The Tennessee River runs through downtown Chattanooga and Chattanooga is taking advantage of this natural resource better than most other cities we have visited. The Riverwalk is just one of the many attractions in the easy-to-navigate downtown area.
The Riverwalk is seven miles of trail along the Tennessee River. The Riverwalk starts at Chickamauga Dam (there are four Chickamauga creeks here, so every other thing is named Chickamauga something) and runs the seven miles to downtown, past the Hunter Art Museum and across the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge.
Tom and I rode the Riverwalk on our tandem on a beautiful October weekday. We started from the Chickamauga Dam (free parking!) and headed downtown. The Riverwalk is not wide and has some speed restrictions. Even on a weekday it is well-used, so Tom and I did not ride fast. People were walking, jogging, river-watching, as well as riding. There are also several parks with playgrounds along the route so you have to watch for children dashing across the path.
The Riverwalk passes through some warehouse and industrial areas. It also goes by the campus of Chattanooga State Community College and through the campus of the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. A short spur (which is being extended) follows South Chickamauga Creek. We rode by the Boathouse, which we are told has excellent catfish. Now that we know where it is, we will have to check it out.
We ended up in the sculpture garden of the Hunter Art Museum and admired all the sculptures as we walked the bike through. Then we carried the bike down a flight of steps in order to avoid the very tight switchbacks of the bike trail. We saw another tandem bike going down the switchbacks and we weren’t sure they were going to make some of the turns. We rode across the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge and then turned around and headed back.
Of course we had to get ice cream in order to have the strength to pedal back. We stopped at The Ice Cream Show which is similar to Coldstone – you pick the ingredients you want added to vanilla or chocolate ice cream – only with soft serve. They claim they can make 17,000 combinations. I think it is Tom’s new favorite ice cream place.
The Riverwalk has funky and fun mile markers. Each one is unique and represents the quirky character of Chattanooga.
Since we have been in Chattanooga we have met quite a few people who have retired here. The city offers all kinds of recreational opportunity, along with cultural events, festivals every weekend, and gorgeous parks to play in. And once that sweltering summer weather has passed, the climate is just about perfect. All of this in a small city that is easy to navigate and beautiful from any direction. Anyone want to visit?