With miles of shaded trails, Enterprise South Nature Park offers an exciting option for ditching the asphalt. It's a great place to get in a solid run before or after work.
What Makes It Great
The 2,800 acres of Enterprise South lie off of Volkswagen Drive near I-75 in Northeast Chattanooga. Opened in December 2010, the park features 25 miles of hiking, mountain biking and ADA accessible trails (both paved and unpaved), as well as picnic areas, historical exhibits, and a 7-mile nature loop for automobiles. The foot-traffic-only paths are predominantly covered with woodchips for a smooth, quick-draining trail. That's not to say they are easy, as many contain short, steep "stingers" that sap the energy from your legs. The Poe Run Path near the Visitor's Center gives your run a gentle start, then connects with rolling loops around Hidden Lake, Boulder Point, and the more secluded Hawks Ridge Trail.
You can also venture onto the 13 miles of multi-use singletrack which was built to delight mountain bikers--just be alert for those fast-moving wheels. The trails are well-marked but can be confusing; be sure and get a map at the Visitor's Center.
For a surprisingly strenuous late-summer race, check out the Still Hollow Trail Half-Marathon and 10K (part of the Salomon Rock/Creek Trail Series). The 10K is run on the woodchip pedestrian paths, and the 13.1-mile route continues on Black Forest and TNT singletrack. Though the distances may not sound intimidating, the August humidity and rolling hills will challenge even the most experienced runners.
Who is Going to Love It
Runners of any ability can find something to like at ESNP. Yes, there are hills, but there is no shame in walking the steeps.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are several parking areas along the loop road that circles the park, but runners may prefer to start at the lower lot near the Visitor's Center, where you fill up with water and get a map.
Rangers are courteous but particular about the speed limit and ensuring that visitors are out of the park at closing.
The park opens at 7:00 a.m. but closing time (typically at dark) varies with the season.