Tennessee is known for its bounty of hiking trails, so it's no surprise that Chattanooga is home to countless outdoor enthusiasts. But Chattanoogans aren't the only ones who love a good hike; your dog does too! That's why I have compiled a list of dog-friendly hiking trails in the Chattanooga area for you and your four-legged companion to enjoy. Trust me… I cannot fit all of them on one list, but these were picked for convenience, scenic views, swimming holes, and dog friendliness!
Big Soddy Creek Gulf - The Blue Hole
Care for a swim? One of the many "Blue Holes" in Soddy Daisy, this is the perfect spot to cool off in the heat of the summer. Take a 30 minute trek along a wooded trail to the crystal blue swimming hole or veer off at any point to take a dip in the Chickamauga Creek. These trails go on for miles so you can choose how adventurous you want to be!
Pro tip: Keep an eye out for snakes, most will never pose a threat, but this area has a decent snake population especially near the water.
Possum Creek - Cumberland Trail
Less trafficked and more isolated, Possum creek has two main trail heads that both bring you along a beautiful section of the Cumberland Trail. You can come in from the North or the South and each direction leads you to a small waterfall where you can take a dip at around mile 4. Sections of this trail, particularly coming from the Southern trail head can burn the legs!
Cloudland Canyon - Overlook Trail
The Cloudland Overlook Trail can be as short as a quarter mile or if you connect it other trails you can go as long as 50 miles! Most of this trail is wide, easy to navigate, and is ideal for dog walking, plus you can choose to turn around and walk back to your car at any time. There are rails in some, but not all areas of the bluffed areas so keep the dog secure.
Cloudland Canyon - Cherokee & Hemlcok Falls
Less liked by dogs for the 600+ steps, but arguably one of the best attractions in the park is Cherokee Falls. If you and your dog are brave enough you will be treated to an awesome 60 foot waterfall. Just strap on the boots and tighten the harness for the trek back up the 600+ steps!
Prentice Cooper - Mullins Cove to Snoopers Rock
Prentice Cooper has countless trails to explore. We recommend staying on portions of the Cumberland Trail to avoid the motorized trails that ATV enthusiasts enjoy. If you’re looking for an all day adventure check out the Mullins Cove trail. This 9.6 mile trail hits some of the park's favorite lookout points like Snoopers Rock. This point (Snoopers Rock) can also be accessed by several much shorter trails if you’re not feeling up for an all day affair.
There isn't a hike more iconic than the Sunset Rock overlook atop Lookout Mountain. This quick "hike" takes you from a small gravel parking lot to a breath-taking view of the valley. Like the name implies, this ledge provides the perfect spot to watch the sunset. Hold the dog tight if they have never been around bluffs. This spot is very popular and easily accessible so parking fills up quickly. We recommend trying to go in the middle of the week to try and avoid the inevitable crowd.
Rainbow Lake and Bee Branch Trail Loop
The Rainbow Lake Trail is a 2.2 mile hike atop Signal Mountain. The short trail loops around Rainbow Lake - a popular swimming spot for humans and dogs alike. If you're up for an adventure, you can explore the suspension bridge and surrounding trails! Parking is decent, but can also fill up quick on weekends and summer months.
If you're looking for a convenient hike in the heart of Chattanooga, look no further than Stringer's Ridge. While these trails don't boast many scenic overlooks or swimming holes, they sure make up for it in accessibility and family friendliness. There are several miles of criss crossing loops that make for a good “quick hiking fix”.
Another very popular spot in Chattanooga is Signal Point. This spot is only 15 minutes from downtown and boasts scenic bluff views of the Tennessee River. The first section of the trail has a steep descent down several sections of steps, but after that the trail levels out and brings you to the point. Again, be careful with your dog around these areas. Look out for the safety of your dog and others who may not want your dog running around while they’re close to the edge soaking in the views.
When you and your pup hit the trails, be sure to remember trail etiquette such as cleaning up after your dog and letting speedy hikers pass you. Believe it or not, other hikers might not love your dog's slobbery greetings as much as you do, so always keep your dog on a non-retractable leash. Don't forget to pack an extra water bottle for your dog and watch for signs of overheating and dehydration. For the best trail gear come check out The Ark’s selection of Ruff Wear! Harnesses, leashes, collapsible bowls, and even trail lights, and backpacks!