Paddling Lookout Creek at Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center | Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center

Paddling at reflection riding

Rent a canoe at Reflection Riding or bring your own boat to tour beautiful Lookout Creek; it's one of the top things to do in Chattanooga and can be fun for the entire family.

Lookout Creek forms much of our western border and makes for a beautiful place to paddle in the right conditions. Like most of Chattanooga's major creeks, Lookout's depth, flow and general character fluctuate based on precipitation and TVA's activity with the dams above and below the creek. Most of the time, Lookout flows North toward the Tennessee River at a gentle pace and you can expect nice flat water with little current and nothing but beautiful scenery. Often, rain and dam releases create strong currents in the creek's waters. Our canoeing program is subject to closure at any time for floodwaters. Sometimes the dam releases happen ahead of a big rain event, or even a couple days afterward. You cannot assume that the creek is safe just because it's not raining now. Use your best judgement at all times and do not paddle floodwaters.

Notice: Beginning 3/26/2018, canoe rentals will be limited to members who have purchased a canoeing add-on; pre-registered groups such as students, scouts, or camps; guests who have rented the Paddler's Perch; members and guests participating in guided programs like Paddling by Moonlight; and volunteer groups. Join today or check out our events calendar for the next guided trip.


canoe rentals

Members who have attended an orientation class can rent canoes for up to 2 hours. That rental also includes paddles and personal flotation devices.


On busy days, canoes fill up fast! Please call ahead (423-821-1160) to reserve canoes.

To rent canoes at Reflection Riding, all participants must first go through orientation and sign a yearly waiver. If you will have children in your party not with their guardians, please call ahead to make arrangements. 

Before receiving canoe keys, we require a set of active car keys or a government-issued photo ID to be used as collateral. 

If you are not an experienced paddler, we suggest attending a group canoeing event before heading out on your own. For all paddlers, we recommend reviewing the American Canoe Association's golden rules for staying safe on the water, explained in the video below. PaddleTV's full Canoeing 101 playlist is also worth watching.

Paddlesports safety classes are also available online.

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