My Top 5 SUP Spots in Chattanooga
This is an easy to moderate paddle depending on how you do it. It is a great place to go when it’s windy or super hot. It is protected by woods on either side and offers shade. I also like to go here in the winter because it is protected from the wind. Typically you can paddle upstream about 3-3.5 miles before you hit the shallows. But if we have had a lot of rain you can paddle much further up.
Directions: Going East on Riverside Drive from downtown Chattanooga, turn left on Lost Mound Drive. This will lead you into the Riverpoint location on the Riverwalk where you can park and unload your board. Restrooms are available at the parking area.
Head down to the creek to the left of the Riverwalk overpass and you will find a floating dock where you can put in. Map location: http://bit.ly/1MzTTMI
This is typically an easy paddle from the boat ramp upstream around Maclellan Island and over to the Hunter Traverse, depending on the current. It can be very difficult if TVA is releasing a lot of water from Chickamauga Dam so be aware. There is an app, called TVA Lake Info, you can install on your phone that will tell you what the current release rate is in cubic feet per second. A good rule of thumb is anything below 20,000 cfs is fairly easy to deal with, depending on your fitness level. An advanced paddler can handle 45,000 cfs but will definitely notice the current and add to their workout effort. The paddle is about a little under 2 miles round trip. There is a lot of wildlife around the island and the Hunter Traverse is a basically a bouldering route over the water. The bluff there is really beautiful to check out on your way back to Coolidge Park.
This is around 7 miles roundtrip from the Suck Creek Boat Ramp on Suck Creek Road upstream around Williams Island and back to the ramp. Spectacular scenery spot in the River Gorge! And again, good to check out the current situation with TVA Lake Info (Lake Chicamauga) map before you head out. I love this paddle as it combines a great workout going upstream with a chill relaxed paddle back downstream with plenty of natural beauty to take in along the way.
Part of the Tennessee River Gorge, this paddle has stunning views of Raccoon and Signal Mountains and plenty of wildlife. It is about 9 miles one way and you will need to set up a shuttle so you have a return vehicle from Raccoon Mountain.
This is a longer paddle, around 12 ½ miles. The scenery is spectacular as you wind your way through the Gorge emerging in Nickajack Lake and finally ending at Hales Bar Marina. You can see the ruins of the old Hales Bar Dam here as well. Watch out for the masses of aquatic plants that bloom in this stretch in late summer. Just makes it a little harder to paddle through. Also, beware of getting lost in Mullens Cove thinking that is the way to Hales Bar. It will be on your right side as you paddle through the Gorge. Go check it out if you have time, but know that it won’t take you to Hales Bar!