Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness

Knoxville's Urban Wilderness is a wild ride!

Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is a wild ride!

Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness Is Wild. The urban wilderness is gaining national recognition for it’s expansive multi-use trail system and learning resources all of which are practically downtown Knoxville. The trail system boasts over 100 miles of trail connecting five primary areas including: Ijams Nature Center, William Hastie Natural Area, Anderson School Trails, South Loop Trails and the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area.

“I love the Urban Wilderness area!” said Karen Smothers. “When I get off work downtown I can be here in minutes. I can take a leisurely walk, get a hard core work out on my bike, take a class at Ijams or just immerse myself in nature. Who could ask for more in the middle of a major metropolitan area?”

There are many miles of trails that traverse city, county, state and private lands connecting parks, neighborhoods, schools, natural areas and historic sites. The trails are rated from easy to very difficult so know your abilities to stay out of trouble.

The South Loop area is perfect for all hiking skill levels with a nice 12.5 mile loop that will bring you back to your vehicle. The area is comprised of 1,000 plus acres and more than 70 miles of trail. This area offers a variety of terrain and we recommend checking the difficulty level before starting out. Access can be found at 2915 Island Home Ave., 3518 Island Home Pike, 1302 Margaret Rd., 3140 McClure Lane and 5907 Burnett Creek Road
Knoxville, TN 37920.

William Hastie Natural Area boasts natural surface trails that provide unique challenges to hikers, bikers and trail runners. There are more than four miles of single track mountain bike trails to challenge the adventurous riders  and gentler double wide tracks for the less adventurous. Access to this area can be found at 1302 Margaret Road.

The Anderson School Area trails have an easy grade though a pleasant wooded valley which leads into the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area. This portion of the wilderness does traverse private property so please respect property owners rights while enjoying these trails. Access can be found at 4808 Prospect Lane.

The Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area is a mix of ancient game trails, hunting trails and recent trails created by the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club. The paved Will Skelton Greenway is also included in this area connecting it to Ijams Nature Center and other natural surface trails. The trails provide challenges for multiple skill levels so be sure and check the level of difficulty before starting out. This is an active hunting area so be mindful during hunting season and dress appropriately. This area can be accessed at 3140 McClure Lane 5907 Burnett Creek Road.

Ijams Nature Center is a great place to explore!

Ijams Nature Center is a great place to explore!

Ijams Nature Center may be considered the crown jewel of the wilderness area. A long time Knoxville staple for outdoor education and experiences. Ijams’s boasts many miles of trail and regular programs and activities for its patrons. Keep check on HeySmokies.com daily events calendar for scheduled activities. Ijams Nature Center is located at 2915 Island Home Avenue.

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