Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville

ijams-nature-center-heysmokiesVisit Ijams Nature Center and find out why people love it so much! Ijams is a wild place filled with rocks, rivers, trees, trails, owls and salamanders. Visitors of all ages and ability can hike, bike, paddle, stroll, learn or simply enjoy the day. Ijams is a sanctuary for all visitors to learn and connect with the natural world and be made better by that connection – a place where living with the earth and caring for the earth become one and the same.

Ijams Nature Center is a member and visitor-supported nonprofit organization. Your generous support is needed to continue the ongoing legacy for generations to come.

Where to find Ijams Nature Centerironweed-butterfly-urban -wilderness-knoxville-heysmokies

2915 Island Home Avenue
Knoxville, TN 37920

Approximately three miles from downtown Knoxville. Please call 865-577-4717 if you need special assistance with directions.

  • From Downtown Knoxville via Gay Street – Take the Gay Street bridge south and turn left onto Sevier Avenue. Follow Sevier Avenue; after passing through two traffic lights turn left onto Island Home Avenue. Follow Island Home Avenue, which turns right by the entrance to Island Home Park. Follow green directional signs to Ijams, approximately 1.5 miles on your left.
  • From I-40 West –  
 Take James White Parkway Exit 388A. 
Continue on in two left lanes down James White Parkway
, cross over the Tennessee River and take the Sevier Ave/Hillwood Dr. exit. 
 Turn left onto Sevier Ave. (turns into Hillwood Drive)
. Turn right onto Island Home Ave. at bottom of hill. 
Ijams is approximately 1 mile on the left.
  • From I-40 East –  Take James White Parkway Exit 388A
. Merge onto James White Parkway, cross over the Tennessee River and take the Sevier Ave/Hillwood Dr. exit. 
Turn left onto Sevier Ave. (turns into Hillwood Drive). Turn right onto Island Home Ave. at bottom of hill.
  Ijams is approximately 1 mile on the left.

Hours

THE GROUNDS AND TRAILS ARE OPEN EVERY DAY FROM 8:00 AM UNTIL DUSK.
The Visitor Center, including exhibits, gift shop, offices and restrooms is open during the following times:
Monday – Saturday: 9 am to 5 pm
Sunday: 11 am to 5 pm
Admission: Free. However, they gladly accept and are grateful for cash donations, especially in U.S. currency. Seriously though, Ijams is a nonprofit organization, supported in part by the City of Knoxville, grants, program fees and the generosity of its members and visitors. If you enjoy your visit please support them.

Ijams is Dog Friendly!

You’ll find a Pet Welcome Station near the Visitor Center with leash holders and a doggy water fountain. For everyone’s enjoyment they ask that pets keep their owners leashed at all times.dog-playing-heysmokies

Please Pick Up After Your Pooch! Poop bag stations can be found near the Visitor Center and pet waste bags are for sale in the gift shop.

Hiking

Ijams is a 300-acre urban greenspace featuring over 12 miles of natural surface trails plus a stretch of the Will Skelton Greenway. All of the trails are hiker friendly, although 9+ miles incorporating Mead’s Quarry and the Ross Marble Natural Area serve both hikers and mountain bikers.

When you visit, pick up a trail map at the Visitor Center (only $1) and experience Ijams’ beautiful landscape featuring trails, woodlands, meadows, ponds, and an extensive boardwalk along the Tennessee River bank.

Ijams is also part of South Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. This urban greenspace incorporates 1,000-forested acres along downtown’s south waterfront. It creates an exceptional recreation and historic corridor inviting residents and visitors to experience the special character-defining assets of our city. With over 40 miles of multi-use trails, 10 parks, four civil war sites, incredible views, and unparalleled natural features, this unique area provides a premiere outdoor experience. Check out the links below for detailed maps of sections of the Urban Wilderness.

Biking

Explore the expansive multi-use trails at the Ross Marble Natural Area, Mead’s Quarry and Will Skelton Greenway. Ijams has teamed up with the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club to create 9 miles of beginner-intermediate bike trails weaving through rugged terrain, undisturbed woodlands, and along the former quarry gorge. Explore the Ross Marble Quarry loop with unforgettable views from the rock bridge and below through the “keyhole”.

Urban Wilderness

canoe-dog-heysmokies

Experience Mead’s Quarry Lake by canoe or paddle board!

Close to downtown, Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness presents a unique urban experience for hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners! Designed and championed by Legacy Parks Foundation, phase 1 of the Urban Wilderness project is the South Loop, 35 miles of natural surface trails connecting five parks and natural areas along with public and private lands creating an unparalleled outdoor venue! The South Loop connects Ijams, Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, William Hastie Natural Area and Marie Myers Park with trailheads and parking along the route. The main trail along the 11.5 mile loop features easy to moderate trails for all users. An additional 24 miles of secondary trails accommodates users from beginner to advanced on dozens of trails of varying terrain. Whether on foot or on a bike, plan on experiencing the splendors of the trail today!

