Chattanooga, TN has been busy transforming itself into a gateway city for outdoor recreation, adding miles of sweet singletrack at all points on the compass. The city is now a bonafide long-weekend mountain bike destination and this is your guide to making the most of your trip.
Chattanooga features several large mountain bike trail systems, though sadly most of them are not linked together so you’ll need a vehicle to shuttle yourself between trails.
Raccoon Mountain is easily the most well-known trail in the area and with good reason. The main loop circles a large reservoir and there are several smaller loops to choose from as you make your way around the reservoir. Everything is well signed with proper warnings for some of the more technical sections.
Enterprise South is another flowy trail system located on the northeast side of town that is a great option for beginning riders and families. Still, even experienced mountain bikers will get a kick out of the banked turns, rollers, and the pump track located in the middle of the trail system.
If flow isn’t your main thing and you’re looking for more of a technical challenge, be sure to hit the trails at White Oak Mountain Biology in Collegedale, about 30 minutes from downtown. The rocky ridge at the top of this trail system will definitely keep you on your toes!
East Ridge cycles is a large bike shop located on the south side of town where you’ll find just about anything you need for your ride.
Mountain biking is my favorite way to build up an appetite and Chattanooga doesn’t disappoint with plenty of restaurants to choose from.
Taco Mamacita, located in the Northshore area, is a great place to grab tacos and margaritas after a ride. Champy’s, centrally located in town, is known for serving the best fried chicken in Chattanooga along with ice cold 40s. And General’s Smokehouse is located not too far from White Oak Mountain and serves take-out BBQ (there are a couple picnic tables outside for dining al fresco).
Chattanooga is bustling with outdoor enthusiasts almost year round–mountain bikers, paddlers, climbers, and hikers–and they all need a place to stay. The Crash Pad offers affordable accommodations from hostel-style bunk rooms to private “boutique hotel” rooms. The community kitchen and common living room are geared toward outdoor adventurers looking to set up base camp.
For those seeking less luxurious accommodations (or who just want to sleep close to the trail), head up to Harrison Bay State Park where you’ll find 128 RV sites and 21 tent camping sites. The mountain bike trail at Harrison Bay is a short loop which makes it a great warm up for any of the trails recommended above!
And if you’re looking for truly unique accommodations that even your significant other will enjoy, book a night at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. This hotel offers 48 rooms in restored Victorian train cars along with standard rooms located on the property.
Let’s face it: the following list isn’t really for the mountain biker. Instead, think of this as a list of activities your family can enjoy while you and your buddies hit the trail!
The Tennessee Aquarium is one of the largest in the US and is consistently rated as the best tourist attraction in Chattanooga. And just across the river from the aquarium is Coolidge Park with a large splash fountain and carousel for the kids.
Other area attractions include Rock City, Ruby Falls, and even an alpine slide.
Chattanooga has transformed itself into a legitimate mountain biking destination with plenty of trails to explore, great places to eat, and all types of accommodations in town. Start planning your trip for spring before the heat hits in the summer!