A diverse coalition of private and public conservation partners are committed to creating the 200-acre dynamic park on Walden’s Ridge. Success of this project entails permanent conservation of the land and public access for mountain bikers, climbers, trail runners, and hikers.
Although Chattanooga has existing mountain biking opportunities, the proposed trails will be the first purpose-built, progressive, downhill trails in the Chattanooga region, offering the potential for more than 10 miles of new options for both local and regional riders. The property will offer a variety of terrain and technicality for many levels of riders. The Walden’s Ridge Park partners engaged the International Mountain Biking Association to create an impressive trail plan for the park.
The property will contain several bouldering areas of varying technical difficulty. Many of the boulders are easy to access along a relatively flat trail, located within about a mile of the planned parking area. Southeastern Climbers’ Coalition and their crew of volunteers are leading trail building for access to the boulders.
When complete, hikers and runners will enjoy native plants and animals, a natural spring and creeks, and scenic views of Chattanooga and the Tennessee River Valley.
“We are very grateful for the many partnerships, donors, and volunteers over the years that brought this multi-use park to life. This has been an eight-year undertaking, and we are excited to finally open it to the public,” said Hamilton County Director of Parks & Recreation, Matt Folz. “Visitors will enjoy the impressive trail network that offers a variety of terrains and shows off the natural beauty of Hamilton County.”
A Vision & Conservation Success for the Community.
The roots of Walden’s Ridge Park trace back to 2016, when members of North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy (NCCC) and The Land Trust for Tennessee met on a part of the property that had been donated to NCCC for the protection of its amazing views. It was during that strenuous hike up the side of Walden’s Ridge that a big idea was born – what if we conserved the area and made it available as a multi-use park for climbers, trail runners, hikers, and mountain bikers?
Over the last few years, a diverse coalition of conservation partners and community leaders have rallied around this vision. Climbers, mountain bikers, land experts, and community leaders all began fundraising and planning to make the park happen. In June 2018, the Hamilton County Commission approved a resolution to accept and manage the proposed park upon its completion. NCCC then acquired additional parcels in July of 2018 to make the future park even larger.
Work continued and partners secured key grants from the state’s Recreational Trails Program Grant, Lyndhurst Foundation, Hydroflask, Riverview Foundation, and REI to get the project moving forward, and they selected IMBA Trail Solutions, a world-class trail building organization, to create a comprehensive plan for the property.
Now, the partners are well into the trail building and construction phase. With a final fundraising push, the partners are aiming to open in September 2023.