North Chickamauga Creek begins with the union of two small streams, Standifer and Brimer Creeks, near the western rim of Walden’s Ridge in Sequatchie County, approximately 15 miles from the city of Chattanooga. As the creek flows eastward into Hamilton County, it collects flow from Mossy, Cain, and Cooper Creeks and their upland tributaries before beginning a rapid descent toward the valley floor.
North Chickamauga Creek cuts a spectacularly scenic, deep central gorge through the sandstone of the Cumberland Plateau. Past Hogskin Branch, the creek curves southward, rounding the wall of the escarpment. As it enters the valley, the waters of the creek spill into several caves and fissures eroded into the porous limestone of the valley floor, causing the stream to disappear during much of the year to leave an exposed bed of dry white cobbles. A short distance downstream, the creek reemerges to wind its way through the Soddy Daisy, Middle Valley, and Hixson communities before emptying into the Tennessee River just below Chickamauga Dam. In its 32-mile course from ridge top to river, the creek drains some 120 square miles of upland and valley land.
The first segment of the North Chickamauga Creek Greenway was dedicated on May 19, 1990. This 1.25 mile section on 40 acres of TVA’s Chickamauga Dam Reservation includes a paved multi-use trail, a picnic pavilion, restroom facilities, and an improved canoe access point. TVA designated the remaining 200 acres of the parcel as a Small Wild Area; the area has also been designated as an Urban Wildlife Sanctuary by the National Institute for Urban Wildlife and as a State Natural Area by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. At the time of the dedication, TVA donated an easement to manage and maintain the 40-acre greenway tract to the City of Chattanooga.
Days after the dedication of the TVA Small Wild Area, the Chattanooga City Council authorized the purchase of what is now known as the Greenway Farm, a 180-acre farm that adjoins the northern boundary of the initial greenway segment with 2.5 miles of creek frontage. The greenway trail now extends through this park and features additional canoe access points. NCCC in conjunction with the City of Chattanooga, the Trust for Public Land, and other project partners released an updated greenway plan in 2004. The Chattanooga City Council voted to partially fund the next section of greenway trail construction in July 2009. NCCC continues to assist the City of Chattanooga in the land acquisition process for further development of the greenway and protection of the creek.