Free Electric Shuttle Northern Terminal Station
The trail kicks off here, in downtown Chattanooga. This is a great starting place for exploring downtown's world-class attractions and sights, whether you set off on foot, by car, or catch the free Electric Shuttle. Shuttles run every 5 to 10 minutes daily between the Tennessee Aquarium (point 2) and the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex (point 17) with stops everywhere in between, including the restaurants in Jack's Alley (between 4th & 5th Streets) and The Shoppes at Warehouse Row. Grab a shuttle brochure, hop on and explore! Downtown has something for everyone.
Shuttle Info Line: 423-629-1473
215 Broad St.
Park at pt. 1; walk to visit pts. 1-7.
Chattanooga Visitor Center Annex/Shuttle Park South Terminal
Stop in for info on attractions, events, tickets and tips for visitors, and pick up a MoonPie(c) before you hit the trail.
Shuttles run every 5 to 10 minutes daily between the Tennessee Aquarium (point 2) and the Chattanooga Choo Choo complex (point 17) with stops everywhere in between, including the restaurants in Jack's Alley (between 4th & 5th Streets) and The Shoppes at Warehouse Row. Grab a shuttle brochure, hop on and explore! Downtown has something for everyone.
1421 Market Street Chattanooga, TN 37402
Located at the Free Electric Shuttle Southern Station, next to the Chattanooga Choo Choo Complex.
Tennessee Aquarium / IMAX® 3D Theater
Chattanooga's top attraction takes you on a remarkable journey from the mountains to the sea. You'll explore three living forests and get up close to amazing creatures like giant catfish, feisty otters, playful penguins, toothy sharks and free-flying butterflies. The IMAX® 3D Theater runs daily with movies from all over the world and under the sea.
One Broad St. Chattanooga, TN
More About: Chattanooga's Name
Chattanooga's name comes from a Native American word for "Rock Coming to a Point," describing the outline of Lookout Mountain.
The Passage: A Trail of Tears Memorial
The Cherokee people are memorialized in this city park at Ross's Landing Plaza. You'll find seven doors that symbolize the seven clans of the Cherokee Nation, and six-foot disks share their history and culture. Look for the Cherokee alphabet on the plaza grounds and the sandstone carved pictures along the upper sides of the Aquarium's River Journey building.
Ocean Journey Building Chattanooga, TN
Located between Market St. & Aquarium.
More About: Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears is one of the most tragic, upsetting, yet significant chapters in American history. The forced 1838 Removal of Southeastern Native Americans from their traditional homes to lands distant in the West was a denial of our faith in justice, property rights, and democratic governance. In fact, the assault on valued principles represented by the Removal and then the Trail of Tears led generations of Americans to ignore that past in a vain hope that people would forget about these events. The trail was actually a series of routes, some along the Tennessee River beginning at Ross’s Landing (point 3) in Chattanooga and other overland trails beginning at Fort Cass in Charleston (point 102). Both the river and overland routes crisscrossed Tennessee. The first three Cherokee groups left in June 1838. Chief John Ross and the members of the Cherokee Council asked federal officials to delay further travel until the worst of the summer was over and to allow the Cherokee to organize their own removal. The Cherokee-organized removal, always under the watchful eye of the U.S. Army, involved approximately 13,000 Cherokee, placed into 13 groups organized by kinship. The first detachment left on August 28, 1838 under the leadership of Hair Conrad, whose log cabin home still stands on private property near Cleveland, and the final detachment departed on December 5, 1838. Although a definitive number of those who perished while in the camps, on the Trail of Tears, and shortly after their arrival in the West will likely never be known, historians believe the number may have reached as high as 8,000.
Explore the banks of the Tennessee River at Ross's Landing Riverfront Park, named for John Ross, Chief of the Cherokee Nation. Here, several Cherokee groups began their journey by water on the Trail of Tears in 1838.
Riverfront Pkwy. Chattanooga, TN
You'll find several ways to explore the river here, including Blue Moon Cruises, a luxury boat that provides a 3.5-hour ride or the River Gorge Explorer, a 1.5-hour tour on a high-speed catamaran. Both provide naturalist guides and views of the Grand Canyon of the Tennessee, the breathtaking Tennessee River Gorge.
Blue Moon Cruises: 888-993-2583
River Gorge Explorer: 423-265-0698
One Broad Street Chattanooga, TN
Southern Belle Riverboat
Just to the left of the pier, visitors enjoy sightseeing, lunch and dinner cruises on board this popular 500-passenger attraction, known for its on-board entertainment and October Fall Leaf Cruises and special Christmas Carol Cruises.
