A Legacy Parks Treasure
Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area is part of the Knoxville Urban Wilderness, a recreational, cultural, and historic preservation initiative championed by Legacy Parks Foundation, incorporating 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.
Just south of Knoxville lies the scenic Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area. You can access the area from a cedar-lined dirt road off McClure Lane or come in by way of Ijams Nature Center on the Will Skelton Greenway. The greenway winds along with the Tennessee River to the east and the WMA fields to the west. Where the greenway terminates, the cross-country trails begin. The beauty of this area lies in it's diverse terrain comprised of hardwood forests, hedgerows and old fields — home to a variety of wildlife and songbird activity. Year-round you might catch glimpses of deer and turkey feeding in the open fields and woods. But be sure and mark your calendar for the annual sunflower display! The first few weeks of July find the fields carpeted with towering, bright yellow sunflowers. It's simply spectacular!
Forks of the River trails are part of Knoxville's Urban Wilderness. The South Loop trail is multi-use for the enjoyment of hikers and cyclists at all skill levels. The trail that runs along the Tennessee River and parallels the main South Loop trail, is considered very challenging. Most cyclists will feel the need to push up many of the hills. Hikers will certainly be challenged by the steep inclines and exhilarated by the views over the river atop high bluffs. Look for trail renovations to be completed by 2014 through a partnership among Legacy Parks Foundation, Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, and TWRA that aims to improve the user experience of this trail system. Kiosks, signs and blazes are being installed to help users navigate the trail system.
SOUTH LOOP MOBILE MAP APP
The new mobile app for the South Loop's 42-mile trail system allows you to pinpoint your exact location on the trails, to measure distances by “drawing” a line on the map, to record tracks and report how far you have traveled, and will give you an approximate estimate on the elevation you have gained or lost. Click here for instructions on adding The South Loop trail map onto your mobile device. Once the free app is downloaded, these simple step-by-step instructions will guide you through setup. After the map is downloaded to your mobile device, read the “Getting Started” section to learn about the various features available. This is a great resource for all who set out to explore Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness!
Hunting: Please be aware that the Wildlife Management Area is an active hunting area managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. Special conditions apply to this property and are listed below. This Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area is managed for hunting and habitat conservation by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. The TWRA works collaboratively with Legacy Parks Foundation, Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, and the Parks and Recreation departments of both the City and County of Knoxville to provide for non-motorized, recreational mixed-use within the WMA. Walking, running, and biking on the paved Will Skelton Greenway is permissible year-round. Be aware that hunting is allowed in the fields next to the greenway during legal hunting seasons. Walking, running, and biking is permitted on the unpaved trails with certain restrictions during hunting season. A complete list of regulations and more information about TWRA are available at http://www.tn.gov/twra/wildlife.html.
Hunting Dates for 2014-2015: The interior trails are closed to all non-hunters during the following times:
Sept. 6, 2014 through Feb. 28, 2015: all day on Tuesday and Thursday and before noon on Saturday and Sunday
April 4, 2015h through May 17, 2015: before noon every day
Note that the Will Skelton Greenway and perimeter trails (Augie’s Run, Bluff and southeast Dozer) remain open at all times.