Members only need a member card. Please place your card or visit pass in the windshield of your car with the name side up any time you want to park outside the gates. We own the small lot at the end of Garden Road as well as the larger gravel lot at the Kiddie Trailhead and you, as valued members, may park in either lot.


We’ve missed you. Here are our reopening guidelines. Please read the whole thing; we know it’s long and we thank you for your patience and compliance.

  • Face masks or coverings are required at Reflection Riding, even outside, when you cannot stay six feet apart from others.

  • Members are NO LONGER required to have a Visit Pass, just put your membership card on your dashboard and park in the member lot or gravel lot outside the main gates. Member Parking: Park in either the main lot when open, the member lot or the gravel lot outside the gates.

  • All Visitors MUST have a Visit Pass during Phase One of our reopening. Visitors should sign up for a two-hour window from the options below. Print the confirmation page at the end of this process and put in the windshield of your car for your entire visit. Visitor Parking: Park in the main lot when open or in the gravel lot outside the main gates. Please do not park in the member lot.

  • All facilities and buildings remain closed, including restrooms.

  • The main parking lot is open 10:00 am -4:00 pm Tuesday-Friday to members for free, visitors with a Visit Pass.

  • The plant nursery is open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesday through Friday and 8:00 am to 1:00 on Saturday.

  • The main parking lot is closed Sunday and Monday, but parking outside the gates is open to members and visitors with a Visit Pass.

  • Visitors can become members today - info here! If that’s not right for you, we understand and still have an option for access to our 317 beautiful acres.

  • The property is open for walking/outdoor activity from sunrise to sunset.

  • Please follow the rules below to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Guiding principle: leave no TRACE

Given the current situation, we need our members and the public to do their part. Please come prepared and take anything you bring in with you back out with you.

  • New Rules: There are a few new rules in place to make our property as safe for everyone as it can be right now.
  • Printed Pass: Print your confirmation page at the end of this process and put in the windshield of your car for your entire visit.
  • Hours: For now, the property will be open from sunrise to sunset - daylight hours, like normal.


All outdoor areas that have no touchable surfaces:

  • Our trails - hooray!
  • The loop and meadow roads - hooray!
  • The pasture and the meadows - hooray!
  • You can find a map of our trails and roads here.


Everything else is closed and has been taped off:

  • Buildings, the Boardwalk, the Native Animal Exhibits, the Greenhouse, the Pavilion, the Gazebo, the Barn are closed.
  • Creek access is closed due to damage from storms and floods.
  • Any touchable surface like play equipment, buildings, benches, door handles, bathrooms, portable bathrooms are closed.
  • NOTEBathrooms are closed and there is no access to drinking water. If you plan to visit, especially with children, please be prepared.


Because of limited staff and no volunteers during closure, you will notice that the property needs some work. We are doing our best to get through the maintenance backlog safely, quickly and efficiently. If you'd like to volunteer, let Corey Hagan, Director of Education, know by email: [email protected]


  • If you are sick or feeling not great, stay home.
  • Obey all local, state, and federal orders.
  • Keep a safe distance from others, at least six feet apart.
  • Stay on familiar trails - this is not a good time to get hurt or lost.
  • Respect closures and closed areas.
  • A muddy trail is a closed trail, no matter what.
  • Check updates before you come - things change every day.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
  • Use face coverings when anyone is in your line of site on the property.


Thank you for your ongoing support! We are thrilled to have you back on the property. In order to make being open work, we need to be able to do it profitably and with limited staff and volunteers. Please consider a donation today to support our recovery work. 

Frequently asked questions


We do plan to run camps. Here are the current details. We think we can run camps in late June or certainly by July. We'll post an update on our camps webpage once we have the official OK to open camp registration. Keep in mind that we are regulated by both the City of Chattanooga and the Hamilton County Health Department. We will follow all local and federal guidelines for providing a safe camp experience.


Great news! You can order online for delivery or pick-up. Browse our plant list and then fill out this interest form and we'll get back to you to schedule payment and delivery or pick-up.


Thanks for caring for our local wildlfie. We do not operate a rehab facility and cannot accept animals. Here are a couple of resources for you to try.

The Chattanooga Zoo can help with most wildlife. Call 423-697-1322 x5704 or follow prompts to get to rehab department , or email [email protected]

For Birds, turtles, chipmunks, call  (423) 593-3932
Raptors and Owls (423) 847-5757
Opossums (423) 255-6460
Rabbits and squirrels (540) 392-5428
Raccoons, Foxes and Skunks (423) 475-2691

To report a sick deer in TN, please visit this TWRA reporting site.

For all other wildlife issues, please contact your state wildlife resources agency. In TN, that's TWRA


We hope soon! We will be evaluating our field trip plans as the summer continues. We'll post an update on our field trip experience page once we have an official OK to open.

Posted by Mark McKnight

Dear Supporter,

The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day seems like a fitting time to reflect and update you on the conservation work we do here at Reflection Riding. For us, that work centers on native plant propagation (did you buy your plants yet?) and breeding one of the most endangered animals on the planet, the American red wolf. 

