the Cherokee National Forest east of the city, with connectors to the Appalachian Trail. Or try the Pinhoti Trail passing through the area around Dalton, Ga.

Wander through Cloudland Canyon and DeSoto Falls state parks in extreme Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama.

The Cumberland Trail continues to be developed west and north of Chattanooga, adding to a host of possibilities, including the multisite South Cumberland State Park.

With Signal Mountain, Lookout Mountain, Raccoon Mountain and Stringer's Ridge providing high-level trails close to town, the area is loaded with spectacular walkways, and the options range from strenuous to very easy.

Even in the valley of Hamilton County are the Tennessee Riverpark, Greenway Farm, Renaissance Park, the Brainerd Levee and Enterprise South's nature trails, among others. Some neighborhoods have their own walking paths.

But hiking is far from the only exercise pursuit available in and around Chattanooga. It long has been a center for all kinds of recreation, including indoor pursuits such as bowling, boxing, gymnastics and racquetball. And the assortment grows from year to year.

From archery to Zumba, with geocaching and lawn mower racing in between, area residents and visitors can try many kinds of physical activity, some involving competition, some not.

  • photo
    Charleston Elementary School physical education coach Shane Evans watches as fifth-grade student Christopher Crenshaw draws his bow during archery class.
    Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The following list gives some specifics about where to go or whom to call for particular kinds of recreation.


Instruction, gear to buy and a practice range for adults and children are available at Choo-Choo Archery Etc. at 4270 Bonny Oaks Drive, 423-622-6849.

Auto racing

Chattanooga Region, Sports Car Club of America (www.crscca.com), including teen driving schools. Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip, 706-891-9831. One-third-mile oval dirt tracks: Boyd's Speedway racing on Saturdays this year, 706-891-6803 (www.boydsspeedway.net), as well as North Georgia Speedway at Chatsworth, 706-695-3313 (northgaspeedway.net).


Seniors play regularly on Wednesday mornings (10 a.m.-noon) and often on Saturdays at the Brainerd Youth & Family Development center. Contact Gene Blaes at 423-779-1021. Seniors play badminton and pickleball almost daily at the Frances B. Wyatt center on Colville Street (423-757-5443), and some days each week at Red Bank Baptist Church.


There are many community associations for youth play. Also, there is the recreational Tristate Baseball League (tsbl.leagueapps.com or email tristatebball@gmail.com), a wood bat league for adults.


There are community youth leagues, including offerings through Chattanooga Youth and Family Development centers and Upward programs in some churches, plus adult leagues through some recreation centers and area YMCAs. AAU/YBOA programs for girls and boys throughout the area, including the Chattanooga Basketball Foundation (boys and girls ages 5-10, Book McCray at 423-227-7206), Tennessee Xtreme girls (Juan Hansford, 423-635-0999, or www.tnxtreme.com), Chattanooga Grizzliez (ages 7-17, Daniel Wright, 423-760-1873, or www.chattgrizz.org) and Chattanooga Elite (grades 4-11 boys, chattanoogabasketball.weebly.com). And former Harlem Globetrotter Paul "Showtime" Gaffney has started a men's minor league team, the Chattanooga RailRunners, in the Central Basketball Association, based at the Sports University, 423-402-0332.


Many area food and drink establishments offer billiards and darts competition. Among them, Chattanooga Billiard Club has three locations: downtown (423-267-7740), East Brainerd (423-499-3883) and Cleveland (423-790-7887). The Greater Chattanooga Darting Association (www.gcda.org or email gcda@gcda.org) has league play throughout the area and hosts a big annual fall tournament, the Choo Choo Classic, benefiting Special Olympics.


The ancient Italian cousin to lawn bowling can be played at Heritage Park in East Brainerd and at several private courts in the area. Dr. Frank Knight, chairman of the Chattanooga Bocce Club (www.chattabocce.org), has a four-court indoor clubhouse in the works on Dodds Avenue. Contact him at z1boccez2@hotmail.com or 423-886-4179.


There are leagues for every level from novice to elite and from children to seniors, as well as nonleague bowling. Area centers include Holiday Bowl Brainerd (423-899-2695), Holiday Bowl Hixson (423-843-2695), Leisure Time Bowling in Cleveland (423-728-2988) and Valley Entertainment Center in Dunlap (423-949-4089), which also offers roller skating. Pin Strikes (423-710-3530) at Lee Highway and Highway 153 provides laser tag as well as bowling.


Amateur youth clubs include Red Bank Boxing (Skipper Fairbanks, 423-877-4113) and the Y-CAP program based on Central Avenue (Andy Smith, 423-847-7682). Joe Smith (423-400-8472) has been a USA Boxing regional representative and national vice president and was team manager for the 2008 U.S. Olympic boxers.

