What is RiverRocks? Despite entering its 5th year to grace October in the Scenic City, it’s quite possible that you’ve never partaken in a RiverRocks event, that you have no clue what RiverRocks is, or that you’ve heard of RiverRocks, but would struggle to define what exactly it is if put on the spot.
And you’re to be forgiven, because RiverRocks, as an idea, isn’t easily described in an elevator pitch at a cocktail party. Is it an outdoor festival spanning an entire month? Is it a series of outdoor adventure competitions for outdoor enthusiasts and elite-level athletes? The answer is resoundingly both, and with over 20 events held throughout the month of October, getting the most out of RiverRocks requires a fair bit of planning. The purpose of this guide to RiverRocks Weekends 1 & 2 is to make that planning process easier for you and to provide the information you need to enjoy one of the best months to live and play in Chattanooga.
Film: The Crossing, Thursday Oct. 16
A feature documentary following two young Australians, as they set off on the adventure of a lifetime. The pair attempted to drag their home-made kayaks more than one thousand kilometres across a remote island in the arctic. Equal parts rock n' roll and youthful exuberance, these hardened adventurers battled freezing temperatures, knee-deep mud, razor-sharp rocks, were chased by wolves and hid from polar bears. The film will be showing at Renaissance Park at 7:00 pm.
The Urban Campout, Saturday Oct. 18
On Saturday, October 18th from 5:30pm to 10:00 pm, Renaissance Park will come alive with a whole host of fun activities, including a bonfire, L2 Board rentals, and lots of backcountry camping demos and tips. Additionally, there will also be a catered dinner, a live band, and an outdoor film screening. Those lucky enough to reserve a spot will also be able to stay the night in Tentsile "treehouse" tents. Prices are: $50 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under, and $100 for the overnight stay.
7 Bridges Marathon, Sunday Oct. 19
Chattanooga hosts its 3rd annual 7 Bridges Marathon on Sunday, October 19th at 7:00 am. The marathon, half marathon and 5K all begin in Renaissance Park. If it's anything like the past two races, this should be a very exciting event. At this time of year, Chattanooga is one of the most scenic cities on the planet — and most runners would agree. The temperatures are cool enough to knock the edge off, but not entering blue-lips territory. And the fall colors will be painting a fiery mural on the trees along the route.
The final weekend of RiverRocks is when things really heat up, with some of the most exciting events of the festival happening back to back to back.
IMAX Reel Rock Tour, Thursday Oct. 23
Reel Rock brings it back to the big screen once again for the ninth edition of its worldwide adventure film tour. Prepare yourself for sweaty palms and heart-stopping moments as Sender Films and Big UP Productions make it possible for us rock pulling fans to see what the real big dogs are up to out there. This year the tour features a documentary called Valley Uprising: Yosemite’s Rock Climbing Revolution . The documentary highlights the beginning days of Valley climbing when these massive granite walls were first attempted. Rock star legends like Royal Robbins, Yvon Chouinard, Chuck Pratt and Steve Roper talk about the adventures, challenges, rebellion and rivalry that embodied rock climbing in the 60’s.
Ragnar Relay, Friday Oct. 24
Starting at 8:00 am on Friday, October 24th, and lasting all day and night, the ultimate adventure relay race will see several intrepid teams make their way from Chattanooga all the way over the Cumberland Plateau and beyond to the finish line in Nashville. Teams of 12 (or 6) will join together, piling into vans, and cheering each other on to tackle the roughly 200 mile course. Only one team member runs at a time, roughly 5-8 miles in one go, before passing off the torch, so to speak. By the time these runners arrive in the country music capital of the world, they'll have been through one of the most exhausting and rewarding team events you can participate in.
Tennessee Aquarium High Line, Friday Oct. 24
At 5:30 pm on Friday October 24th, local world-class slack liner Edward Yates will rig lines of great heights on the glass pyramids of Chattanooga’s most iconic building, the Tennessee Aquarium. Then he'll walk across them. Similar to tight rope walking, yet accessible to anyone, slack lining and high lining are trending outdoor sports. Edward will safely execute this stunt, as he will be wearing a safety leash in case of fall. The public is invited to view this cutting edge spectacle from the Aquarium Plaza.
Lead Now Tour with Paige Claassen, Friday Oct. 24
Rock/Creek will be hosting Paige Claassen at High Point Climbing & Fitness on Friday October 24th to speak about Marmot’s Lead Now Tour. Claassen, a 22 year old professional rock climber from Colorado, is scheduled to do a presentation of photos and videos of the world-wide tour which has been designed to “Inspire people through rock climbing.” This event will also be coupled with a pint night to benefit the Southeastern Climbers’ Coalition. It all starts at 6.30 pm at High Point on 219 Broad Street. Five dollars will get you your first beer and pint glass to keep, and any additional beers are $3 each.
ChattaJack 31 River Race, Saturday Oct. 25
This epic 31 mile ride through the heart of the Tennessee River Gorge is open for registration. A mass start at Coolidge Park at 8:00 am on Saturday October 25th will see dozens of kayakers and stand up paddleboarders digging for the Nickajack Lake and Hale's Bar Marina in this WPA sanctioned event. Award Ceremony and Party will be Saturday night after the race at 7:00 PM at the Walker Pavilion in Cooldige Park.
Salomon CITYTRAIL Race, Saturday Oct. 25
With both the 30K and 10K options, this hybrid trail and road running race is a true urban adventure, as it takes runners past some of Chattanooga's most iconic sites. Beginning at 8:00 am, participants will receive a unique Salomon tech shirt ($40 retail value), a post-race meal provided by Whole Foods, a custom pint glass, one free post-race beer (if you can prove that you are old enough) and free admission to the final celebration of the River Rocks festival all for only $65... all of this in addition to perhaps one of the most unique running events anywhere. Register here .
Triple Crown Bouldering Series, Saturday Oct. 25
If climbing is more your thing, at 9:00 am on Saturday morning, Stone Fort (Little Rock City) will be a host of the Triple Crown bouldering competition for the 12th consecutive year. Special to this event is the access to the boulders on the golf course, which are otherwise closed to bouldering. This means 50+ additional problems to the competition. Climbers are required to gather early on competition day at the Montlake Golf Club, where breakfast will be generously provided by Five Ten. Throughout the day outdoor vendors will have shoe demos, there will be food and drinks for purchase, live music entertainment, raffles and spectators are more than welcome to come enjoy all that the Triple Crown has to offer.
RiverRocks Grand Finale, Saturday Oct. 25
No matter what you chose to spectate earlier in the day — the paddling race, city trail run, or bouldering competition — the perfect way to end this month long outdoor celebration is to head over to Coolidge Park for the RiverRocks Finale at 4:30 pm on Saturday evening. There will be live music from a number of talented acts, plenty of food from local food trucks, and lots of cool demos including acro yoga and slack lining. Perfect for the whole family. If you can only make it to one RiverRocks event this month, this might be the one to choose!
We hope this has been helpful, and we'll see you out there!