We were overjoyed when one of the female wolves born right here in our facility gave birth to a large litter last week. I was fortunate to be able to capture a single image and a short video of the new mother with her pups. You can almost feel how overwhelmed she must have been when you see that image. Very quickly after that shot, when the pups were only hours old, Ruby, the mother, moved the pups to another den box where we were no longer able to see them. Over the following days, it became clear that this litter would not be viable. 

While we generally do not interfere with nature, our team came to the conclusion that it was time to intervene, which we did successfully. At the suggestion of our national red wolf recovery team, we were able to remove the one living pup and cross-foster her with a litter of the same age in Salisbury, NC. Over the weekend and at a very emotional time, our team worked quickly to coordinate the necessary permits and travel plans with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the red wolf cooperator, Rowan Wild, a part of Dan Nicholas Park in Salisbury, NC. I'm happy to share the photo below of our pup with her adoptive mother and siblings.

I name each of the organizations above because we are so grateful to them for all acting swiftly to help us ensure the survival of this pup. While anything can happen from here, I’m happy to report that the pup has been accepted by the new mother and appears to be healthy. We’re obviously disappointed to not have the pleasure of watching this pup grow up in our facility, but we’re hopeful for the future. The Species Survival Plan coordinator, Chris Lasher, has indicated that mothers who have not had success with their first litter often do find success with the second and future litters. Each of our breeding pairs is matched by the SSP to produce genetically valuable pups, so we won’t know for sure until our annual meeting, but we are hopeful that Ruby will be paired again for breeding next year.

We remain, like this species itself, resilient.

Below we share a few ongoing virtual learning opportunities, an update on summer camp, and more information on ordering your native plants. We hope you'll continue to get involved. Thank you for your continuing support. We are grateful for our community.


Mark McKnight

Grounded in Place: How Landscape Architecture & Good Planting Design Is Transforming Chattanooga

Join Matt Whitaker, owner and founding principal of WMWA Landscape Architects and Mark McKnight, President & CEO of Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center for a live discussion of the various projects transforming downtown Chattanooga right now. The stream will go live on Friday at noon Eastern. Sign up for a reminder via YouTube.

Creeping Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans)

Creeping Jacob’s ladder is best grown in moist, humus-rich and well-drained soil in part shade. It tolerates full sun in cool summer climates. Although technically rhizomatous (using underground stems to asexually reproduce), plants do not creep as the common name somewhat erroneously suggests. It does freely self-seeds in optimum growing conditions. If conditions are favorable, this plant will spread out its area within a few years.

Read More
You can still participate from home in this year's City Nature Challenge!

Check out this recording of the live stream we broadcast earlier this week for details.
Learn More about the CNC

Summer camp update

Our team is currently evaluating options for summer camp this year. We appreciate your patience, and we'll have an announcement for you next week.

Spring Plant Sale

Check out the inventory below to order plants online! It's constantly changing according to our stock, and if you have questions or want recommendations, send an email to [email protected] or [email protected] 

Thank you for supporting our work to reconnect Chattanoogans to nature. There are so many ways for you to get involved in all we do. Here are just a few options:

Reflection Riding Arboretum & Nature Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Our tax ID number is EIN #58-1311080.

Posted by Mark McKnight  | Category: newsletter

COVID-19 Response

March 20th, 2020

UPDATE: We're in phase 1 of re-opening. Click here for more information.

Dear Supporters,

Thank you for your encouragement during this difficult time and for your enthusiasm for our digital initiatives in lieu of scheduled in-person programming. Unfortunately, we have to announce that in compliance with the CDC guidelines and in an attempt to "flatten the curve," we are closing the property to the public including members, effective immediately.

Our ultimate priority is health and well-being (physical and mental) for our patrons and our environment. We all need to get outside and reconnect with nature, now more than ever, but we must do it safely. 

Although we're closed, our work doesn't stop. We are continuing to care for the animals and plants on our property. We're observing social distancing protocols, staggering staff that is unable to work from home, and re-cleaning constantly. Even in a quarantine situation, we'll need staff to be on site and are making plans to help monitor animals, water plants, and keep the property itself secure.

We ask for your support in keeping our staff safe—please do not enter the property. Please subscribe to our social media platforms (links below) for activities you can do at home in your own neighborhood because we understand just how important being outside is to all of us.

We're also launching a native plant delivery service, taking the place of our Spring Plant Sale. We will be coordinating with supporters like you to drop plants off outside your home. 

Visit for our inventory and instructions. We look forward to helping you restore your own corner of the planet.

Stay well! 

Mark McKnight

P.S. - The photo above was the first butterfly I've spotted this year. I was so excited to see it that I nearly dropped the phone while talking with a board member about how to write this letter.

Simple moments like this one remind us that spring will come regardless of the economic, social and health challenges we face together today. I know this closure is an inconvenience and a disappointment to all. Let's watch out for each other, stay healthy, and we'll get back to enjoying our beautiful landscape together soon.

Thank you for supporting our work to reconnect Chattanoogans to nature. There are so many ways for you to get involved. Here are just a few options:


Posted by Mark McKnight

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