201 Riverfront Pkwy. Chattanooga, TN
Board a World War II military amphibious landing vehicle for a 1-hour narrated downtown tour, then splash into the river as the vehicle becomes a boat.
503 Market St. Chattanooga, TN
Creative Discovery Museum
There's something for everyone at this hands-on museum featuring art, music, science, and tons of family fun for ages 2-11.
321 Chestnut St. Chattanooga, TN
NorthShore Historic District
This area was originally called Hill City by African-Americans making a new life soon after the Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in 1863. Today, it's an eclectic mix of businesses run by passionate locals, embracing the tagline, "Hip to Historical." Visitor and local favorites include NorthShore Grille, River Street Deli, Sweet CeCe's and Taco Mamacita's.
NorthShore Grille, 16 Frazier Ave., Chattanooga, 423-757-2000
River Street Deli, 151 River St., Chattanooga, 423-756-3354
Sweet CeCe's, 330 Frazier Ave., Chattanooga, 423-710-1633
Taco Mamacita's, 109 N. Market St., Chattanooga, 423-648-6262
109 N. Market St. Chattanooga, TN
Coolidge and Renaissance Parks
These popular urban parks along the north river bank are two of Chattanooga's gems. In Coolidge Park don't miss the beautifully restored 1895 Denzel Carousel; enjoy the laughter of kids playing in the summer. In Renaissance Park, look for the map describing the four Trail of Tears routes and the Civil War markers telling the stories of African-American Contraband Camps, the U.S. Colored Troops and more. Visit Outdoor Chattanooga and rent a kayak to explore the Tennessee River, learn to rock climb, or ask about renting a bike.
150 River Street Chattanooga, TN 37402
Turn R on Frazier Ave., go 3 traffic lights, turn R on Tremont St. Turn R on River St. into Coolidge Park.
Moccasin Bend National Archeological District
Just a short distance down river from the NorthShore area, the relatively new, 755-acre park has evidence of over 12,000 years of human occupation, including remains of Native American villages and Civil War earthworks. Bring your camera and take a leisurely walk or bike ride on the Blue Blazes Trail, a 1.5-mile loop with spectacular views of the Tennessee River. Hiking footwear recommended, bikes welcome. Trailheads located near parking lot.
380 Moccasin Bend Rd. Chattanooga, TN
Drive through Coolidge Park, under bridge into Renaissance Park. Continue straight until road ends. Turn L on Manufacturers Rd., turn L on Hamm Rd. Go 0.8 mile, turn L on Moccasin Bend Rd. Go 0.8 mile, pass golf course, turn R into pt. 11 at trailhead.
More About: Walnut Street Bridge
The 1891 Walnut Street Bridge is the world's longest pedestrian bridge, now a city park open from dawn to midnight. You can stroll across the half-mile span to reach points 12 and 13 in the Bluff View Art District.
Bluff View Art District
Perched on a bluff covering about one and a half blocks, this neighborhood is a great collection of artisan restaurants including Tony's Pasta Shop & Trattoria, a coffee house, bakery and sculpture garden; three unique 1900s B&Bs and an art gallery featuring works by nationally known artists, all with views of the river as a backdrop.
411 E. 2nd St. Chattanooga, TN
Retrace route back to Manufacturers Rd. At int. of Manufacturers Rd. & Cherokee Blvd., turn R onto Cherokee. Cross Market St., continue on Frazier Ave. Veer L, turn L onto Veterans Bridge. Turn R on 4th St., turn R on High St. to pt 12.
More About: Chattanooga
Chattanooga is a great place to begin the Tanasi: Rapids to Railroads Trail. The state's fourth largest city, located on the Tennessee River, is both a river city and a railroad center. The river played a vital role in the culture of both the native Cherokee people and the European settlers, serving as a primary means for food, travel and commerce. The railroad arrived in the 1850s, making Chattanooga an important link between the North and South. On the heels of the railroad came the steel industry, which in just 100 years would contribute to the city being named the dirtiest in America. In recent decades, the city has undergone a massive turnaround, cleaning up its act and returning to its roots and the river. Today, it's a popular place to live and to visit with a pedestrian friendly focus, an inviting waterfront, river eco-tours and iconic tourist destinations.
Hunter Museum of American Art
Home to an exceptional collection of American art housed in three buildings--with one built in each of the last three centuries--this museum also features one of Chattanooga's most stunning masterpieces: gorgeous views of the Tennessee River.
