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Ijams Nature Center Trails

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A Legacy Parks Treasure
Ijams Nature Center is part of the Knoxville Urban Wilderness, 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.

Miles of diverse trails await you at Ijams Nature Center and Ijams Quarries. The tranquil trails at the Nature Center wind through undisturbed woods where wildflowers carpet the path and songbirds twill. Across the street, the rugged terrain that was once home to a post-industrial landscape, has been redesigned into almost 13 miles of multi-use trails that comprise the Quarry and Natural Area Trail System.

Ijams Nature Center: This 328-acre greenspace features almost 3 miles of tranquil pedestrian-only trails that wind through undisturbed woods and across a wooden boardwalk over the Tennessee River. The mature woodlands are home to a variety of wildlife and birds.Trails connect to the Will Skelton Greenway and to the Ijams Quarries Trails. Trails rated easy to moderate.

Ijams Quarries: Just south of Ijams, the 9.5 miles of Quarry trails wander around the old Meads and Ross Marble Quarries, The trails have been routed to enhance the distinctive features of this section — a sparkling quarry lake, unique rock formations, scenic overlooks, and rugged terrain. The trail winds through the “keyhole”, and over several easy bridge crossings. Trails made up of shale, soil, rock, and limestone remnants from the former quarries create a unique trail experience. The 1.3-mile hiking-only trail takes you past the historic Stanton Cemetery to an observation overlook at the top of the ridge which features expansive views of Mead’s Quarry Lake.

Ijams Nature Center, teamed up with Legacy Parks Foundation and the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club (AMBC), to developed a network of multi-use trails through the old hickory forest adjacent to the Ross Marble Natural Area. This section of trail is part of the South Loop of Knoxville's Urban Wilderness which connects to the following trail systems: Forks of the River; Anderson School Trails; William Hastie Natural Area; Marie Myers Park; and Baker Creek Preserve.

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

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Bikes, Kayaks, and SUP Rentals: Ijams Nature Center, partnered with River Sports Outfitters, offers seasonal bike rentals for use on the trails and greenway, and kayaks and standup paddleboards for the quarry. Personal boats are not permitted.

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!