Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Ooltewah, TN

  • Published 2022/11/15

Ooltewah is a small city in Hamilton County, Tennessee.

Some locals attribute “Ooltewah” to the Cherokee Native American term “owl’s nest.”

It is not surprising, given the many dense evergreen spaces in the area.

Mountains and parks are everywhere in Ooltewah, and they’re all worth the visit.

To have a glimpse of what awaits you, see this list of the best things to do in Ooltewah, Tennessee.

Visit the James County Courthouse

Exterior of the James County Courthouse

Lexiwexi78, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The James County Courthouse is the most iconic landmark in Ooltewah because of its significant history.

Ooltewah was once the county seat of the James County, and the James County Courthouse was its third courthouse.

However, James County went bankrupt in 1919.

Facade of the James County Courthouse

Alexis Sprague, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As a result, Ooltewah was soon then absorbed by Hamilton County.

Today, you can still visit the historical building of the courthouse, but it is now known as the Mountain Oaks Manor.

You can rent the place for special celebrations such as weddings and other special holidays.

Marker plaque of the James County Courthouse

Alexis Sprague, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Ride along the Biology Trails

Biology Trails is another way to explore White Oak Mountain.

It starts at the Southern Adventist University, spanning 25 miles.

Biology Trails is ideal for intermediate hikers and bikers since the trails here can be either smooth or rough, but beginners are welcome too.

It is a beautiful place to go for a peaceful walk.

If you’re lucky, you may come across a Turkey Vulture, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Northern Mockingbird, Blue Jay, and other gorgeous birds.

Biology Trails is a famous spot for rough and rocky trails that attracts many bikers.

It offers a technically challenging trail system that will satisfy all those finding the greatest adventure in White Oak Mountain.

Perfect Your Stroke at The Ooltewah Club

The Ooltewah Club is an exclusive club for golf lovers living or visiting in Tennessee.

You can find this club on the foothills of White Oak Mountain, approximately a 20-minute drive from Chattanooga.

It offers an 18-hole golf course on a 6,800-yard property appropriate for both beginner and professional golfers.

The Ooltewah Club also has a Junior Olympic-sized swimming pool, two tennis courts, and four pickleball courts, making it the ideal hang-out place for sports enthusiasts.

You can access this club’s massive golf course regardless of whether you are a member or a non-member.

However, non-members have limited access, so feel free to contact the admin via their website before visiting.

Also, note that The Ooltewah Club requires all guests to wear proper golf attire.

Shop Fresh Produce at Ooltewah Farmers Market

Ooltewah Farmers Market is the place to be if you’re looking for fresh, organic, locally-grown produce.

You can find high-quality ingredients for your delectable dishes in this market.

It is a family-owned business that aims to provide a venue for local food producers.

Resellers are not allowed to sell here, so only expect the best price of products sold by direct producers if you ever visit Ooltewah Farmers Market.

Eggs, milk, cheese, seasonal vegetables and fruits, beef, pork, and poultry are just a few available items here.

Those interested in trying artisan goods have plenty of options, such as home-baked bread, jerky, locally roasted coffee, and seasoned nuts.

Tourists should try any product here to get a taste of the local flavor of Ooltewah.

Go Grocery Shopping at Publix Super Market at Snow Hill Village

Another market that is also worth the visit is the Publix Super Market.

You can find this along Snow Hill Road.

Publix Super Market offers more food options than other competing markets.

It has been serving the locals of Ooltewah since 1930 and still operating up to this date.

If you need more than a week’s worth of groceries, don’t hesitate to shop here.

It can save you time and money, especially if you’re a tourist spending at least one month in Ooltewah.

Hand Pick Crops at Smith Perry Berries

You can have extra fun while buying the best strawberries in town by visiting Smith Perry Berries farm directly.

Aubie Smith and Bill Perry joined forces in starting this farm to face different challenges in farming.

Smith Perry Berries is now one of the most visited farms in Ooltewah, which is also a popular tourist destination.

Crops such as strawberries, sweet corn, pumpkins, sunflowers, wildflowers, and watermelons are available in Smith Perry Berries.

When you visit here, you can cut your own sunflowers if you plan to buy a stem or a whole bouquet.

It is best if you note the best seasons to visit.

Sunflowers blossom the best in July, strawberries are the sweetest in late April to June, and pumpkins are available from late September to late October.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Many interesting natural and historic landmarks surround Ooltewah, which offers you many other things to do when you visit.

Luckily, most of these attractions are less than a 30-minute drive from Ooltewah’s city center, so you can easily fit them into your itinerary.

Commemorate the Cherokee Nation at the Red Clay State Historic Park

The grounds of Red Clay State Historic Park

Wayne Hsieh78 /

If you ever visit Cleveland or its neighboring cities, such as Ooltewah, you should take the chance to stop by the famous Red Clay State Historic Park.

It is known as the last capital of the Cherokee Nation.

However, the reign of the Cherokee people ended after the U.S. military declared their removal.

Following the Cherokee people’s displacement, the property encompassing around 263 acres of vast valleys became a private agricultural land for cotton and pasture farming.

Cherokee farm at Red Clay State Historic Park

Wayne Hsieh78 /

Today, you can visit the site as a park that is more than a place for leisure.

It is now a place to remember that the Cherokee Nation once lived and owned the land where the Red Clay State Historic Park now stands.

It also houses another natural landmark called the Blue Hole Spring.

Cherokee eternal flame at Red Clay State Historic Park

Brian Stansberry (photographer), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spot Various Wildlife at the Enterprise South Nature Park

Enterprise South Nature Park is a massive 2,800-acre nature park, perfect for a weekend getaway with family and friends.