10 Bluff View Chattanooga, TN
Pt. 13 is at end of High St. There is a free parking lot just inside circle on R.
More About: John Ross
The most important Cherokee leader of the mid-1800s, John Ross was an Alabama native who grew up near Lookout Mountain and became an educated and respected businessman. He owned 20 slaves and several businesses, including trading posts and ferry operations, which made him one of the wealthiest men in the Cherokee Nation. His own trading post, Ross's Landing, eventually grew into the city of Chattanooga. As the Cherokee political leader, or principal chief, Ross did his best to stop the federal government's forced removal of the Cherokees. When all efforts failed in 1838, he held the last tribal council near Charleston (point 102), and then led the Cherokees west on the Trail of Tears to present-day Tahlequah, Oklahoma. His wife, Quaite, was just one of the thousands who died on the westward march. At Tahlequah, Ross continued as principal chief until his death in 1866.
The Sheraton Read House Hotel
Known as the Crutchfield House in the 1840s, this was the site of Chattanooga's first major railroad hotel. Future Confederate President Jefferson Davis gave one of his secession speeches here; later, it served as a hospital during the Civil War. The building burned in 1867 and was rebuilt in 1871 by Dr. and Mrs. John T. Read. The current 1926 structure is a beautiful Georgian-style hotel, featuring white marble floors, sterling silver sconces and Waterford crystal chandeliers.
827 Broad St. Chattanooga, TN
From pt. 13, return to High St., then to 4th St. Turn R on 4th St., go 5 blocks. Turn L on Broad St., go 5 blocks to pt. 14.
More About: Architect R.H. Hunt
You will pass a number of buildings designed by Chattanooga architect R.H. Hunt along Broad Street. He worked in Chattanooga from the 1880s to the 1930s and designed hundreds of buildings. See the James Building at 721 Broad Street between 7th and 8th Streets.
Southside Main Street District
With its historic buildings, industrial architecture and revitalized community, Southside has become a hub for locally owned businesses, energized entrepreneurs and enlivened artists. Explore this district's galleries and studios, upscale eateries and local lunch favorites like Zarzour's - Chattanooga's oldest family-run restaurant. Have high tea at the English Rose or blow your own glass ornament at Ignis Glass Gallery.
Broad St., past Market St., down to Madison St. Chattanooga, TN
Continue S on Broad St. Turn L on Main St. to pt. 15.
Chattanooga Choo Choo Complex
You know the song, now experience it for yourself in this historic, classic landmark, opened in 1909 as Chattanooga's Gateway to the South. Today, this former depot has been restored to its former grandeur, now a unique vacation destination with shops, restaurants and the famous hotel that lets you sleep in a historic train car.
1400 Market St. Chattanooga, TN
Return to int. of Main St. & Market St. Turn R on Market St. to pt. 16.
Bessie Smith Cultural Center
Named for the Empress of the Blues who started out singing on a corner for pocket change as a little girl, this museum and performance hall promotes African and African-American heritage through cultural and artistic education. Make a stop here for unique exhibits and programming, as well as live jazz and blues performance events.
200 E. M.L. King Blvd. Chattanooga, TN
Leave pt. 16, turn R on Market St. Go approx. 5 blocks, turn R on Martin Luther King Blvd. Go 2 blocks to pt. 17.
Chattanooga National Cemetery
Created by General George Thomas and built by the 44th U.S. Colored Troops soon after the Battles of Chattanooga in 1863, this is the final resting place for many Civil War veterans, including the Andrews Raiders, the recipients of the first Medals of Honor, as well as veterans from other wars.
1200 Bailey Ave. Chattanooga, TN
Turn R on Martin Luther King Blvd., go 1.4 miles. Cross Central Ave. onto Bailey Ave. Turn R on Holtzclaw Ave. to pt. 18.
Come see why this attraction is known as one of the Best Little Zoos in America, with six beautifully constructed habitats and a variety of animals, including a camel, chimpanzees and famous red pandas.
301 N. Holtzclaw Ave. Chattanooga, TN
Leave pt. 18, turn L back onto Holtzclaw Ave. Go 0.7 mile to pt. 19.
More About: Missionary Ridge
Missionary Ridge was so named for the early missionaries who made their way along foot paths that climbed the ridge on their way to the Brainerd Mission. Interstate 24 cuts through Missionary Ridge at Chattanooga. Its steep vertical sides rise 328 feet.