The latest addition to Chattanooga’s greenway system is by no means the longest we’ve completed. But if you ask the neighbors who turned up for the grand opening, they’ll tell you this stretch of trail’s got something that matters more than mileage: a bridge, linking the South Chickamauga Greenway to the Tennessee Riverpark.


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At a community celebration last month, Chattanoogans turned out to mark the marriage of the greenways with a 5K race and a stand-up paddleboard social—as well as a bike parade, bluegrass, and dancing. “It’s been 20 years in the making,” said Rick Wood, Trust for Public Land’s Tennessee state director. “Now there’s true connectivity into neighborhoods. This is a big deal.”

Longtime resident Walter Hodges, who lives adjacent to the new trail segment, agrees. Before, if he wanted to use the Riverwalk, he had to drive to it. Now, he’s among the 25,000 people who live within a 10-minute walk of the South Chickamauga Greenway—so he can get there on foot or by bicycle.

Young children play on the South Chickamuaga Greenway

“My family can now ride from our home near Sterchi Farm to the downtown area, staying on the greenway entirely and avoiding congested roadways,” says Hodges. “This new section is a tremendous asset to our neighborhood and the broader community. The connectivity among urban, suburban, and natural outdoor spaces is truly remarkable.”

The latest addition leaves just three miles left to go in the full South Chickamauga Greenway. When it’s complete, Chattanoogans and visitors will enjoy a 23-mile car-free corridor linking the city proper with outlying neighborhoods and open space as far south as the 200-acre park at Camp Jordan. That means a world of options for outdoor recreation: walking, running, biking—even paddling on the creek from one of the greenway’s four canoe launches.

Paddleboarders on South Chickamauga Creek

The greenway system also has a practical side: Chattanoogans can use it to walk or bike to work or school—and avoid rush-hour traffic. For a city with ambitious climate-change goals, greenways are a critical part of the effort to reduce the number of cars on the road.

Jonathan Gibbons heads the city’s efforts to promote bicycle commuting and other alternative transportation. “The South Chickamauga Creek Greenway will connect thousands of residents to great shopping, restaurants, and employment opportunities—all while saving time and money and avoiding pollution, boredom, and traffic,” he says. “What could be better than going to work or picking up groceries surrounded by Chattanooga’s natural beauty?”

A man bikes the South Chickamauga Greenway

Want to support work like this? We’re working to connect communities to nature all across the country—and now is a great time to help out. When you donate to Trust for Public Land before May 31, a generous supporter will match your gift dollar for dollar, up to $200,000.