Knoxville's Hikes & Trails

From the ancient Appalachian vistas to cascading waterfalls, meandering rivers, lush forests, and the diverse wildlife that call it home, no matter where you are in Knoxville, nature is never too far away.

Whether you’re looking for a quick, strenuous sweat through a pocket of Knoxville’s extensive Urban Wilderness or an all-day excursion traversing the awe-inspiring landscape of the Smokies, Knoxville’s natural beauty is often best explored on foot. To help you navigate our state’s great outdoors, we’ve scouted Knoxville and Eastern Tennessee’s most beautiful hikes and trails for all treks – leisurely afternoon strolls without leaving the city limits, full-on adventures, and every excursion in between.



3.5 Mile Loop | Moderate to Difficult | After a large descent from Clingman’s Dome through the towering Fraser firs, this trail levels on a broad bridge, quickly going into a final ascension that opens up to Andrews Bald. Here you’ll have several acres of open grassy meadow from which to choose a picnic spot, or to simply take in the spectacular panoramic vistas and stunning views of Fontana Lake. Depending on the time of year, you might even discover patches of wild blackberries, raspberries and blooming bluets.



11 Mile Loop | Moderate | Embark on the entire loop around the broad lush valley of Cades Cove, exploring the many offshoot trails along the way. Horse, wild turkey, and black bear sightings are quite common! While some choose to drive the trail and appreciate the beauty from inside their car, we recommend trekking by foot. Closed to cars on Wednesdays.



8.3 Mile Loop | Moderate to Difficult | This lovely woodland path follows the Middle Prong of the Little River taking you through the former heart of the original bustling town of Tremont. Every step of the way you’ll be rewarded with beautiful sights from the waterfall known as Camp Prong Cascade and multiple scenic drops providing you a perfect picture of the Smokies. This hike is becoming increasingly popular so be prepared for crowds during peak season weekends!



11 Miles Out & Back | Difficult | From the evergreen forest and massive stone archways to the enormous cave and vista views, the variety of interesting sights make any huff-and-puff breaks well worth it. Whether you decide to turn around at Alum Cave or take the long journey to the top of Mt. LeConte, hikers can choose their own adventure while still experiencing the highlights of this iconic terrain. Just be sure to go on a clear day if possible so nothing interferes with the magnificent Smoky Mountain panoramas!



5.4 Miles Out & Back | Moderate | A rocky trail that increasingly gains in elevation rewards with picturesque views of Rainbow Falls, a broad waterfall in the Wailuku river. You’ll have a high chance of seeing rainbows if you visit earlier in the day! Can get crowded, so plan accordingly.



3.8 Miles Out & Back | Easy | Beautiful any time of the year, this quiet forest hike is a particular favorite during spring and early summer for the variety of colorful wildflowers that you’ll encounter along the way. This trail also features a variety of confusing diversions, so just be sure to know exactly where you’re going before you venture down any new route. But if you do, we highly recommend following the unmarked path toward Blowhole Cave where you can cool off mid-journey among the icy, refreshing air it emits.


Urban Wilderness trail featuring Ijams River Loop Trail.


Sequoyah Hills | 5.6 Miles Out & Back | Easy | Winding its way through the heart of Sequoyah Hills – a charming residential neighborhood known for its tree-lined streets and historic homes – this walking path is the ideal combination of natural beauty and urban charm. Well-maintained, gravel path, you’ll be treated to with scenic views of lush greenery, beautiful homes and glimpses of the Tennessee River.



Fort Higley | 2 Miles Out & Back | Easy | In addition to remnants of the Civil War stronghold of Fort Higley, the park’s elevated position adds a scenic touch via sweeping vistas that showcase the city’s skyline backdropped by the Smokies while also presenting an engaging challenge for those seeking an extra cardio boost.



Ijams Nature Center | 1.3 Mile Loop | Easy | This iconic trail meanders through the forest, following the Tennessee River via a series of elevated boardwalks boasting scenic views and interesting windows into the interesting rock formations along the way. It’s dog-friendly (on-leash) and a popular spot for year-round birding, hiking, and running.



Seven Islands State Birding Park | 2.2 Mile Loop | Moderate | Nestled along the banks of the French Broad River, this trail loop showcases the Seven Islands State Birding Park’s diverse ecosystems and abundant wildlife. The trail winds through a mix of hardwood forests, open fields, and wetlands, providing a rich tapestry of natural landscapes to explore.



William Hastie Natural Area | 6.3 Mile Network | Easy to Moderate | The well-designed network of trails meander through the William Hastie Park’s expansive grounds, presenting a mix of flat stretches and gentle inclines constantly rewarding you with glimpses of the surrounding hills and valleys plus a plethora of scenic overlooks to help make all those huff and puff breaks more picturesque.




House Mountain State Natural Area | 4.5 Mile Loop | Moderate to Difficult | While House Mountain offers a variety of trails, the astounding views from the highest point in Knox County make rock scrambling and navigating the steep, unmaintained sections of the full loop well worth the workout. We highly recommend starting with the Mountain Trail and timing your trip just right so you catch the sunrise over the Smokies.



Third Creek Greenway | 7.6 Miles Out & Back | Easy | A path with relatively flat terrain, making it easy to maintain a steady pace, both seasoned athletes and beginners will appreciate the ability to easily maintain a steady pace while having the option for more challenging interval training. You’ll also enjoy an abundance of wildlife from songbirds perched on branches overhead to the occasional deer grazing nearby.



Will Skelton Greenway | 6.8 Miles Out & Back | Easy | Meandering along the banks of the Tennessee River, Will Skelton Greenway provides a serene nature escape equipped with relatively flat terrain to accommodate each individuals goals and abilities. If you’re up for a longer adventure, you can even connect to other trails, such as the Third Creek Greenway or the Neyland Greenway.

Looking to relax post hike? Discover our local favorite watering holes.