Chattanooga Hikes: Trek 3


“Wow, I didn’t even know this place existed!”

This is only appropriate response when you discover over 30 miles of walking, hiking, and biking trails just a few miles outside your front door.

Enterprise South Nature Park is a gloriously pruned tract of land across the parking lot from Volkswagen’s manufacturing plant in Chattanooga. On a clear day you can look towards the brilliantly lit VW logo and see Lookout Mountain’s Point Park as you enter and exit the park.

Newly paved and landscaped, this once abandoned dynamite manufacturing locale hosts dozens of trails for casual walking, bike-riding, scenic hiking, and even roads for your leisurely Sunday drives.  It’s best to stop by the Visitor’s Center when you enter to pick up a color-coded layout of the diverse and winding paths. Being mine and Abigail’s first time, we simply started walking down the first path we saw – Poe Run Path, which after a mile ambiguously becomes Hidden Lake Trail.  Several minutes later, we split off on the Hidden Lake Overlook.  It’s not as scenic of an overlook as you might imagine compared to the rest of Chattanooga’s trails, but you do get a nice view of the hidden lake, as well as the picnic area on the opposite bank.

From there we looped around and took the paved roads back to our car.  All in all we walked between 3.2 and 3.5 miles.  Had we not both been under-the-weather, we would have loved exploring all the ins and outs around the park.  As the trails are so well kept and do not vary much in difficulty (all moderately easy, it seems), Enterprise would be a great area to get away for the day.  In fact, I highly recommend it.  Take a day for yourself and get lost in the splendor of the outdoors.

Perhaps my favorite part of the area, and certainly a main contributor to the park’s popularity, is the 100 old dynamite bunkers.  No, those flora-ridden mounds with ventilation shafts are not, in fact, hobbit holes.  What once held tons of explosives during WWII, and the rundown roads that lead to them, are now a fascinating scenic additive.  Chattanooga never is one to be short of something unique, I’m so thankful to say.

Total Hike Time:  1.5 hours

Three down, thirty-seven to go.

Chattanooga Hikes: Trek 2


“Quintessential Chattanooga.”

That’s the phrase that comes to mind when one walks the Riverwalk at Chickamauga Dam.  Whether you’re riding a bike grabbed from one of the many bike-rental stations around town, or slowly strolling along people watching, this path connecting the Chickamauga Dam to Downtown is magnificently beautiful.

For those that missed Trek 1, my wife Abigail and I have begun a journey to hike Chattanooga’s 40 most beautiful trails during the year 2015.  Our selections are made from Five-Star Trails Chattanooga, Your Guide to the Area’s Most Beautiful Hikes, by Johnny Molloy, which was likely our favorite gift from this past December 25th.

The Riverwalk itself is a 3 mile out-and-back concrete path, going from the Dam to the Fishing Park and back again.  If you’re feeling adventurous – which, if you’re reading this, you likely are of the adventurous type – then you might want to make the additional 5.2 miles cruise along the path all the way to the Downtown waterfront.  Better yet, you might want to rent a bike for the day, meander along the Riverwalk, and grab a kayak downtown for a relaxing row around the Tennessee before settling down for a nap in your hammock.

For those walking, look out.  Abigail and I were almost run over by half a dozen bicyclists; not because they were being rude, just because it’s a popular place to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon, and the pathway’s never more than 6′ wide or so.  It did make for a fun game of “who can hear the bike first,” though!  (We don’t recommend this game if carting children.)

In addition to following the flowing river, we both enjoyed the pieces of art scattered along the trail.  Waterways and public art – quintessential Chattanooga – what’s not to love!

This is a great place to take kids, as well.  At the Fishing Park, the side opposite the Dam, there’s a massive playground, with bathrooms and picnic areas and all. It truly is a solid choice for a family outing.  Take your diapers and charcoal, and enjoy the outdoors away from the downtown hustle and bustle.

We took our jolly sweet time, and the 3 mile round trip took us roughly an hour-and-a-half. As far as hiking goes, this wasn’t much of one.  To be honest, it doesn’t justify writing a post about it aside from making the commitment to write about each of the 40 trails we’ll do.  However, it was still in a book of the 40 most beautiful trails in the Chattanooga area (with an hour-and-a-half radius), so that’s definitely saying it’s worth your time to enjoy.  Trek 3, though, we’ll make sure to break a sweat.


Kenneth D. Burke

Chattanooga Hikes: Trek 1


“It’s time to go on an adventure,”

my wife and I said to each other Christmas morning.  We’d just been given an obscure gem of a gift – a book detailing forty hiking trails in the Chattanooga area.  (The book, Five-Star Trails Chattanooga, Your Guide to the Area’s Most Beautiful Hikes by Johnny Molloy, is a great little guidebook that I’d recommend to anybody in the area.)

For those of you not from Chattanooga, the Scenic City is a melting pot of nature. Divided by the Tennessee River, Chattanooga sits between a slough of mountains, most notably Lookout Mountain and Signal Mountain.  Nestled in Southern Tennessee, this area, known for its outdoorsy population, is home to a cornucopia of scenic walking routes – by which I mean hundreds.  Now you can understand our exuberance at opening a 250p. travel guide.  And thus we started our new adventure – to hike the Chattanooga area’s forty most beautiful trails before the end of 2015.

Earlier this very day (December 31, 2014), my wife Abigail and I did our first trail.

Though we both love the outdoors, we’ve been pretty sluggish the last several months, which showed horribly as we grotesquely stumbled our way up Dalton, Ga’s George Disney Trail.  Our guidebook lists the length and difficulty for each trail Molloy found worthy of publishing.  We then ordered the forty trails by difficulty and length, and George Disney is supposedly the easiest.  Supposedly.

It’s short, only 1.4 miles round trip.  Half (.7 miles) straight up, and half back down.  When you think “only a little over half a mile,” you don’t predict you’ll have to stop three times to bring the spinning world back into focus, but let’s just blame it on the brisk North Georgia December air and our moronic choice to wear shorts, t-shirts, and Chacos.

According to Abigail, this is one of those trails where your only thoughts on the way up are, “Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, why me! But then you get to the top, and the view is totally worth it.”

George Disney Trail
View from the top of the Rocky Face Mountain in Dalton, GA; taken by

I concur.  That sweet redemption of those glorious views from atop Rocky Face Mountain was well worth our gasping for air moments earlier.  On a clear day, like the day we went, you could see features of Lookout Mountain, including Covenant College and Pointe Park.  Had we been smart, we would’ve thought to take a camera to capture the moment – which we both believe was far more beautiful even than the image shown above.

What was very enjoyable for me, as an Eagle Scout, was to see that the area Boy Scouts are responsible for maintaining the trail.  They’ve labelled various flora along the way, provided a bench for resting halfway up, and even have an amphitheater and lectern set up at the top! How about that?

Were we to do it again, I’d make sure to utilize trekking poles, as I slipped down the steep trail several times during our descent.

Total hike time, plus breaks, plus enjoying the views:  1 hour, 45 minutes.

One down, thirty-nine to go.


Kenneth D. Burke