When I think of visiting Chattanooga, I always envision the Chattanooga Choo Choo, Rock City and, of course, Lookout Mountain. From Lookout Mountain lies Chattanooga in the northeast. To the west is Raccoon-Aetna Mountain, where you’ll find camping, caves and amazing overlooks. However, the biggest surprise of all during my last visit was a secluded off road park close to downtown Chattanooga. You would never think there would be an off road park of this caliber or diversity only minutes from Chattanooga’s constant hustle and bustle.
Aetna Mountain Adventures – Off Road Park
I love taking my vehicle off road, but I don’t want to damage vehicles, so I will mainly talk about the Easy Off Roading experience. Aetna Mountain Adventures has many moderate trails a stock vehicle can travel with little trouble. They also have Rugged Trails for modified 4×4 vehicles. I stayed away from these and just watched instead.
Jimmy Roman and I both traveled for hours on moderate trails, all of them bumpy, steep, dusty and muddy. Jimmy’s stock Jeep handled everything without any difficulty. This turned out to be a great place to see what a stock vehicle or showroom vehicle can do under challenging conditions.
Is there a risk? Yes! You’re taking additional risk anytime you take a vehicle off a paved road, but the trails are crafted in such a way that the risk is worth seeing what your vehicle can do.
Halfway up to the top of Aetna Mountain you will cross an old log bridge resting over a creek. Once you fully reach the top, you will see the lookout point from the old Mount Aetna Sky Ride. (YouTube Video, Chattanooga Public Library Photo) There are plenty of places to picnic and/or just watch others test their skills. It is definitely a place to come back to any chance you get.
You can contact Aetna Mountain Adventures on Facebook or you can call (423) 933-2198 to find out more about catching a guided tour with a group of new visitors.
What Else Is There to Do?
Of course, Raccoon – Aetna Mountain has many other activities to partake in. They have camping sites for both tents and RVs, cabins, cave tours and even gem panning. You may be lucky enough to take some beautiful shots of the area and come away with some dazzling souvenirs!
To learn more about what else the Racoon – Aetna Mountain area has to offer, be sure to check out the Raccoon Mountain Caverns & Campground website.
We would also like to give credit and thanks to Jimmy Roman of Volunteer Off Road Club for his help in introducing us to the great Aetna Mountain Adventures. The Volunteer Off Road Club takes a tremendous amount of pride in their work to provide riding opportunities for 4×4 vehicles, as well as their volunteer efforts within the surrounding community. Be sure to visit their Facebook page for more details.
Pets are welcome at the Raccoon Mountain Campgrounds and RV Park however, there are restrictions on breed that can be found on the website and only service animals can be permitted in the camp store and gift shop and no animals are permitted in the cave systems.