Disc sports

The Chattanooga Ultimate League has coed team play for ages 15-older at Camp Jordan Park. See www.nakedpretzel.com or playultimate.net for details. Disc golf courses in the area include The Sinks off Access Road in Hixson, Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, the Jack Mattox complex in Catoosa County, Cloudland Canyon State Park near Trenton, Ga., Camp Jordan Park in East Ridge, the Portland Park at the corner of Signal Mountain and Suck Creek roads, and 9 on Top at 1836 Taft Highway behind the Pumpkin Patch on Signal Mountain.


Community youth leagues. Women's tackle football with the Chattanooga Locomotion (www.gochattanoogalocomotion.com) and Tennessee Train (see tntrain.com, email tennesseetrain12@gmail.com or call Starlisa Horton at 423-320-4882) and minor-league men's teams including the Tennessee Crush (tennessee-crush.com). The Georgia Rampage, a member of the indoor X League, is based in Dalton and began season play in early March (rampage.stage.footballshift.com). There are adult flag leagues through some area YMCAs, the Chattanooga Youth & Family Development department (423-643-6055) and the Chattanooga Sports Complex on Dayton Boulevard (chattsports.com or 423-843-9511).


This is a relatively new activity involves following directions with GPS receivers to find hidden containers. Check out the Geocachers of Southeast Tennessee (geoset.proboards.com) or the Greater East Tennessee Geocaching Club (thegetgc.freeforums.org/index.php).


Children and youth programs at Tennessee Academy of Gymnastics in Chattanooga (423-894-3910), Gymnastics Center of Chattanooga in Ooltewah (423-238-5258), American Elite Gymnastics in Catoosa County (706-861-4500), Jill's Gymnastics on Hunt Drive off Mack Smith Road (706-891-2770) and Garner's Gymnastics in Hixson (423-842-5407).

  • photo
    Dana Daniels, a mobile disc jockey from Atlanta, moves his glider into position for transport after a 20-minute flight from the top of Lookout Mountain.
    Photo by Tim Barber /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


The Chattanooga Youth & Family Development department (423-643-6055) and the Catoosa County Recreation Department (706-891-4199) are among area possibilities for men's, women's and/or coed leagues.


Increasing opportunities in the area include Signal Mountain and Middle Valley (www.mvya.org) youth club organizations. McCallie School coach Troy Kemp (423-493-5630) is a resource for areawide participation.

Lawn mower racing

Held at several venues in the area, including Cleveland and Jasper, but mostly centered at the Savannah Valley Speedway in the Meadowview community on North Highway 58. Call Buster Hogan at 423-667-4905.


Play and competition through area YMCAs and the Sports Barns (downtown 423-266-1125, Lee Highway 423-855-0091, Hamill Road 423-870-2582).

Roller derby

Chattanooga Roller Girls, founded in 2008 and accepted into the Women's Flat Track Derby Association in 2010, have four home bouts at the Chattanooga Convention Center in 2013: April 13, May 18, June 29 and Aug. 10. Skaters interested in joining the team should email Bully Von Beat'Em (Lynda Cope) at freshmeat@chattanoogarollergirls.com. See chattanoogarollergirls.com for more information.


Instruction and competition through Lookout Rowing Club and Chattanooga Junior Rowing at the Chattanooga Rowing Center (423-622-6846).


The Chattanooga Rugby Club has men's teams and a youth program. The new venue at Montague Park showcases the sport locally. See www.noogarugby.com for contacts and event information.


Chattanooga Track Club (www.chattanoogatrackclub.org) sponsors and helps with a variety of road and trail races from 5-kilometer to ultra-marathon distance, plus triathlons. One of the annual highlights is the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in early November in the nation's oldest military park. In downtown Chattanooga, the 7 Bridges Marathon in October is run by Scenic City Multisport (www.sceniccitymultisport.com). Rock/Creek Outfitters (www.rockcreek.com) sponsors an interesting series of trail races, ranging from 1 kilometer to 50 miles, including the nationally renowned StumpJump 50k in early October. The Chattanooga Jets are a successful youth track and field club.

Scuba diving/skiing

Choo Choo Diving & Aquatic Center (423-899-1008) or Leisure Time Dive & Ski Center (423-622-1335). The latter also offers snow ski instruction and equipment and diving and ski trips. Dodge City Ski Shop at 7968 East Brainerd Road (423-892-6767) has a virtual ski machine that provides skiing and snowboarding simulation for practice.

Shooting sports

Benton Sporting Clays in Polk County (423-338-6034); Carter Shooting & Supply in Harrison (423-344-1099).


