Here are upcoming news and events from Outdoor Chattanooga:
Guided Hiking Series & Beginner Backpacking Adventures on the Cumberland Trail
Join Outdoor Chattanooga on a guided hike on the Cumberland Trail in Prentice Cooper State Forest on Friday, March 2 at 10 a.m. We have two spots available on this 4.5 mile rated as moderately strenuous, one-way, mostly downhill hike that ends at arguably the best overlook in Chattanooga - Snoopers Rock. Call us to register and receive details!
We're also offering three introductory backpacking adventures as part of our Cumberland Trail Hiking Series.
Experience guides will be with you every step of the way providing instruction on the basics of backpacking. Learn how to properly pack the essentials, campsite setup, cooking techniques on the trail, all while practicing Leave No Trace principles in the backcountry. Cost is $65 per person which includes formal instruction, guides along the trail assisting with campsite setup and breakdown, meal prep and cleanup, transportation to and from the trailheads, and the use of backpacking/camping equipment (if needed). We ask that participants have some hiking experience and be physically able to hike 4 to 6 miles per day on a trail rated as moderately strenuous while carrying a pack weighing 25 to 45 lbs. Beginners will find this adventure to be challenging, but certainly attainable. Children ages 14 and up must be accompanied by a participating adult. You must call to register in advance as space is limited. All details will be given upon registration via email. For more info or to register: Call (423) 643-6888
Hiking Series Schedule -- Section details given with registration
March 2- Friday
March 10-11 Saturday to Sunday (backpack)
April 14-15 Saturday to Sunday (backpack)
April 27 Friday
May 11- Friday
June 8- Friday
October 27- Saturday
November 10-11 Saturday to Sunday (backpack)
Due to popular demand...
Try Archery Sessions Continue Through March!
Join Outdoor Chattanooga for our version of M-Archery Madness! Try Archery for FREE every Wednesday in March from 3:30-6:00 p.m. at our building in Coolidge Park! No prior experience, equipment or reservation required to participate. Just drop in anytime between the open hours to take aim and give archery a try. Appropriate for ages 6 to 106. We provide instruction and equipment following the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) procedures and format. For more info call (423) 643-6888.
Mountain to Town - Downhill Bike Adventures
Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Join Outdoor Chattanooga for an all-inclusive downhill bike adventure from Lookout Mountain to downtown Chattanooga. Enjoy views of the city from the top of the mountain while cruising the Guild Trail until it connects with the Tennessee Riverwalk all the way back into town. Outdoor Chattanooga's experienced guides will be with you during the ride providing support and instruction. You can use your own bike or borrow one of ours at not additional cost. Ride time is approximately 2 hours. Appropriate for ages 12+ with an adult. This is a beginner friendly tour, but participants must be confident riding a bike, be able to shift gears and brake independently and listen to instruction while moving at higher speeds. Cost: $25 per person includes bike, helmet, transportation, guide staff and ride support. Reservations required in advance as space is limited. For more information and to make a reservation call (423) 643-6888 or email us.
More Outdoor Chattanooga Events
Saturday, March 3rd 9:00 a.m.
Weed Wrangle, is a one-day, citywide, volunteer effort to help rescue Chattanooga's public parks and green spaces from invasive species through hands-on removal of especially harmful trees, vines and flowering plants, such as honeysuckle, Chinese privet, English ivy, and kudzu. Supervised by experts in invasive weed management, Weed Wrangle volunteers will learn about the adverse impact of invasive plants on the environment and help remove these plants from some of the natural areas in the Chattanooga region. Chattanooga Park Stewards is focusing on two sites, Renaissance Park and South Chickamauga Creek Greenway. Join the volunteer efforts at either park to help wrangle weeds and make Chattanooga more beautiful.
