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Knoxville's Urban Wilderness Featured

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A Legacy Parks Treasure
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.

Just three miles from downtown, Knoxville's Urban Wilderness presents a unique urban adventure playground for hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners! Over 50 miles of natural surface trails host a variety of outdoor activities for all skill levels. The South Loop Trail System offers 42-miles of easy to moderate natural surface trails on varying terrain. A signed 12.5-mile loop connects Ijams Nature Center, Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, Anderson School Trails, William Hastie Natural Area, and Marie Myers Park. The new Baker Creek Preserve has over 7.1 miles of trails ranging in difficulty from easy to downhill extreme. These trails connect to the rest of the Urban Wilderness by way of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across Redbud Road. Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness trails are signed with UW logos, tree blazes, and street stencils for convenient way-finding.

There are seven trailheads within the system that offer parking and kiosks with trail information. Restrooms and water are available at Ijams Nature Center and Mead’s Quarry, with more facilities to come. Plan ahead and be prepared! Legacy Parks offers a pocket map for the Trail System, which can be found at the Knoxville Visitors Center, the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center, and at many outdoor retailers in town.
Urban Wilderness South Loop Printable Map

URBAN WILDERNESS MOBILE MAP APP
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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KNOXVILLE URBAN WILDERNESS TRAILS

UW-arrow-65pxSOUTH LOOP ROUTE
  To follow the 12.5-mile South Loop route follow the UW logo, tree blazes, and street stencils.

ANDERSON SCHOOL TRAILS
Printable Map
The 8.2 miles of trails that begin at Anderson School descend through a wooded valley over an easy grade into the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area. The trails cross private property made accessible by easements granted by the landowners. Please respect the private property and stay on the trail. Please remember that Anderson School has students present during school hours. Limited parking is available during weekdays. Be sure to stay on the trail on school property. Trails rated easy to more difficult.

BAKER CREEK PRESERVE
Printable Map
Baker Creek Preserve's 100-acres of hills, valleys, and meadowland along Baker Creek features 7.1 miles of natural surface trails for the very young beginner to expert mountain bike adventurers. The entrance features a play area with a kids-only beginner loop, small pump track, and adventure play structures. Five multi-use trails of varying degrees of difficulty are for hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers. Three downhill mountain bike trails are one-way and for experienced riders only — no hiking or trail running is permitted on downhill trails. Baker Creek Preserve connects to the South Loop Trail System by way of a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across Redbud Road and to the Baker Creek Play Forest via the 0.1-mile Cherokee Trail across Taylor Road. ADA accessible parking is located along Taylor Road. Trails rated easy to extreme.
Note: Riding a mountain bike downhill or gravity trail is an extreme sport with riders at high speeds on steep slopes. These trails are one way (downhill) only. Proper experience and gear, including helmets, pads, and mouth guards, are recommended as the potential for crashes and injury is high.

FORKS OF THE RIVER WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA
Printable Map
The 8.4 miles of trail within the Wildlife Management Area are a mix of singletrack, dirt/gravel roads, and the paved Will Skelton Greenway. 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. Trails rated easy to more difficult.
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.

High Impact Habitat Conservation Permit: All trails used for bicycling in the WMA require this special use permit except the Will Skelton Greenway, Whaley Trail, and West Perimeter.
Hunting: TWRA regulations for hunting are as follows:
Sept 4 - Feb 28 - area closed to non-hunters until noon on Saturday and Sunday
April 1 - May 15 - area closed to non-hunters until noon
All animals accompanied by a non-hunting person are required to be leashed.
For questions about permits, land management or hunting regulations please visit tn.gov/twra or call TWRA at 1-800-332-0900
Note that the Will Skelton Greenway, Whaley Trail, and West Perimeter are open year-round. All other trails in the WMA are closed to non-hunters during these hunting seasons.

IJAMS NATURE CENTER / IJAMS QUARRIES
Printable Map
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 10 miles of multi-use trails that comprise the Ijams Quarry Trail System. Trails rated easy to more difficult.
Ijams Nature Center: This is a 300-acre greenspace featuring almost three miles of tranquil pedestrian-only trails that wind through undisturbed woods and across a wooden boardwalk over the Tennessee River. Trails connect to the Will Skelton Greenway and to the Ijams Quarries Trails.
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. A 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.

WILLIAM HASTIE NATURAL AREA / MARIE MYERS PARK
Printable Map
William Hastie Natural Area: Just a few miles from downtown, the trails at William Hastie Natural Area provide hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers with 6.4 miles of singletrack trail, combined with a few old roads. These beautiful trails weave through heavily forested property, and range from easy to moderate with a few technical sections, short hills, and switchbacks to navigate.
Marie Myers Park: This passive wooded all-natural park is preserved by the city as a public nature sanctuary. It is an integral connector for the Urban Wilderness, with a 1.8-mile flowing trail, which links the William Hastie Natural Area to the Ijams Quarries trails. Marie Myers also connects to Red Bud Crest trail, which leads to Baker Creek Preserve via a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over E. Red Bud Road
Note: There is no parking area for access to Marie Myers Park. Trails rated easy to more difficult.

Sycamore Loop at Baker Creek Preserve

 

TRAIL GUIDELINES
Riding any of the trails during wet conditions is damaging to the trails. Avoid riding when trails are wet.
Trails are natural surfaces with obstacles – use at your own risk
Obey all signs
Helmets are recommended for all riders – full face helmets are recommended for downhill trails -Pedestrians have right of way on multi-use trails – riders yield to pedestrians unless otherwise posted
Riders traveling downhill yield to uphill riders unless otherwise posted
Ride within your abilities – user assumes all risks
All pets must be leashed and under control
Leave no trace – stay on designated trails, avoid using wet trails, pack out your trash
Public restrooms and water are only available at Ijams Nature Center and Ijams Quarries
Sections of these trails cross private property and are marked “Private Land.” Please respect the generosity of these landowners who allow public access to their property by staying on designated trails

BICYCLISTS RULES OF THE TRAIL
Downhill riders yield to uphill riders, unless otherwise posted. Be considerate of novices and family groups.
Bikers yield to pedestrians unless otherwise posted. Call out "Rider Up" when approaching pedestrians or ring a bell for warning.
Portions of the trail may contain sections that exceed your skill level or posted difficulty rating. Cyclists should dismount and walk if necessary.

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