There is a Magical Swimming Hole Waiting For You in Chattanooga, TN

Posted on | 11 Comments

Heading to Chattanooga, Tennessee, and searching for a fabulous outdoor adventure? Kidding Around readers love exploring the outdoors, especially when it involves a place to splash or swim. Here’s everything you need to know about this gorgeous swimming you can find during your next adventure on the Big Soddy Creek Gulf Trail.

The Big Soddy Creek Trail in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Chattanooga has long been a place I’ve wanted to visit. I recently started seeing photos on social media from swimming holes that looked too good to be real. That was all I needed to head four hours north to this beautiful city.

Finding the Magical Swimming Hole

Tracking down the location where these photos originated was a little trickier. Taking into consideration that I had the two kids with me, I had to know what I was getting into when accessing the selected swimming hole.

If you’ve ever seen that clip from the television show “Always Sunny” where he’s trying to explain a conspiracy theory, and he has all these photos and strings…. that is what you should be picturing now. I compared social media photos, and information on the All Trails and Avanza apps, and then compared that to information from hiking groups.

Big Soddy Creek Gulf Trail

I settled on the Big Soddy Creek Trail. It was an easy-rated trail that had some beautiful photos posted online. So off we went, in search of a magical swimming hole!


The trailhead is a parking lot right next to where the train tracks and the river intersect. There are two portable toilets, and that’s it. Try and get all the changing and potty needs addressed before you leave the hotel or rental.

An All-Access Trail

The trail is a level gravel path that will accommodate strollers and beach-style wagons. Big Soddy Creek is a very family-friendly trail, for all abilities. After walking for about a quarter of a mile, you’ll find the spot where you can easily access the water.

Most people walked straight to the water from that point on the trail and were concentrated in that area of the water. We hung a left and went down as far as the path would lead, set our stuff on a rock, and hopped in.

Keep it Clean

There are picnic tables, but I would recommend bringing a disposable tablecloth to throw over it if you plan on using one. Please keep this area beautiful for future generations by always practicing “pack it in, pack it out” during your visit.

The swimming hole off of the Big Soddy Creek Trail in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

At the Swimming Hole

My favorite part about the swimming hole was that there were shallow parts and deep parts. Plus, the rocks that you could sit on or jump off of were cool. It was safe for big and little kids.

My son

There was minimal current to deal with in the water. With both of my children in life vests, I felt that they were safe splashing and playing a few feet away. My four-year-old daughter loved the independence she felt, feeling like she was exploring all on her own because she could reach the sandy bottom.

The water here is crystal clear and blue. I was surprised to see that it looked like the photos that had been posted online. So often the colors are manipulated to make them seem other than they are, but not here.

Things to Bring to Big Soddy Creek

The only two things I regret are that I didn’t have long enough straps to hang my new hammock and that we didn’t bring tubes or some other type of float. I could have stayed all day if I’d been able to just relax on a raft!

If your kids have little fishing nets, bring them along. There were plenty of small fish to scoop up and examine, or to use as bait if you bring a fishing pole.

Children walking down the Big Soddy Creek Trail in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

This entire experience in Chattanooga has me anxious to get back and continue exploring! I even have another swimming hole to explore next time, and an island in the middle of the Tennesee river you can camp on!

Looking for more travel ideas in Chattanooga? Check out our Guide to Vacationing With Kids in Chattanooga, TN, to help you plan out your epic vacation to Chattanooga, TN.

The Ultimate Guide to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
About the Author
Melanie is a native New Yorker, who landed in the Upstate by way of Florida. She is the mom of two awesome kids, and the three of them love going on adventures!

Sign up for our email newsletter.

Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Michelle Gardner
3 years ago

Always Sunny is the best show ever. “There is no Pepe Silvia!”

2 years ago

We live about 15 minutes from Soddy Gulf and take our dogs there frequently. It is a great trail with beautiful sights. We like to go after a heavy rain to see the waterfalls cascading over the huge rocks.

Christie Pardue
2 years ago

You may want to check out Trenton Georgia cloudland canyon they have a gorgeous waterfall and hiking trail campsite best part is I work about a mile from it at a southern little restaurant you would love called Cafe 136. We definitely have some beautiful areas you would probably be interested in.

Jan LaPlume
2 years ago

There is another Blue Hole a little further up and also pretty easy to get to. it is right at the foot of our property and absolutely beautiful!!

2 years ago

This swimming hole is actually in Soddy-Daisy, TN, not Chattanooga. Though Soddy is very close to Chatt, it’s actually a very small and quiet area, not to be confused with the big city next door. Shufford’s BBQ is about 3 miles away, mom and pop place that serves the best BBQ in the area, and they have to-go family packs perfect to bring for a picnic at the creek. Love this article, I hadn’t seen this hidden gem online until now!

2 years ago
Reply to  Kidding Around

Delia’s Mexican Restaurant just a little ways before you turn off Dayton Pike to go to this swimming hole has excellent Mexican food!!

David Hobbs
2 years ago
Reply to  Kidding Around

Yes shufords has good burgers also and delias is authentic Mexican. They hand roll the tortillas there