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Working upstream

21 Nov 2008  My life until now, exploring the historical wonders near my home
3.5 of 5 stars based on 3 votes

I had an idea for a day tour around Chattanooga, seeing many off-the-beaten-path places that offer some of the best historicalness in the region. It slowly built into a full day excursion, passing my many rural roads few tourists ever travel on. The tour begins at the mouth of South Chickamauga Creek and works it way upstream until finally heading back downtown, stopping at the national cemetery as a sort of epilogue for all the sites before.

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Chattanooga
  • Category: Perfect day
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Active/Outdoors, Never been before, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Singles, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Active/adventure, Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Map & Directions
    http://tinyurl.com/workingupstream

    Click on the link above to pull up a Google Map of the route this trip takes so you can follow along as you read.

  • 2. River Point
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tennessee_Riverwalk

    River Point is my favourite entrance on the whole Tennessee River Walk. At this place the serene South Chickamauga Creek blends into the comparatively gargantuan Tennessee River. There isn't a whole lot of information about what happened here, but from what I've discerned from the informational plaques along the trails is that it was a holding place for Cherokee Indians on the Trail of Tears and was also involved in troop movements during the Battles for Chattanooga. While here walk some of the paved trails in the woods by the creek, and be sure to walk out to the river point itself. Eventually the South Chickamauga Greenway will connect with the Tennessee River Walk at this point.

  • 3. Chickamauga Dam
    http://www.janandpat.net/dams/tva/chickamauga.htm

    Completed in 1940 during the New Deal and the Rural Electrification Program, Chickamauga Dam is a fairly impressive and is one of the most important structures in Chattanooga history. At this particular exit off of Amnicola Highway there's the beginning of the river walk, a marina, a park, and, of course, a good view of the dam.

  • 4. Audubon Acres
    Audubon Acres and Maclellan Island, Chattanooga, Tennessee

    This is my favourite Chattanooga historic site involved in the Trail of Tears, though it was also somewhat important in Civil War history. Ages could be spent describing all that has occurred here, but I'll keep it simple with a list of things to see: the eighteenth century Spring Frog Cabin (yes, built before the Revolutionary War), the archeology gallery at the log cabin visitor center, the Cherokee Arboretum Trail following South Chickamauga Creek, the Little Owl Indian Village Site, the railroad bridge (viewable from Resurrection Rock), and the CSX railroad that bisects the nature preserve. Depending on your level of interest you could spend two or three or more hours here.

  • 5. Elsie Holmes Nature Sanctuary
    http://www.catoosa.com/depts/recreation/elsie-holmes/elsie-holmes-natu...

    This is another nature preserve along South Chickamauga Creek, and is historically significant in no way that I know other than its dedication. Mr. Holmes dedicated the land to his ailing wife, who passed away three months after the park opened. In most respects I like it more than Audubon Acres (nature-wise, of course!), as it has less undergrowth, no invasive privet, and more critter sightings. While there, hike around to the bluff and creek. Depending how much you walked at Audubon Acres, you could spend an hour or two here, maybe more.

  • 6. Chickamauga Battlefield
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Chickamauga

    This is the site of one of the most important battles of the Civil War and undoubtedly one of the bloodiest. All the great generals were there, including Lee and Grant, and Bragg. There's an impressive visitor center as well as a guided driving tour of the park. Visit the national park service's web site for details: www.nps.gov/chch. This park deserves the better part of the day. And, of course, you will again see a branch of Chickamauga Creek, further upstream.

  • 7. Chattanooga National Cemetery
    Chattanooga National Cemetery, Chattanooga, Tennessee

    This is the second largest military cemetery in the United States, and is the final resting place of men in the battles of the Civil War all the way to the Iraqi conflict today. It is a solemn place, and a beautiful place. Rows and rows of white headstones encircle a grassy hill poking out of the generally flat Chattanooga city landscape. This place is worth thirty minutes, though you may be inclined to spend less or more.