In honor of the World Cup finale, we headed out to Chattanooga to spend the weekend with Nate’s soccer-loving friends. This also gave Nate an easy excuse to hit up the Ocoee for some paddling while I ventured out on my first solo hike on the Tanasi Trail System at the Ocoee Whitewater Center. While the Whitewater Center was packed with people on this Saturday, I was the only hiker on the trail this afternoon.
- Scenery: 3.5
- Difficulty: 3.5
- Length: 6.7 miles
- Dog Friendliness: 3.0
- Convenience: 1.0
- Bonus Funtimes: 4.0
Scenery (3.5 out of 5.0): I chose the River View Trail mostly because the distance worked nicely with the time I had on my hands while Nate paddled, but also because the idea of a “river view” sounded very pleasant. Unfortunately, while there were times I could hear the water, I never caught a glimpse of the Ocoee. I did, however, get a chance to enjoy the rather undisturbed nature of the Cherokee National Forest.
The River View Trail offers a nice escape from the main trails that are on the Tanasi Trail System (a group of 20+ miles of trails). While the trees were not quite as enormous, the entire area had a feel similar to the Ewok Forest… and since I was hiking solo, I was hoping that if I had to run into some kind of woodland critter, it’d be something more like this guy than one of the brown bears that are occasionally spotted in the area.
The payoff for the hike and subsequent blisters (moleskin is forever my friend) was this surprise view as the River View Trail joined back up with the Chestnut Mountain Trail. This trail will also be remarkable to check out in the fall when the leaves change color.
Difficulty (3.5 out of 5.0): As it seems to be most popular with mountain bikers, there’s a lot of up-and-down and back-and-forth on this trail. The great part about this trail was just about the time fatigue was setting in during a climb, the trail leveled out for a nice respite. The not-so-great part about this trail were the excessive switchbacks during the last mile of the loop. These switchbacks are all the more prominent because you’re cutting back and forth along a clearing for power lines, which makes the back-and-forth much more irritating. However, the view that appears once you knock out that part of the trail makes it worth the effort.
Length: 6.7 miles total (loop is 3.3 miles + about 1.7 to get to the trail from the Whitewater Center)
Dog Friendliness (3.0 out of 5.0): We left Ezra in Nashville on this outing, but this would’ve been a pretty solid trail for him. The only caution is to be sure to bring water for your dog since the creeks on the trail only amounted to minor trickles. There is, however, the promise of the Ocoee River at the end of the trail to provide the pups plenty of water to drink up and cool down in.
Convenience (1.0 out of 5.0): Plan on at least 2 1/2 hours to get to the Ocoee River area from Nashville.
Bonus Funtimes (4.0 out of 5.0): The Ocoee Whitewater Center and surrounding area offer plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. From camping to hiking to rafting & kayaking and mountain bike trails galore, this area offers a little bit of everything. The Ocoee Whitewater Center provides plenty of maps and guides for area activities. If you plan to make it a family day, there are also several small swimming spots near the Whitewater Center that the kiddos filled up on this warm July day.