By Cheryl Toomey, University Relations Graduate Assistant
Chattanooga is nicknamed the Scenic City, so while the pleasant weather lasts, it’s time to get out there and see the sights.
UTC has a variety of outdoor activities for people of all skill levels. From rafting and kayaking to biking and hiking, UTC Outdoors has something for everyone.
“We’ve got something planned almost every weekend and we offer weekday activities too now, so I’d say if you’re looking for something to do, we’ve got it,” says Anna Muller, the Coordinator of Outdoor Programming at UTC.
UTC Outdoors offers a number of trips throughout the year. Upcoming trips include mountain biking, hiking, caving, climbing, bouldering, kayaking, tubing, canoeing, and camping trips. The majority of trips are free with a $20 deposit to reserve your spot. When payment is required, UTC students receive a discounted group rate for these trips.
September 14-15, UTC is offering a women’s tubing and camping trip. Contributions from the UTC Women’s Center have accommodated the price of this trip, making it free for students.
Also coming up is the annual skydiving trip, which Muller says always fills to capacity. “It’s really popular, so if people want to go, they need to get there to sign up as quick as they can.” This trip costs $180 and isn’t for the faint of heart.
There are weekday activities for students as well. On Wednesdays, UTC Outdoors offers the chance to go stand-up paddle boarding along the shores of downtown Chattanooga while the warm weather lasts. On Thursdays, take the chance to go on a group bike ride through the town. Both activities are free with a $20 check deposit submitted ahead of time to the UTC Outdoors Office to reserve your place.
UTC Outdoors also offers free rental equipment to students. Equipment includes camping gear, such as tents, sleeping bags, and stoves, as well as fly fishing gear, snow boards, backpacks, tubes, disc golf equipment, and more. Students can get enough equipment for two people to go camping or biking, so grab a friend and go. Students need only visit the UTC Outdoors office on the first floor of the ARC and have a $50 check deposit ready, which they get back as long as the equipment is returned on time and in the same condition. Students may rent equipment for the day during the week or may take equipment out for weekend rentals.
If you haven’t been an outdoorsy person in the past, but you’d like to try some of the activities that UTC Outdoors has to offer, that’s no problem either.
“We’re really the best avenue for students that maybe don’t have a lot of outdoor experience but would like to learn about it,” says Muller, “In our program, we typically try to focus on the beginners. I would really suggest they come out and get involved in the trips that we’ve already planned so they can learn about the sport and get some experience. While we do offer intermediate levels, we have a lot of beginner activities too. We try to cater to the group that’s signed up for a trip and we’ll tailor the activity to their skill level. We want to teach students to go from no experience to the knowledge of how to go out there and do these things on their own.”
Trips, rentals, and clinics are all available to people of all skill levels, even those with no experience at all. UTC Outdoors staff makes sure that students are well prepared for the trips.
“In backpacking, for example, if a student has never been backpacking before, we’ll have a pre-trip meeting to explain what to expect, what to pack and what will just be unnecessary weight, what kind of shoes to wear, how many miles we’ll go, and things like that. Every camping trip we do, we get at least one or two people who have never been camping,” Muller explained.
Muller encourages students who want to venture out into Chattanooga but don’t know where to begin to ask the UTC Outdoors staff.
“If students are looking for information about activities that they’re interested in, like where to go hiking or canoeing for example, they can come ask advice from our staff. They’re very knowledgeable about what there is to do around Chattanooga and how to go about it. We have books, maps, and other resources and we can give students advice on where to go and how to plan.”
Learn more about UTC Outdoors here.