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Forks of the River WMA Trails

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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. Featuring 50 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.

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. Users will be exhilarated by the views looking out over the river atop high bluffs. The trails here have been created over time by wildlife and hunters and more recently by the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club. There are multiple trails to experience within the WMA, all of varying degrees of difficulty, views and topography. The South Loop main route winds from the Ijams Nature Center and Quarry Trails along the paved Will Skelton Greenway skirting the Tennessee River and the fields of the WMA. The greenway ends at the woods edge and merges onto the singletrack Whaley Trail which snakes along the river to the Anderson School Trails. The WMA internal trails traverse through open fields, hardwood forests, and hedgerows — all home to an abundance of wildlife and songbird activity. Mark your calendar for the July explosion of color when the sunflower fields are in bloom, aiming their bright yellow faces towards the sun.

NOTE: Forks of the River Special Use Permit: All trails in the area that are used for bicycling require the High Impact Habitat Conservation Permit with the exceptiion of the Will Skelton Greenway, Whaley Trail, and West Perimeter. These trails are open year round. No hooved animal riding or motorized vehicles allowed. Information on the permit is available online at https://www.tn.gov/twra/article/special-use-permits-j1

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. TWRA regulations for Forks of the River WMA are as follows:

Forks of the River Hunting Seasons for 2016:
Note that the Will Skelton Greenway and Whaley Trail remain open at all times.
From Sept. 4 - Feb. 28, area closed to non-hunters except as noted. On Sat. and Sun., area closed to non-hunters until noon, except as noted. During Spring Turkey season (Apr. 1 - May 15), area closed to non-hunters till noon, except as noted.
Shotguns, Muzzleloader and Archery equipment only.
Area closed one hour after sunset to one hour before sunrise, except for raccoon and opossum hunters and scheduled events.
Paintball guns and accessories prohibited.
All animals accompanied by a non-hunting person are required to be leashed.

UW-arrow-65pxTo follow the 12.5-mile South Loop Trail look for the purple signs, tree blazes, or stencils on the road.

Urban Wilderness South Loop Printable Map

The mobile app for the Urban Wilderness 50-mile trail system allows you to pinpoint your exact location on the trails; measure distances by “drawing” a line on the map; record tracks and report how far you have traveled; and give you an approximate estimate on the elevation you have gained or lost. Click here for instructions on adding The Urban Wilderness 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! Mobile Map App includes the new trails at Baker Creek Preserve!

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