With over 50 trailheads within 30 minutes of downtown, Chattanooga trail running is burgeoning to say the least. Hundreds of people gather together on a weekly basis for group trail runs, and the racing scene is equally impressive.
For more information about various group runs, the resources below offer plenty of information:
Chattanooga Trail Runners MeetupScenic City Trail RunnersCumberland Trail RunnersWe Run Chattanooga
And for races, there are three race organizers, orchestrating no less than 12 trail races around Chattanooga:
Wild Trails - 10 race dates, 17 racesRock/Creek - 2 racesChattanooga Track Club - 2 races
Iconic Lookout Mountain is home to a seemingly endless network of trails. For trail runners, perhaps the best place to start is from the historic Cravens House. From here, runners can experiment with many trails of differing lengths, including the 4-5 mile Cravens House Loop. Although the favorite loop option on the mountain is the 10-mile Big Daddy Loop. Comprised of 7 of the mountain’s trails, it provides a comprehensive experience of Lookout’s trail system as well as challenging uphill running.
Just across Lookout Valley, on Raccoon Mountain, lies one of the best 13-mile loops in the area. While the Perimeter Loop at Raccoon is probably more famous among mountain bikers, trail runners also love it for its smooth singletrack, punchy uphills, and swift descents. And the view of the city from the East Overlook is unrivaled.
Closer to the heart of the city, urban nature doesn't get any more accessible than Stringers Ridge. No more than 5 minutes from Chattanooga’s downtown business district, and maybe 2 minutes from the bustling North Shore district, Stringers is a great place to trail run. If you like roller coaster running, this is the place to go.
And last but not least, the trails on Signal Mountain must be mentioned. With a handful of memorable out-and-backs on the Cumberland Trail, as well as the 12-mile Pot Point Loop—considered by some to be the Holy Grail of Chattanooga trail running— it’s not surprising that three of the premier races in the Rock/Creek Race Series take place on Signal: the famous StumpJump, the brutal UpChuck, and the staggeringly beautiful River Gorge Race, which Trail Runner Magazine recently identified as one of the top 21 races in the country.