This week, Chattanooga welcomes thousands of athletes and their families for what should be an incredible first IRONMAN Chattanooga. Knowing where to swim, bike, run, explore, and eat during your time in Chattanooga, whether you're competing in the event, or supporting a competitor, can help ensure a truly memorable experience. RootsRated and IRONMAN have teamed up to bring athletes and their families a series of insider's guides for swimming, cycling, running, exploring, and eating in the Scenic City. Hope you enjoy, and we'll see you out there!
1. ** RiverWalk**
Why it’s Great: Chattanooga's River Walk extends 7.5 miles from the Chickamauga Dam to Ross' Landing in downtown Chattanooga. It's an amazing urban trail system that has become the recreational spine of the Scenic City. The Riverwalk itself is a wide concrete path that extends entirely along the Tennessee River. With several entry points and parking lots, you can choose your preferred distance, but if you’re starting from downtown, there’s no better place to start than the Chattanooga Riverfront at Ross’ Landing. If you're feeling frisky, a 15-mile out and back is at your disposal. There's also a playground for young'uns if your spouse is less than enthusiastic about your running/biking/walking antics.
Additional information and directions: The Chattanooga RiverWalk via RootsRated.
2. Chickamauga Battlefield
Why it’s Great: Nine miles from downtown, the Chickamauga Battlefield offers some of the most beautiful (and safest) roads for runners and cyclists in the Chattanooga area. This park, the site of a critical Civil War battle, offers miles of asphalt, most of which features a designated pedestrian lane and single-direction car traffic. If you park at the visitors' center, your run will start on flat ground and take you straight into the heart of the park.
Additional information and directions: Chickamauga Battlefield via RootsRated
3. The Bridges
Why it’s Great:"Wanna run the bridges?" It's a staple of every Chattanooga runner's lexicon, and for good reason: On this short route, you can get a glimpse of everything that makes Chattanooga great. Start this run in Coolidge Park on the Northshore, where there are plenty of parking spaces, restrooms and water fountains. Run up to Walnut Street Bridge, one of the world's longest pedestrian bridges, and cross the Tennessee River. As you head south across the newly refurbished wood surface, you'll have your first view of the downtown skyline -- including the Hunter Art Museum, the Tennessee Aquarium, Lookout Mountain and AT&T Field. Hang a right down 1st Street, and come back across Market Street Bridge toward Renaissance Park and Hill City. Take another right on Frazier Avenue, past all the shops and restaurants. Go up and across Veteran's Bridge and up the stairs through the Bluff View art district. Finally, end your run by going back down across Walnut Street Bridge into the park. This route has hills (some steep, some gentle) -- but just take your time and enjoy the view. Frazier Avenue has a wealth of eateries for your post-run refueling -- from pizza and beer to fro-yo and donuts.
Additional information and directions: The Bridges via RootsRated
4. Hills of Riverview
Why it’s Great: If you're looking for a hilly run through a beautiful, historic neighborhood, look no further than Riverview. This bucolic neighborhood of North Chattanooga provides runners and joggers with serene views of the Tennessee River amidst some of Chattanooga’s oldest homes. Starting at the Riverview Park--where there is free parking, as well as bathrooms and water fountains-- run up Riverview Road along the links of the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club. Create your own loops, or out and backs, or follow the course of Chattanooga’s oldest road race, the Chattanooga Chase.
Additional information and directions: The Chattanooga Chase via RootsRated
5. Main Terrain Art Park** **
What Makes it Great: Located in the Southside, adjacent to the Chattanoogan Hotel, this mixed-use park has a ¾ mile running track, workout stations for pull-ups, dips, rings, and jumps, as well as a small climbing wall for the kids. With urban art installations to boot, this is a nice place to get the blood moving before or after a workout when you’d rather be outside than on a treadmill.
Additional information and directions: Entry points at West Main Street and West 13th Street.