To paddle Soddy Lake is to experience a stretch of water thousands drive over each week but few really see.
What Makes It Great
Soddy Lake, just a few miles north of Chattanooga where Soddy Creek meets the impounded waters of Lake Chickamauga, abounds with songbirds, water birds and raptors. Birds feed in the shallow waters and mudflats on the west side of Highway 27 as it passes over the lake, and Bald Eagles emerge from their roosting grounds to the west. In spring and summer, it isn't uncommon to see Great Blue Herons, Double-crested Cormorants, Osprey, Red-tailed Hawks, Canadian Geese, and many more (see http://www.tnwatchablewildlife.org). The lake is listed as a birding site for the Tennessee Ornithological Society.
The paddle around Soddy Lake is an out-and-back irregular loop, so it's perfect for the solo paddler or a group paddle. No one is going to get lost. One hour or three, it's up to you. Paddle the entire lake, or just a portion; stop and take photographs, enjoy a swim, or get in that "ramming speed" mindset and paddle twice around. You may encounter motorized craft in the lake, but the area is wide enough for everyone to have plenty of space. Experienced paddlers looking for a workout can follow the water 3.5 miles to the Tennessee River.
Who is Going to Love It
Paddlers of any level of experience.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Many people launch at the fishing pier adjacent to the causeway, near the intersection of Dayton Pike and Hixson Pike. There's plenty of free, unattended parking with a ramp down to the water.
Another option is to proceed a half mile down Hixson Pike to Holly Circle (turn left and drive through the cemetery) to a very nice public boat ramp with restrooms.