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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, incorporates 1,000-forested acres along downtown’s south waterfront. It creates an exceptional recreation and historic corridor for experiencing the special character-defining assets of our city. There are currently over 50 miles of trail connecting multiple parks and cultural sites within the Urban Wilderness. The vision is to expand Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness to fully connect the recreational, cultural, and historic assets from Alcoa Highway on the west, to the Head of the Tennessee River at Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area on the east, and to I.C. King Park on the south. Legacy Parks invites people to support this vision by becoming a Friend of Legacy Parks at legacyparks.org/friend.

The 5.4 miles of trail within the Wildlife Management Area are a mix of singletrack and dirt/gravel roads. The South Loop route winds from Ijams 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. Forks of the River WMA is an active hunting ground and special regulations apply. Please refer to the onsite signage for details.

Note that there are 2 trailhead parking areas.
Burnett Creek Trailhead: Located at the southern edge of Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, this entrance will lead you through forests and fields that are home to an abundance of wildlife and songbird activity. This trailhead offers a close connection to the Anderson School trails.
McClure Lane Trailhead: The McClure Lane parking area directly links to the Will Skelton Greenway, which runs along the Tennessee River and connects with the natural surface trails that zig zag alongside the French Broad River. Mark your calendar for the July explosion of color when the sunflower fields are in bloom, aiming their bright yellow faces towards the sun.

The wildlife management area is opened to hunting as seasons apply.
YEAR-ROUND: The Perimeter Trails (Whaley Trail, West Perimeter and Will Skelton Greenway) are marked with red blaze and hiker/bike symbols and is open to all users. It does not require a High Impact Conservation Permit.
Sept. 1 – May 31: All interior areas and trails are open to licensed hunters only.
June 1 – August 31: Interior trails are open for all users. Bikers are required to have a High Impact Conservation Permit.
For questions about permits, land management or hunting regulations please visit tn.gov/twra or call TWRA at 800-332-0900.


UW-arrow-65pxTo follow the 12.5-mile South Loop route follow the UW logo, tree blazes, and street stencils.

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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