Area YMCAs and community associations for youth and some adult play, including Redoubt (423-899-4180), Camp Jordan Arena (423-490-0078), the Chattanooga Sports Complex (indoor leagues, chattsports.com or & 423-843-9511), Premier Soccer Academy (423-847-6565); Hispanic League, Sergio Ramos (423-362-0148); and open training, 3-v-3 play & clinics from Elite Soccer Training (email kris4futbol@aol.com or call 423-240-5737). The Chattanooga Football Club (chattanoogafc.com) offers high-level men's play in the National Premier Soccer League.


Community associations for girls' coach-pitch and fastpitch play, plus organizations throughout the area for adult slowpitch leagues. Included are leagues at the Summit of Softball (Richard West, 423-643-6055 or 423-595-4540), the Jack Mattox complex in Catoosa County (706-891-4199) and Veterans Park in Soddy-Daisy (Jimmy Pickett, 423-544-5368) and the Hixson Kiwanis church league (Bill Gotschall at 423-718-4667, Ron Fugatt at 423-842-9635, or Geoff Holden at 423-710-3933).


Lessons from the Chattanooga Youth & Family Development department, YMCA, McCallie School and others. Chattanooga Parks outdoor pools at Warner Park (423-697-1330) and Carver YRD center (423-622-7665); indoor pools at Brainerd (423-425-3600) and South Chattanooga (423-425-3550) centers. Chattanooga Area Swim League summer competition in communities from Cleveland, Tenn., to Calhoun, Ga., and a separate "fun league." Year-round youth training through the Baylor Swim Club (423-267-8506, ext. 267), the McCallie/GPS Aquatic Club (John Woods, 423-634-7606) and the city of Chattanooga (Peggy Grall, 423-697-1385). River Rats masters competition for adults (Stan Corcoran, 423-493-5536). For the Baylor Diving Club, which has a competitive springboard team for youth and adults, call John Bonds at 423-267-8506, ext. 654.


Instruction and competition through the Chattanooga Tennis Association (423-843-2456), Champions Club (423-870-3112), Manker Patten Tennis Club (423-266-6767), Racquet Club in Hixson (423-842-9622) and Fairyland Club on Lookout Mountain (706-820-0766). Play available on city courts, including Warner Park as the home for the Chattanooga Racqueteers adult competition team; the Racqueteers (Herb Barnett, 423-991-2855) also provide training for kids as well as adults.

Therapeutic recreation

Includes wheelchair basketball, power soccer, CHIPS golf, wheelchair tennis, adaptive cycling, kayaking, rowing and water ski opportunities. Call Elaine Adams with the Chattanooga Youth & Family Development department at 423-697-1345.

  • photo
    Kenneth Daniel, left, and Montrell Besley play a game of horseshoes at the Soddy-Daisy Kids Park near Soddy Lake.
    Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


The Jump Park Trampoline Center opened at 1810 Chestnut St. near Finley Stadium; facility open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 10 a.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday. Call 423-531-8688. Superfly Trampoline Park, 74556 Commons Blvd. is set to open in May. And the Jump Park Ooltewah, location to be determined, is set to open this summer.


The Chattanooga Triathlon Club conducts swimming-running-cycling events as well as training opportunities, including a mentor program. See www.chattanoogatriathlonclub.org for information. Scenic City Multisport (www.sceniccitymultisport.com) also runs triathlons as well as other events, and the Sports Barn (423-266-1125) is another triathlon training resource. The Chattanooga Waterfront Triathlon in mid-July is a huge event run by the Chattanooga Track Club in conjunction with Team Magic of Birmingham, Ala.


Adult leagues, including coed, through Chattanooga recreation centers and some area YMCAs. Junior Olympic girls programs throughout the area, most notably the Choo-Choo City Volleyball Club organization (email Paul Brock at superp@bellsouth.net) and the Cleveland-based Ocoee Heat Volleyball Club (www.ocoeeheatvb.com) for multiple age groups. Call Ed Elam (423-875-5131) about seniors play.

Water skiing

Lake Chickamauga and other area waterways provide plenty of opportunities for recreational skiers, and No Wave Wake in Fort Oglethorpe is a proven practice venue for national and international standouts in the sport.


Beyond a variety of area fitness centers, health clubs, YMCAs and other options that include weights and weight machines, Steve Fauer with Tennessee Speed & Strength (423-870-4060) works with teens for competition.


There are several kids clubs in the area, particularly in communities with strong high school programs. UTC has one with an areawide pull, the Chattanooga Wrestling Club (www.utckidswrestling.com). Contact Mike Hatcher at 423-303-0760.


Privateer Yacht Club, established on Lake Chickamauga in 1940, sponsors local, regional and national levels of competition and conducts instructional camps for youth. Call 423-877-9411.


Classes are offered at fitness facilities throughout the area, including several Chattanooga Youth & Family Development centers.