Why an Outdoor Enthusiast Should Consider East Tennessee

When it comes to cities with much to enjoy for the outdoor enthusiast, Knoxville, Tennessee, is at the top of the list. There’s no shortage of opportunities to experience the beauty of East Tennessee through a wide variety of outdoor activities.

When it comes to cities that offer much to enjoy for the outdoor enthusiast, Knoxville, Tennessee, is at the top of the list. Located just about an hour’s drive from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Knoxville has long been known as a gateway to outdoor adventures. But in recent years, there has been a more concerted effort to establish this so-called Scruffy City as a destination for those who like to make the most of the great outdoors.

Whether you live in Knoxville — or may be thinking of moving to the area — there’s no shortage of opportunities to enjoy the beauty of East Tennessee, no matter what types of activities you might choose to take part in.

From hiking to biking, paddle boarding to kayaking, or just soaking up some sunshine in one of the city’s many parks, there are plenty of ways an outdoor enthusiast can pass the time in Knoxville.

Hiking in Knoxville

Something that many Knoxville residents love about their hometown is the four distinct seasons. Hiking is an outdoor pastime that can be enjoyed all through the year and there are many great places for a hike in Knoxville.

All around the city of Knoxville, as well as Knox County, there are trails for walking and hiking. One of the most popular attractions for the outdoor enthusiast is Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, a “unique urban adventure playground” enjoyed by hikers as well as mountain bikers and trail runners.

The Urban Wilderness, which incorporates about a thousand forested acres, provides more than 50 miles of natural surface trails across all different types of terrain. And the best part about this is it’s located only three miles from the city’s thriving downtown.

Biking in Knoxville

Cycling has become a popular past time in the Knoxville area, attracting cyclists to the city’s network of greenways. In fact, there are more than 65 miles of greenway paths and trails.

These greenways have been carefully installed to maximize the beauty of the natural areas, with many of them located near rivers and streams. Greenways in Knoxville are an important connector for parks, schools, and communities.

Want to explore some of these paths and trails by bike? Check out this 2017 Knoxville Bicycle Map online.

Water Sports around Knoxville

One thing that makes Knoxville unique is the way the Tennessee River makes its way right through the city, including along the east side of downtown. There are other rivers and lakes as well as a few quarries that offer wonderful opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast to get out and explore.

Whether fishing, paddling, boating, or swimming, the beauty of Knoxville’s naturescapes is just waiting to be explored.

Get Outside and Enjoy Knoxville

Looking for something a little different? Knoxville is home to several skateparks that are free to the public and open every day. There are also eight disc golf courses in Knoxville, with another in the works.

Outdoor Knoxville, an initiative of the Legacy Parks Foundation, publishes an annual guide called “Get Out and Play” that for 2017 boasts nearly 250 parks, trails, and greenways in the area for the outdoor enthusiast. The guide serves as a directory for residents and visitors to get familiar with all the great locations. Outdoor Knoxville also offers a community calendar, which is packed with activities of all types. Check it out to find anything from triathlons and climbing classes to group hikes and bike rides.

Thought you knew Knoxville? If you’re an outdoor enthusiast and haven’t visited lately, or maybe you’ve never visited, consider planning a trip. East Tennessee is a great place to call home and with all the incredible outdoor activities to enjoy, you may want to call it home.


Kate Spears is a Knoxville writer and content marketing specialist who earned an M.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee. She has, since 2012, worked as a social media manager with Coldwell Banker Wallace & Wallace, Realtors in East Tennessee.

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