Reflections Riding Arboretum & Nature Center is one of the most historic natural wonders in the Tennessee Valley. Located just a few minutes from downtown Chattanooga, Reflections Riding is the perfect outdoor adventure destination.
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Reflections Riding is located along the western side of Lookout Mountain, a popular tourist destination in Tennessee. With 317 acres of forest and fields to explore, visitors can walk, bike, drive to experience the gardens, reflection ponds and colorful, lush, meadows. Popular activities at Reflections Riding include canoeing, hiking, camping, visit the plant nursery, gardens and arboretum. Reflections Riding is also an ideal venue for weddings, birthday parties, family reunions, and corporate events.
Reflections Riding facility started in 1941 when John Chambliss expanded his farm to include 300 acres along Lookout Creek. He partnered with Ellis Bishop, an expert bulldozer, to begin clearing away the honeysuckle and opening up the countryside to be able to create winding lanes for car and walking tours of the Landscape Park he was going to create.
The nature center does provide some trails that are wheel chair accessible and over 15 miles of hiking trails total. The center also offers many educational opportunities to learn about endangered, native animals, historic value of the land, and the early pioneer settlers and Native Americans in the region.
Visitor hours change seasonally and are posted to the website for Reflections Riding Arboretum & Nature Center. The trails and gardens are open 7 days a week all year round. There is admission required for entry to the nature center and arboretum, however, acquiring an annual membership can provide discounts on admission as well as other benefits at horticulture centers around the United States.
Reflections Riding has recently become dog friendly. Visitors are welcome to bring their family pets with them on the trails if the dogs remain on leash, are cleaned up after, and are under control. More details can be found on the website.
The attractions at Reflections riding embrace the natural elements and serve as a premier location on Lookout Mountain for outdoor adventures and activities.
The Designed Landscapes- Reflections Riding has been professionally landscaped in the picturesque style, which is one of the most important periods of formal gardening and landscape architecture. The roots are in the romanticism of the English Garden design and philosophy of the 18th century. There are 9 landscapes that can be walked or driven through:
· Candy Flats
· Rickards Reflection
· Gleason Reach
· Cornish Horizon
· Millison Field
· Siren Pool
· Olmsted Outlook
· Sheets Sward
· Upper Reflecting Pond
The Gardens- Many of the gardens at Reflection Riding were begun by Margaret Chambliss and Mary Humphreys in the early days of the center’s creation. The gardens are filled with native and rare wildflower from both Lookout and Signal Mountains. Other gardens have been established more recently through the generosity of other horticultural associations in the region.
· Wildflower Cove
· Fern Glade
· Oliver Freeman’s Hollow
· The Pinetum
· Three Sisters Cherokee Garden
· Herb Garden
· Susan’s Path
· Grandmother’s Garden
· Holsomback Azalea Garden
· Philip Memorial Rhodendron Garden
The Arboretum (Arboreta)- There are trees and shrubs from all over the world collected at the Arboretum with the majority being from the Southeastern United States. The Arboretum began intentional planting in the 1950’s and was reworked under landscape architect Thomas Kane in 1982. Under the Tennessee Arboretum Certification Program, this arboretum is rated a Level IV Arboretum.
The Trails- There are over 14 miles of trails through the mountain, along the creek and through the wild flower meadows. The three most popular are the Mountain Trails, Indian Profile Trail, and Driving Loop. The first two are moderate difficulty and offer spectacular views while the Driving Loop is 3 miles of paved terrain for bikers, joggers, and those who wish to drive around Reflections Riding.
Native Plant Nursery- More than 200 native wildflowers, shrubs and trees are cultivated in the nursery and sold at the annual plant sales on Lookout Mountain. Members have presale access.
Nature Center- The Nature Center is where most visitors start at Reflections Riding and where admission tickets can be purchased. Resources on canoeing, Wildlife Wanderland, and other area attractions are available here. The visitor Center is found inside the Nature Center and includes exhibits that focus on the environment and ecology as well as the Hollow Tree Gift Shop and library, restrooms and play areas for children.
Wildlife Wanderland- This wildlife sanctuary is home to 40 animals that have been negatively impacted by human activity and can no longer live in the wild. These animals which include snakes, coyotes, hawks, and bobcats, among others, are used in educational programs and serve as ambassadors for Reflection Riding.
400 Garden Rd, Chattanooga, TN 37419, website, Phone: 423-821-1160