It's time to breathe in some fresh, spring air and start planning a vacation to Tennessee to experience its unmatched scenic beauty. Go for an adventure along Knoxville's mountain biking trails; cruise lazily down the Tennessee River in Chattanooga; ride free on the back of a Harley in Middle Tennessee; and experience hidden gems throughout the state when you pack up the car and explore the Trails & Byways.
See America’s No. 1 most visited national park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, from a saddle with Cades Cove Stables. Travel with a guide along scenic trails that include mountain streams, wildlife like deer and turkeys and, of course, the majestic Smokies. Hayrides and carriage rides are also available if you prefer.
Motorcycle enthusiasts should go to Cookeville for small town charm and Carve the Cumberland, 12 different motorcycle trails that guide motorists through the Upper Cumberland region. Embark on the Sgt. York’s Ride, a 115-mile trip that takes you along Highway 111 and across Dale Hollow Lake, and eventually brings you to Sergeant Alvin C. York Historic Park and Museum. The attraction honors York, one of the most decorated World War I soldiers. Other trails include Famous Falls, which highlights waterfalls like Burgess and Great Falls of the Caney Fork River; and Calfkiller Loop, which journeys to Sparta, Tennessee and brings you to Calfkiller Brewing Company.
If you want a thrilling ride, cycle along Devil’s Racetrack Downhill Trail, a professionally-designed 0.8-mile extreme downhill trail that is double black-diamond rated located in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. There are a plethora of trails you can choose in and around Knoxville. From Meads Quarry at Ijams Nature Center to Norris Dam State Park Trails and Concord Park, you’ll have a blast exploring the off-road trail systems that make you feel miles and miles away from the city.
Big River Crossing is the longest pedestrian/bike bridge across the Mississippi River. The bridge connects main streets in Memphis, Tennessee and West Memphis, Arkansas, tying together natural, rural and urban landscapes for a special kind of experience. The sweeping views of the city provide a beautiful backdrop for a day of activity.
Head to Tennessee’s No. 1 attraction, Dollywood for thrilling rides like FireChaser Express, the first dual-launch coaster in the U.S., that blasts riders forward and backward; Wild Eagle, the first wing coaster in America which takes you soaring like a bird over the Smoky Mountains; known as “the wildest ride in the woods,” Thunderhead which is a massive wooden coaster situated between two mountains; and Tennessee Tornado, the coaster that reaches speeds nearing 70 mph and has a 128-drop through an actual mountain.
While enjoying a day in Chattanooga, opt for a daytime cruise on the Southern Belle to not only get stunning views of the Chattanooga skyline, but also learn the Tennessee River’s history. Choose from a dining cruise which includes a two-hour cruise of live entertainment, full meal and free pilot house tours with the caption; a seasonal cruise to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s and more; or sightseeing cruises which are narrated by an historian as you enjoy iconic views only visible from the Southern Belle.
Tennessee Valley Railroad ha a variety of excursions from the Missionary Ridge Local to the Hiwassee loop and even holiday-themed rides like The Bunny Train for Easter. Take a scenic trip through the Cherokee National Forest on the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure to see spring’s blooms while you ride the 50-mile round trip.
The countryside of Tennessee rolls by as you travel by train with Tennessee Central Railway Museum. Departing from Nashville, travel to destinations like DelMonaco Winery in Baxter, Watertown, Monterey, and Lebanon to name a few. Large sightseeing windows, comfortable seats, and air-conditioning make your trip through the state relaxing and enjoyable.
It’s time to pack up the car and drive through Tennessee along the 16 Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways, stopping at the restaurants, boutiques, historic sites and attractions in the hills and hollers of this fair state. Along these roads, authentic hospitality meets you at the door and rich culture, scrumptious meals and, of course, music can be experienced, crafting your vacation soundtrack.