• Smoky Mountains

    20 Knoxville-Area Adventures to Do This Year

    Dust off your bike, synch up your harness, and blow up your inner tube, because warmer weather is on its way, and it’s time to get out and do stuff. You can get started with this list of 20 must-do adventures to take near Knoxville this year. 1. TRAIL RUN AT THE URBAN WILDERNESS  The Urban Wilderness Corridor is Knoxville’s pride and joy for outdoor recreation. Within its vast 1,000 acres of green space are miles upon miles of singletrack and double-track trails, connecting some of the city’s favorite parks with one another. For trail runners, it’s a dream come true, offering a quick, nearby run that feels a million…

  • Smoky Mountains

    Insider’s Guide to Camping in the Smokies

    Known as much for its majestic beauty as for the fact that it’s one of the biggest protected areas in the Eastern U.S. for black bears, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a revered place for campers to test their mettle while surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty. Encompassing more than 522,000 acres across Tennessee and North Carolina, with 16 mountain peaks exceeding 6,000 feet in elevation, the behemoth park is a naturalist’s playground. With 730 miles of fish-bearing streams, 850 miles of backcountry trails, more than 100 backcountry campsites, and 1,000 additional campsites on developed grounds, there is no shortage of things to do. Lodging in the Smokies If you…

  • Smoky Mountains

    4 Best Wildflower Hikes in the Smokies

    Every year, just before the trees leaf and the shrubs turn to blankets of green, the Smoky Mountains put on some of the best wildflower shows around. You can drive on I-40 cutting through the mountains and catch a glimpse of the splendor, but the real beauty comes on those long, winding hikes that lead to open meadows full of wildflowers and color-filled trees.While the blooming season is well underway, the best part about spring and summer in the Smokies is that you’re never really too late. Starting in late March the first glimpse of color speckles the hills and opens the door to more than 1,600 flowering species that…

  • Smoky Mountains

    7 Most Stunning Sunset Hikes Around Knoxville

    What better way to reward a vigorous effort on the trail—or up a summit—than by sitting back and soaking up the serenity of one of nature’s most beautiful shows? Fortunately, Knoxville has plenty of gorgeous sunset hikes right in its backyard. Whether you’re sticking close to town or venturing further afield, Knoxville is the perfect launching point for your next memorable stroll in the woods. Here are seven recommended sunset hikes in and around Knoxville that are sure to take your breath away. 1. HIGH GROUND PARK This historical landmark in South Knoxville boasts excellent views of the city and is known for its picturesque sunsets. Once the site of…

  • Smoky Mountains

    A Guide To Campfire Safety

    After two months of exceptional drought in 2017, forests across the Southeast were like a tinderbox.  “When the leaves started falling, we had no rain to wet them down,” said Tennessee State Park Ranger Stuart Carroll. “If we get periodic rain, the leaves capture the water and help the soil stay moist. But, this year, the rain just seemed to shut off, and we had this incredible load of leaves, limbs and brush.”  Due to lighting strikes and blazes started by people, hundreds of forest fires ignited the heavy load in November, burning 119,000 acres from Alabama to Virginia. In Gatlinburg, Tenn., fires claimed the lives of 14 people (at…

  • Smoky Mountains

    The 10 Best Hikes in the Smokies

    From the smoke-shrouded summit of LeConte and the open-armed expanses of Andrews Bald, down into the laurel laden hollows of Porters Creek and the historic homesteads of Cades Cove, it’s difficult to overstate the majesty of the Smokies. If anything, the grandeur can be overwhelming. With such a depth and breadth of wilderness to take in, it’s hard to know where to start. Have no fear. We introduced you to the general layout of the park with our Guide to the Smokies, and now we’re ready to dig a little deeper with our list of the best hikes in the Smokies. Any difficulty, any length, and in any season, we’ll…

  • Smoky Mountains

    15 Tennessee Hikes with Amazing Views

    There’s a reason we hike mountains. For some, it’s all about the journey and the challenge it presents. For others, it’s the reward at the end—the views. No matter what your reason for setting off into the mountains, we’ve put together a list of 15 great hikes with postcard-worthy views. From easy walks to tough climbs, we’ve got something for every style hiker, too. Check out this list and add one (or 15) to your Tennessee adventure bucket list. 1. Gorge Overlook and Woodland Trails at Fall Creek Falls State Park Distance: 2.9-mile loop  This loop is a relatively easy trek to the impressive Fall Creek Falls. While some of…

  • Smoky Mountains

    The Fascinating Story Behind Frozen Head State Park

    At first glance, Tennessee’s Frozen Head State Park might not seem so different from other natural areas in the Southeast: vivid wildflowers, an array of native birds, surging waterfalls, and misty mountain panoramas. There’s no doubt that it’s an exquisitely beautiful place. But if you extend your stay at the park, you might find yourself with the eerie feeling that there’s a little more at Frozen Head than meets the eye—and you’d be right.  In addition to its natural and largely undisturbed beauty, Frozen Head State Park has a chilling history that that includes a high-security prison, murderous manhunts, and a brutal and mysterious ultramarathon. With all but 330 acres…

  • Smoky Mountains

    6 Great Outdoor Date Ideas Around Knoxville

    Forget the cliché date night ideas: It’s not the old dinner-and-a-movie routine that’s going to make your next romantic outing a memorable one. For the active minded, why not try stretching your wings and experiencing something new with your significant other? Knoxville is packed with intimate outdoor experiences, and not all of them require you to break a sweat to enjoy. With such a variety of activities and scenic hideaways, there are plenty of destinations worth exploring with someone special when the love bug bites—or solo anytime. Picnic at the highest point in Knox County Less than a 30-minute drive northeast of Knoxville, the House Mountain State Natural Area makes…

  • Smoky Mountains

    Look Rock Trail – Hiking

    Difficulty: 1 Time To Complete: 1.0 hours Usually under an hour round trip. Distance: 1.0 miles Seasonality: Spring, Summer, Fall, and WinterYear-round, unless the parkway is closed due to inclement winter weather. There are wonderful views of the changing leaves in the fall. Dog Friendly: On Leash OnlyDestination Highlights: Quick Workout and Panoramic Views  The western segment of the Foothills Parkway has 18 miles of scenic views and overlooks, perfect for an afternoon drive, or as a shortcut from Chilhowee to Walland (or vice versa). Look Rock is a natural observation ledge at the halfway point along the parkway, and across from the parking lot is a .9-mile out-and-back paved trail that leads hikers…