Sunday, March 4
The third annual Chattanooga Marathon presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee brings over 2,000 endurance runners to the Scenic City for a weekend filled with excitement and activities. The race course gives runners a tour of downtown finishing at the First Tennessee Pavilion, which will be filled with live music, food vendors and kids activities. There's still time to register for all the race distances including the full marathon, half, 5K and kids 1 mile run. Or sign up to volunteer and cheer on the athletes As with all big events, the marathon course will have an impact on traffic and cause some road closures throughout the day.
Chattanooga Ducks Unlimited Great Outdoor Festival
Saturday, March 17th 11:00-3:00 p.m.
The Chattanooga Ducks Unlimited Great Outdoors Festivalsponsored bySportsman's Warehouseis a FREE event, designed especially for youngsters to introduce them to the great outdoors. Held atCovey Creek Farm on Saturday, March 17 from 11am to 3pm. There will be tons of outdoor activities, demonstrations and games including archery, fishing, hunting, trapping, sport clay shooting and biking from a variety of conservation organizations and outdoor retailers. The first 200 kiddos will receive a free Ducks Unlimited membership, duck call, t-shirt and goodie bag. Lunch will be provided for all participants. No reservation required, just show up and have some fun!
More Community Events
Try this Local Outdoor Adventure
We all got a little dose of warm weather and contracted the Spring Fever!! What's the cure? Get outside and have an adventure, of course. We're recommending a local backpacking adventure this month to cure what ails ya!
Backpacking may seem like an activity reserved for hard core outdoor adventurers with experienc, but we think this outdoor activity that blends hiking with camping, is for anyone that is curious and has a sense of adventure. We'll help walk you through this month's local adventure with some beginner friendly advice and recommendations. If you take our advice, you'll maximize your experience and look like a pro!
What to Bring?
Backpack - These are made to carry all your equipment into the campsite. Comfort is what you seek. The wrong backpack will ruin the experience. It's best to size your pack based on your torso size, not your height, but most backpacking packs come with some range of adjustability. You'll want a backpack that's 30-50 liters for overnight trips so it can accommodate your gear. Any local retailer can help fit you for a backpack that's best for you and your intended purposes. You can also find used packs at the Gear Closet or Four Bridges Outfitters or rent from Rock Creek if you're on a budget.
Click Pic for Tent Selection Guide
Tent - There are tents for every reason and season you can imagine. You'll want to select one that is appropriate for you and your intended purpose. Backpacking tents are lightweight and pack smaller than car camping or family tents. Some people are content hanging like a burrito in a hammock, others like to dwell on the ground. It's up to you to select your preferred sleeping style because ultimately, backpacking is more enjoyable when you get a good night's sleep.
Click the Pic for Sleeping Bag Guide
Sleeping bags and ground pads (if not hanging from trees in a hammock) - All the choices out there can be confusing, but it's as simple as finding a sleep system that's comfortable to you and appropriate for your intended purpose and season of use. You can go to a local retailer to get some advice from professionals about degree rating, weight, materials and packability, or read up on gear guides online like this one from Mountain Lovely.
Clothing - it's best to wear synthetic fabrics and layers when backpacking. Always pack a warm outer layer and a waterproof layer like a rain jacket or poncho.
Footwear - Don't break in new hiking boots on your first hike! Wear sturdy, well broken in shoes or boots. Blisters will ruin a backpacking trip. Be sure to bring moleskin, waterproof tape and at least one extra pair of socks.
Food - Keep it simple. You don't have to go buy special backpacking food. Take what you'd normally eat so that way you'll eat and enjoy it. There are plenty of prepackaged foods that are easy to heat up and serve in one pot. Don't overthink it, keep it simple.
Water - is heavy! Most backpackers will rely on water purification systems to avoid carrying large amounts of water on long hikes. It's recommended to have at least 3 liters of clean water for drinking and cooking on an overnight trip.
How to choose a backpacking stove
Cookware - Some backpackers can survive on cold meals, but we prefer the reward of a hot meal after a long day of hiking. You can pre-plan meals to cook in foil over a fire or invest in a lightweight backpacking stove like a Jetboil, whisperlite or pocket rocket. It'll make cooking a breeze and take up very little room in your pack. With all the choices out there it can be overwhelming, but REI offers a good guide on how to choose a backpacking stove.
