Knoxville delivers the best of both worlds with a thriving city scene and abundant outdoor adventures just three miles from downtown. Thanks to a culture and recreation renaissance over the past 10 years, the east Tennessee city proudly offers easy access to natural beauty, rich history and lush protected lands.
Hiker, mountain biker or trail runner, Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness will move you. Head across the Tennessee River from downtown where you’ll encounter the 1,000-acre stretch of natural open space unfolding in the form of 10 sprawling parks, four Civil War sites, postcard-perfect views and a state wildlife refuge. Everyone from families to athletes in training will find a path to their liking among the more than 40 miles of multi-use trails.
The 12.5-mile South Loop connects Ijams Nature Center, Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, William Hastie Natural Area, Marie Myers Park and private land easements. Stroll the Ijams 300-acre nature sanctuary, enjoy the interpretive birding trails, the Tennessee River Boardwalk and a new outdoor climbing area.
Spend some time at historic Mead’s Quarry Park and hike the rugged, tranquil trails past naturally carved marble shelves to scenic overlooks and gorges. Break for a picnic near the lake observation deck or rent a canoe or paddle board from River Sports Outfitters and get out on the turquoise water.
From the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area trailhead, seek out fields of vibrant sunflowers or bike the paved Will Skelton Greenway along the waterfront and into cool forested areas. The South Loop Trail system also features more than 30 miles of secondary multi-use trails. Year round, you’ll find fellow nature lovers, mountain bikers, trail runners, dog walkers and bird watchers soaking up the beauty along Knoxville’s rambling Urban Wilderness.
After you get your fill of woods and water, take a quick drive back across the river for top-notch dining, shopping and entertainment in downtown Knoxville. Head to Market Square for some of the finest food in Knoxville. You’ll also find fantastic shops, live music and perhaps even a festival. This kid and pet friendly area is an ever-changing anchor for festivals and fun.
For added excitement, head down to Knoxville’s Old City. Located within walking distance of Market Square, the Old City is home to an eclectic assortment of shops, coffee bars, restaurants, breweries and clubs.
Adventure awaits in Knoxville!