It is easily accessible from Ooltewah, only a 6-minute drive away.

It has 4.5 miles of walking and hiking trails and 10 miles of mountain biking trails, surrounded by a magnificent forest.

This place will meet all the expectations of nature lovers because Enterprise South Nature Park features a hidden lake where you can see a diverse range of wildlife, such as fish, reptiles, and birds.

Also, remember to bring your cameras with you to capture your best experience at this park’s official wildlife viewing platform.

Visitors who want to relax and unwind can enjoy a picnic in one of this park’s five designated picnic areas.

Take a Stroll at The Nature Nook

The Nature Nook is another excellent choice if you’re looking for more parks.

It is close to the Imagination Station, approximately a 4-minute drive.

So, if that gets too crowded, you can go straight to the Nature Nook, which offers the same level of fun.

It has a playground and gazebo with a swing, where the parents can stay while looking out for their kids at the playground.

You’ll also enjoy walking around The Nature Nook because it has a beautiful landscape with blossoming flowers and other greeneries.

It is also near other recreational sites such as Dog Park and Greenway.

Unwind at the Coolidge Park

Water fountain at Coolidge Park

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

Coolidge Park is one of the sources of pride in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

It is a lively park and a local’s favorite hangout place.

It features an overlooking view of the spectacular Tennessee River.

The grounds of Coolidge Park

Christopher V Jones /

You can witness many other exciting displays in Coolidge Park, such as an interactive fountain, a 100-year-old restored vintage carousel, and a military memorial.

People walking along Coolidge Park

Christopher V Jones /

You can also enjoy walking along the longest pedestrian bridge, known as Walnut Street Bridge, which connects Chattanooga downtown to North Chattanooga.

Another entertaining activity you can do in this park is rock climbing at the Williams Rock Wall.

Paddle-boarding at Coolidge Park

Christopher V Jones /

Get Hype with Your Kids at Imagination Station

Imagination Station lies in the enclave area of Ooltewah in Collegedale, Tennessee.

It is a famous community park with playgrounds suitable for kids and adults.

Visitors can also enjoy their stay by playing in the sandbox with other fun stationary exercise equipment.

Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you should take advantage of the opportunity to play in this park.

Consider this a chance for your kids to meet new people while enjoying exciting slides and swings at the playground.

The Imagination Station also has a large pavilion for rent if you’re looking for a nice event venue.

Visit Ruby Falls

Scenic view of Ruby Falls

IrinaK /

Ruby Falls is another famous attraction in Chattanooga.

It is approximately a 27-minute drive from Ooltewah’s city center.

The beauty of Ruby Falls is highly recognized not only in Chattanooga and its neighboring cities but also by the rest of the United States.

It is the tallest and deepest underground waterfall in the United States, which is open for public viewing.

Downstream of Ruby Falls

Andrew Schmidbauer /

You can find Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain, which has a tower featuring a panoramic view of the Cumberland Plateau and Tennessee River.

If the wonders of Ruby Falls aren’t enough for you, you can extend the fun at the High Point ZIP Adventure.

It features a 40-foot climbing tower and zip lines showcasing the spectacular views of the Tennessee Valley.

Tower sign of Ruby Falls

Alan Casio /

Dig into the Past by Visiting Lynn H. Wood Archaeological Museum

If you’re curious about the different archeological artifacts of the ancient Near East, also known as the modern Middle East of today, don’t hesitate to visit Lynn Wood H. Archaeological Museum.

It houses important archeological research of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Those who are religious or just curious about the biblical world will certainly find this place amusing.

In this museum, you can also learn the history of early civilizations and witness over two hundred artifacts from Egypt, Babylonia, Persia, Syria-Palestine, Greece, Cyprus, and Anatolia.

You can easily locate the Lynn Wood H. Archaeological Museum inside the campus of Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tennessee.

Explore the White Oak Mountain Trails

Mountain trails are abundant in Ooltewah, which makes it the perfect place for nature lovers who want to hike or bike along safe routes.

White Oak Mountain Trails is one of Tennessee’s most popular trails.

It comprises many sub-trails which offer different experiences in White Oak Mountain.

Some trails are more challenging than others, but you can select the sub-trail that best suits your abilities.

Holler View Trail is one of the easiest trails ideal for beginners, approximately 3.7 km.

Meanwhile, those searching for the most complex trails can try the Rolling Green, The Fall, Krebs Cycle, and Dogwood Loop.

Travel Back in Time at Tennessee Valley Road Museum

A steam locomotive at Tennessee Valley Road Museum

Gillett’s Crossing from Bristol, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting Tennessee Valley Road Museum will transport you back in time.

This museum not only provides public viewing of vintage trains but also a train ride along 1850s railroads.

Consider this your chance to relive your train scene fantasies, which you can only see in movies.

Railcar at Tennessee Valley Road Museum

Gillett’s Crossing from Bristol, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most frequent train rides available at the Tennessee Valley Road Museum is the Missionary Ridge Local, which will take you on a 6-mile roundtrip ride.

While you’re on the way, a tour guide will tell you about the history and other important facts about the places you’ll encounter and the Tennessee Valley Road Museum.

Tennessee Valley Road Museum also offers seasonal rides, such as the North Pole Limited from November to December and the Copperhill Special running only from October to early November.

Final Thoughts

Ooltewah is quite an unpopular destination in Hamilton County due to its small geographic and population size.

However, once you get to know this place, you’ll fall in love with all the charm it has to offer.

Adventurers, nature lovers, and sports enthusiasts will never run out of options to do in this area, ranging from the most chill nature walks to the toughest mountain biking experience.

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