OUTDOOR KNOXVILLE

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House Mountain Natural Area

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Only 30 minutes from downtown Knoxville, overlooks from the 2,100-foot crest of House Mountain scan the parallel ranges of the Unakas and Cumberlands some 30 miles away. The trails leading to Knox County's highest point are fairly steep through heavily wooded terrain dotted with impressive rock outcrops. Knoxville is fortunate to have such a rare combination of scenic and ecological values near a metropolitan area. On the summit, the Crest Trail stretches the length of the mountain from the West End Overlook to the East Overlook offering exceptional views. The West End Overlook presents views of the Cumberland Mountains to the north, the Smoky Mountains to the south, and a glimpse of downtown Knoxville on the horizon. The views from the East End Overlook feature the Clinch Mountain range which runs northeast all the way into Southwest Virginia.

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Bicycling: With the parking area as your base, road cyclists can head in either direction to enjoy the rolling, sometimes steep, backroads. Routes will wind along creeks, past rural farmlands, and glean views of the distant Clinch Mountains.

Bird-watching: House Mountain is a favorite place for birdwatchers. Migrating hawks and warblers can be observed from the mountain. Ruffed grouse, pileated woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, wild turkeys, and more than one hundred additional species of birds have been observed on the mountain.

Trails: The 5.8 miles of trail are moderate in difficulty as they climb to the crest. The two trails that lead to the summit, each about a mile long, winding up the hill on a series of switchbacks. In recent years, the Mountain Trail has suffered from severe erosion caused by hikers and trail runners taking shortcuts between the switchbacks. Crews have put up plastic snow fences along the West End Overlook Trail to discourage further trail cutting, and even though the fences are an eyesore, they've been reasonably effective. Work has begun to try to reroute the trail with less switchbacks. Hopefully, this will stop the erosion and stop users from short-cutting. Please be aware of the damage that this does to our trails and stay on the designated route!

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