As much as we love rafting all year round, unfortunately winter is not our season. However, Chattanooga and its surrounding area offer up many outdoor activities of varying intensities for you and your family. Make the most of all that Chattanooga winter has to offer with the following suggestions!
In contrast to the summer months, Chattanooga winter weather sees the temperatures drop between December and February to lows of around 35-5°F (between 1-7°C) and daily highs of around 50-60°F (10-17°C). While it is possible to see snow, within the city and its immediate surroundings snowfall is rare, you’re much more likely to find some in the nearby areas with higher elevation. When planning for the winter climate, always check the weather forecast but bear in mind your best bet is to dress in layers and suitable clothing for your planned activities.
Ice on the Landing is an open-air skating rink with a partial roof, the perfect winter activity for families, couples, friends, and solo skating enthusiasts. They also offer rentals (including “skate buddies” which you can use for support), sharpening, as well as lessons on the weekends. The location also has food and beverage spots nearby so you can enjoy a crepe, or warm yourself up as you sip on a steamy hot chocolate or cider. Or if you’re not keen on skating yourself, you’ll be able to watch your loved ones while you enjoy a tasty snack. Located in downtown Chattanooga in the historic Chattanooga Choo Choo Glenn Miller Gardens, this is the perfect place to enjoy some light outdoor activity.
Skiing And Snow Tubing
You may be surprised to know that there is the possibility of skiing near Chattanooga. Cloudmont Ski and Golf Resort is located approximately a 1-hour drive away across the state line in Mentone, Alabama. You can either head over for the day, take advantage of their night skiing options, or plan an overnight stay in the nearby chalets. The mountain has an elevation of 1,800 feet and offers visitors a vertical rise of 150 feet with slopes well suited for beginner and intermediate skiers. Cloudmount also offers equipment rentals onsite as well as lessons.
If you’re particularly keen on a snowsport experience, you can head approximately three hours out of Chattanooga and visit either Ober Gatlinburg in Gatlinburg, TN or Cataloochee Ski Area in Maggie Valley, NC. Both locations offer excellent ski and snowboard options, but also winter tubing if you’re looking for another family-friendly activity.
Known for its extensive and varied mountain range, Chattanooga is a perfect destination for eager climbers all year round, including those who enjoy the activity in the wintertime. Hiking in cold weather allows for an entirely different experience than during the warmer months. Without the hassle of any bugs, and the cooler temperatures means you can take your time and truly enjoy the experience. Along the way you may find hanging icicles, likely experience improved visibility, and be able to take in all that fresh air and open space with less people around.
Some great spots including the Bluff Trail on Lookout Mountain located on the Lula Lake Land Trust, and the stop at the Mullens Cove Overlook as you hike the Cumberland Trail: Mullens Cove Loop Trail in Overlook in Prentice Cooper State Forest. The bare trees allow for an unobstructed panoramic view of the surrounding area. Racoon Mountain and Signal Mountain also have routes worth checking out, so find a hike of suitable length and intensity for you and your group. No matter when you choose to go, always check if the trail is open, the conditions, pack the right clothes, gear, and food, and ideally notify someone not in your party of your plans.
Bouldering, And Climbing
If indoor climbing just isn’t cutting it, and you feel the urge to head back outdoors, the most extreme outdoor winter activity in Chattanooga is winter climbing. Just like the rest of the year, there are quite a few options to choose from based on your preferences and skill level within close proximity of the city. With less people around and no overheating, with a bit of additional preparation for the cooler temperatures (which some even consider ideal), winter climbing is perfect for boulder enthusiasts
We highly recommend visiting Chattanooga in the winter and experiencing all of these outdoor activities and more! But once the weather starts to warm up, be sure to come back and join us (yes, even in the springtime) for an exciting adventure downriver during either our half-day or full-day whitewater rafting trips.