For more information visit Ijams Nature Center.

More Hey Smokies Features:

Smoky Mountain Historic Walker Sisters Cabin Closed To Public
Smoky Mountain Historic Walker Sisters Cabin Closed To Public...
Smoky Mountain Historic Walker Sisters Cabin Closed To Public due to safety concerns. Built in the 1800's the cabin was occupied by the Wal[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Ice Curls
Smoky Mountain Ice Curls...
Smoky Mountain ice curls, whorls, tufts, feathers and mounds—all forms that natural ice can take on the ground under the right conditions. In a[Read More >>]
New Year Beans And Greens Recipe
New Year Beans And Greens Recipe...
New Year Beans And Greens Recipe. What is behind the Southern tradition of eating black-eyed peas and collard greens on New Years day? Some folk[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Geminid Meteor Shower...
The Geminid meteor shower will peak in 2021 on the night of Monday, December 13th and 14th. The Geminids are a reliable shower for those wh[Read More >>]
Enjoy a Drive on Scenic Highway 129 near the Great Smoky Mountains and Experience the Tail of the Dragon!
Enjoy a Drive on Scenic Highway 129 near the Great Smoky Mountains and Experience the Tail of the Dragon!...
Scenic Highway 129 starts in languid Chiefland, Florida, a far cry from the blue haze and cooler temperatures of the Great Smoky Mountains. Hund[Read More >>]
Christmas Cookie Recipe
Christmas Cookie Recipe...
Christmas Cookie Recipe. When the holidays arrive in the Great Smoky Mountains there are many HeySmokies sweet treat favorites but the tradition[Read More >>]
The Clingmans Dome Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Clingmans Dome Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park...
…feeling great at CLINGMANS DOME!  Clingmans Dome is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This[Read More >>]
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash!
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash!...
Smoky Mountains Fall Red Beauty Mountain Ash! Who wouldn’t love a beautiful ornamental tree, not too large or too small, with an abundance of [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Full Hunters Moon
Smoky Mountain Full Hunters Moon...
Smoky Mountain Full Hunters Moon. Most of the time, the full moon isn't completely full. We always see the same side of the moon and part o[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Public Input Requested for Smoky Mountain Proposed Air Tour Management Plan...
Public Input Requested for Smoky Mountain Proposed Air Tour Management Plan. The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Admin[Read More >>]
Cades Cove Handicapped Accessible Trail Open To Public
Cades Cove Handicapped Accessible Trail Open To Public...
New John Oliver cabin trail opens in GSMNP! Cades Cove Handicapped Accessible Trail Open To Public. National Park officials celebrated the [Read More >>]
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut
Smoky Mountain Elk Rut...
Love is in the air for Smoky Mountain Elk. Smoky Mountain Elk Rut is on. The call of the wild echoes in the Smokies as Bull Elks seek mates.[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain Tomato Pie Recipe...
You will love HeySmokies' delicious tomato pie! Smoky Mountain Tomato Pie recipe is a favorite with the HeySmokies.com culinary crew. This s[Read More >>]
Newfound Gap Road Construction
Newfound Gap Road Construction...
Smoky Mountain Travel Advisory. Great Smoky Mountains National Park will resume daytime traffic closures due to road paving along an 8-mile [Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Cades Cove Closed To Public...
Cades Cove closes for three weeks. Cades Cove Closed To Public. Bears and other wildlife will have an opportunity to breathe a sigh of reli[Read More >>]
The Cades Cove Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
The Cades Cove Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park...
The 6,800-acre valley comprising Cades Cove, one of the most visited areas of the park, provides a glimpse of a bygone mountain lifestyle. Trave[Read More >>]
Tick Safety Tips!
Tick Safety Tips!...
Tick Safety Tips! Ticks and what you need to know to stay safe! It is that time of year in the Smoky Mountains. Summertime and outdoor activitie[Read More >>]
Five Best Hikes To Mount LeConte
Five Best Hikes To Mount LeConte...
These hikes to Mount LeConte are worth the effort! Five best hikes to Mount LeConte. LeConte Lodge is the only overnight lodging, [Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Laurel Falls Access Fee Proposed...
Laurel Falls Access Fee Proposed. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is seeking public input on the Laurel Falls Trail Congestion Manageme[Read More >>]
No thumbnail available
Smoky Mountain shuttle opportunities for Cades Cove Vehicle-Free Wednesdays...
Smoky Mountain shuttle opportunities for Cades Cove Vehicle-Free Wednesdays. Shuttles begin July 7, 2021 and will run through September 1, [Read More >>]