Only Harrison Bay's Bay Point Loop Trail
offers a better entry level ride for beginner Chattanooga mountain bikers. There are three trails ( Black Forest, TNT Mountain Bike Trail
, and Log Rhythm
) that are linked together and offer progressively harder terrain for beginners and intermediates. The directional flow (Black Forest, TNT), and one-way loop of Log Rhythm
mean riders can go fast with few worries about on-coming traffic. The dense forestation means you'll be shaded even on the hottest summer days.
Driving through the park is a one-way loop that can frustrate first-timers. Also, mind the agonizingly slow speed limit as park rangers do enforce it. Stop at the visitor center and get an area map, or use the MTB Project mobile app
to help keep your bearings.
The large paved parking lot is the best place to enter the trail. There are other trailheads but this is the most used and offers toilets and a changing station. Be aware of the daily direction and head onto the Black Forest Mountain Bike Trail
. The flow of the entire 10-mile trail system works like this (no matter the day): Enter Black Forest at the appropriate daily trailhead and ride until you come to a paved road crossing. Cross the road and enter a leg of TNT until you come to another road crossing. Cross the road to ride the entire Log Rhythm
trail. Exit Log Rhythm
, cross the paved road and get back onto the second leg of the TNT Mountain Bike Trail
. Exit TNT, cross the paved road and enter the second leg of Black Forest
until you get back to the parking lot area.
If you are a beginner, you might want to ride Black Forest until you get to the paved road, travel 100 feet left or right (depending on the day) and re-enter the Black Forest Trail and return to the parking lot and if you have a little leg and lung left, repeat. Once you get comfortable with Black Forest, cross the road and head to the TNT Mountain Bike Trail
TNT is not much harder than Black Forest but it does have some short rock gardens and some steeper climbs (though short). Half of the trail is tight singletrack that snakes through pine forests while the other half is hardwood forest over twisty dirt and rocky trail. There is a great pump area with some jump opportunities and a long speedy stretch where you can reach the high 20s MPH if you are inclined. NOTE: The TUNNEL OF BOOM is now opened (as of October 2016) so make sure to take the fork in the trail that leads to the yellow tunnel entrance rather than the bypass trail.
is an upper intermediate area only because of the tight switchback that transitions to a 1.4 mile climb that has some uphill rock and root crossings. Other than that, if you stay off of the boardwalk area, there is nothing too hard about it. The actual Log Rhythm
area offers downed trees as trails and an elevated boardwalk that adds challenges and technical complexity for the skilled riders. Exiting the trail appropriately for the day is really confusing. The signs are posted right where the trail forks, but when you are traveling 15 MPH; it's easy to blow right past them and exit the trail incorrectly. It's not a big deal as all trails end up on the paved road but it's something to be aware of.
The entire ESNP trail system is shaded by trees so it's a great mid-summer trail that keeps riders from baking in direct sun. In the fall, there are a lot of leaves but the high traffic of the popular trail system keeps the leaves somewhat in check.
One of my favorite things is to see families out on the Enterprise South trails. Dads, moms, and kids all in a row, biking as a group makes me smile every time. If you have a mountain bike or even a trail-worthy hybrid, Enterprise South is a great place to get fit and have fun.
In the 1940s the Enterprise South Industrial Park was the Volunteer Army Ammunition Plant where hundreds of millions pounds of TNT were made for WWII, the Korean, and Vietnam Wars. After changing hands several times, and making other chemicals, the facility was cleaned up and converted into an industrial park designed to bring manufacturing jobs to Chattanooga, TN. At first, the site was deemed a failure, that is until Volkswagen built a plant on the site and brought dozens of supporting manufacturers with it. Now, the area is a thriving business park and the home of the Enterprise South Nature Park. ESNP is one of Chattanooga's best outdoor areas with running, hiking, and biking trails.