Moccasin Bend National Archeological District is one the newest national park areas in the United States. The National Park Service is working with the Friends of Moccasin Bend to create exceptional visitor experiences at the park. The Friends of Moccasin Bend organization is committed to interpreting, protecting, and preserving the Moccasin Bend National Archeological District, which contains evidence of human history going back 12,000 years. In 2003, the National Park Service began to manage the area of Moccasin Bend. It then became a part of Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Park, and is not only the first, but is the only National Archeological District in the National Park System.
The Moccasin Bend area is a national park in progress. The Friends of Moccasin Bend has helped the National Park Service make a good start. There are currently two hiking trails within Moccasin Bend National Park, along with ranger-led programs throughout the year for children, families, outdoor enthusiasts, teachers and students, and history buffs. Among the plans for the national park are more hiking trails, outdoor amenities, and bike paths. There are also plans for an interpretive, interactive visitors center, a youth preservation training program, and a bicycle and pedestrian ferry that connects Moccasin Bend with downtown Chattanooga among many other plans.
Moccasin Bend is located within a meander in the Tennessee River, where the river meets the Cumberland Plateau. The Bend is named as it is for looking like a shoe when seen from Lookout Mountain. The American story is told by Moccasin Bend, much of which existed before history was written down. The Bend demonstrates 12,000 years of historical and archeological evidence of human community. There are layers of artifacts from prehistory, such as the Archaic, Paleo-Indian, Mississippian and Woodland Periods. Evidence also exists of European-American contact, American settlement, Civil War, Cherokee life and removal, and the growth of Chattanooga.
The Blue Blazes trail is a two-mile loop that features views of the Tennessee River and Lookout Mountain, which can be reached by turning left onto Moccasin Bend Road from Hamm Road. Turning right onto Moccasin Bend Road leads to the parking area for Brown's Ferry Federal Road. This road is 1.2 miles from the trailhead to the Brown's Ferry site on the Tennessee River and back. The Federal Road travels along the historic route of the Cherokee Forced Removal of 1838. It also follows the "Cracker Line" that sent lifesaving supplies in 1863 to Union soldiers under siege in Civil War Chattanooga. Signs are posted along the trail to help hikers understand both of these events.
The area of Moccasin Bend was established as a national park due to its national significance. It was concluded in a 1998 assessment that “the quality, diversity and broad accessibility of these resources cannot be matched in any other American metropolitan area." This conclusion was reached by a collaboration of several groups: culturally affiliated Native American tribes, the State of Tennessee, the National Park Service, and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency.
10 Hamm Road, Chattanooga, Tennessee, Phone: 423-648-5623
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