Prentice Cooper State Forest - Backpacking/Camping

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Prentice Cooper is an absolute gem for outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds, and it's located right in Chattanooga's backyard.

Written by

Rodger Ling


0.1 miles


Destination Distance From Downtown

11.6 miles


2 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

1 days

1-2 days


All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits




Only 10 miles west of Chattanooga, and popular for hunting, climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, hiking, and trail running, Prentice Cooper is an absolute gem. 

What Makes It Great

With over 6,000 acres of protected land and 35 miles of hiking trails, which includes the south end of the Cumberland Trail State Park, Prentice Cooper is an outdoor mecca right in Chattanooga's backyard. The Forest is situated on the Tennessee River Gorge, which is referred to by locals as the Grand Canyon of the Tennessee, and for good reason. The gorge is a 26 mile canyon, with bluffs rising over 1,000 feet from the undulating river. Rock/Creek holds trail races here throughout the year, rock climbers frequent the park, and Chattanoogans make the quick drive for all sorts of outdoor reasons, including these: 

Who is Going to Love It

Outdoor enthusiasts of all persuasions will enjoy fantastic panoramas, beautiful hiking trails, and primitive camping. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

First come, first serve camping is permitted at two designated campsites: Davis Pond and Hunter's Check Station. Campsites are primitive with pit toilets and campfire rings only, so if you're looking for warm showers and clean bathrooms, you won't find them here. Those camping at Davis Pond must be in the campsite by dark.

Backpackers may use the campsites along the trails. Check scheduled hunting dates before your visit. has a nice overview with maps of the trails.

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Prentice Cooper State Forest

3998 Game Reserve Road
Chattanooga, TN, 37405
35.164119, -85.416867

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