Monday, November 2, 2009

Camp Jordan Park walking track, East Ridge, Tennessee

Suppose that you're on a driving trip through Tennessee and north Georgia along Interstate 75. It's a long drive, and you really want to get out of the car and stretch your legs, maybe even go for a run or a walk. Well, you could do a lot worse than to leave the highway outside of Chattanooga on Exit 1 and head for Camp Jordan Park and its two-mile walking track.

View Larger Map

The park is only about a mile off of I-75 near where West Chickamauga Creek flows into South Chickamauga Creek in East Ridge, Tennessee. It's a low, flat area without many trees to interfere with the ball fields throughout the 257-acre park. The wooded areas are confined to the rim of the park, which is where you can find the walking track. The walking track makes a circuit around the park of almost exactly two miles. The trail surface is gravel, firm enough to hold up in wet weather but not the kind of hard pavement that beats up your legs. If you really can't abide the gravel, there is plenty of good green grass on either side of the trail. Signs mark the half-mile, the mile, the mile-and-a-half, and the two-mile points around the loop. These are measured from where Camp Jordan Parkway crosses the east side of the trail, but it's a loop--you can start anywhere and run either clockwise or counter-clockwise. The two places where Camp Jordan Parkway crosses the trail, by the way, are the only two places where traffic crosses the trail at all. Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain may not be far away, but the topography of the park is anything but mountainous. The few slopes on the loop are quite gentle.

The trail never seemed crowded when I visited, but was well used by a good number of walkers, runners, and cyclists. Because of the time of year (August) and the end-of-summer coolth in the air, I kept expecting to encounter a team of cross country runners from an East Ridge High School, but none ever came thundering by. Maybe they train elsewhere, or maybe I was just there at the wrong time of day. A two-mile loop is a bit short if you're looking to get in some serious mileage, but near the half-mile sign there is a bridge that takes you over West Chickamauga Creek to the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Trail--another multi-use trail that you can add a few miles on. At the time of my visit a portion of the trail had fallen into South Chickamauga Creek, but the gap was being repaired (and trail users were picking their way around it, anyway).

To get to Camp Jordan Park, turn east onto Ringgold Road (US 41/76) after leaving Interstate 75 on Exit 1. Make the first left onto St Thomas St, immediately making another left onto the Camp Jordan Parkway. Camp Jordan Parkway will take you straight into (and eventually through) Camp Jordan Park. The Parkway crosses the trail in two places, both of which have parking nearby.


No comments:

Post a Comment