More than 25 years in the making, Chattanooga's South Chickamauga Creek Greenway is finally complete

Photo contributed by Trust for Public Land / At its highest point, the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway boardwalk soars 42 feet off the ground, giving the section the feel of a tree canopy tour.

After 25 years of work, the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway is complete, stretching 12 miles from Camp Jordan to the Tennessee Riverwalk.

Designed to mimic the character of the creek, the greenway winds alongside the tributary, following its lush embankments - so steep in some places, it required special engineering. The most recently completed segment, the Cromwell Hills Connector, for example, features a boardwalk in place of a paved trail, nearly a mile long and stilted up to 40 feet over the water.

"At best, we could build about 20 feet per day," says Noel Durant, Tennessee director of Trust for Public Land, the organization that's been working with the city since 1996 to establish the greenway. More than just the terrain, the boardwalk required navigating the area's historic train trestles and bridge pilings, some of which predate the Civil War.