The Ten Essentials + First Aid Supplies - Any overnight venture into the woods requires preparation and planning. It's always a good idea to pack the ten essentials! You can purchase pre-packaged first aid kits from retail stores or make your own.
Now, it's time to get all that in to the back pack!
Where to Go?
For the true beginner's out there, we recommend Cloudland Canyon State Park or Desoto State Park. Both have short distance trails to designated campsites so you can get a taste without biting off more than you can chew. Or, you can camp in a traditional site and spend your day hiking the many trails within the state park.
Desoto State Park has a 3/4 mile hike into a built shelter with a fire ring all cozied up next to a babbling brook. Be sure to follow the map so you don't end up going the wrong direction and doing the full 3 mile loop! We suggest staying 2 nights so you can get out and explore the hiking trails during the day without packs on your backs and just return to the same campsite. Take time to drive over to Desoto Falls while you're out there!
Cloudland Canyon is one the most scenic and popular of Georgia's State Parks. Stunning waterfalls, incredible long-range views, sheer canyon walls, and spectacular sunsets make the park one our favorite Georgia hiking and camping destinations. Cloudland Canyon offers cabin and yurt rentals as well as standard RV and tent camping sites. But, they also offer a backcountry trail with several campsites and pit toilets nearby. Just like Desoto State Park, the hike in to a campsite is less than a mile and then you have an entire State Park to explore without carrying heavy packs around all day long.
There are longer distance backpacking options available, but we wanted to offer up suggestions for those "never have I ever, but I kinda wanna give that a try" folks. If you have any questions or need more information, please check out the backpacking section on our website or give us a call. You can also join us on the introductory backpacking adventure we're offering as part of our Cumberland Trail Hiking Series this year.
Still not convinced you can venture out on your own? Join us on March 14 at 6:00 p.m. at Outdoor Chattanooga for a Beginner Backpacking workshop presented by Jeremy Parker. Jeremy has been backpacking with his parents since he was 5 years old. While attending college at UT, he hiked over 500 miles of the Smokey Mountain National Park trail system. In 2010, he completed a NOLS Ultralight backpacking course and in 2013, he thru-hiked the AT with the trail name Guru. Jeremy will share his personal backpacking experience, what he's learned out on the trail, and how to carefully select the appropriate gear to make your backpacking adventure more enjoyable. We hope you'll join us for this workshop and get inspired to try our suggested adventure this month!
Looking Ahead...Upcoming Events
1 Winter Workshop: How to Plan & Lead a Day Hike
2 Cumberland Trail Guided Hike
2-4 Chattanooga Marathon
3 Weed Wrangle
Yoga + Hike
Family Night at Reflection Riding
4-9 NOC Raft Guide School
6 Rapid Learning Whitewater Kayak Session
7 Try Archery
8 Planting for Pollinators
10 Benefit Bass Tournament
Feed the Endangered Red Wolves
10-11 Introductory Backpacking Adventure
10-18 Chattanooga WFR Certification Course
11 Black Forest Classic
Nature Calls 15K & 5K
11-16 NOC Raft Guide School
12 Spring Homeschool Day at Reflection Riding
Learn to Ride a Bicycle
14 Try Archery
16 TTC Trail Wars and MTB Festival
17 Great Outdoors Festival-Ducks Unlimited
St. Paddy's 7K Run
Introduction to Orienteering
Ocoee 2018 Season Opening Weekend
18-23 NOC Raft Guide School
21 Try Archery
23 Campside Sessions - Women's Mountain Bike Camp
24 Run the 65 Roses with Meb Keflezighi
24-25 Trials Training Days
25-30 NOC Raft Guide School
28 Try Archery
30 Paddling By Moonlight
31 Spring Wildflower Hike
1-6 NOC Raft Guide School
3-8 Prentice Cooper Hunting Dates
8-13 NOC Raft Guide School
9 Learn to Ride a Bicycle