Many people drive to the Smokey Mountains when they want to go hiking in Knoxville. While there are many beautiful trails in the National Park there are also some great trails less than 30 minutes from downtown Knoxville. Hiking with my family is one of my favorite activities. The trails listed below are just a few of our favorite places to hike in Knoxville.

  1. House Mountain
    We especially enjoy hiking in House Mountain because it is a short drive from downtown. There are 5.8 miles of moderately challenging trails. You will be rewarded with views of downtown and the Smokeys once you reach the highest point in Knox County. Most of the trails are shaded so this is a great hike to do on a sunny summer day.
    The entrance to this trail is at 9601 Hogskin Road. To access the trails take I-40 east to Rutledge Pike, exit #392, and turn right off the exit. Travel 10 miles then turn left on Idumea Road. Turn left on Hogskin Road and travel less than a mile and the park will be on your right.
  2. Ijams Nature Center
    This is a great place to take kids. In addition to exploring their 12 miles of hiking trails you can enjoy biking, kayaking, and paddle boarding at this park. Be sure to check the calendar of events on their website for many unique activities from fitness classes to guided hikes.
    The main entrance is located at 2915 Island Home Avenue. Take I-40 to James White Parkway and cross the river. Take Sevier Ave/Hillwood Drive exit and turn left onto Sevier Ave, which becomes Hillwood Drive. At the end of Hillwood, turn right onto Island Home Ave then take the first left to stay on Island Home Ave. Ijams will be one mile ahead on the left.
  3. Seven Islands State Birding Park
    While walking along the natural and paved trails you may encounter over 180 different species of birds. The last time we visited we saw a bald eagle flying over the French Broad River. This park offers beautiful views and flat, easy walking paths.
    The entrance is located at 289 Kelly Lane. Take exit 402, Midway Road from I-40 east and turn right. Pass Curtis Road and Smith School Road. Turn left onto Maples Road, right at Kodak, and then left onto Kelly Lane at the white Bethel Church.
  4. Melton Hill Park
    My family first discovered this park when my daughter ran a middle school cross-country race here. This beautiful park offers 3 miles of natural trails and a 0.5 mil paved loop. This park also offers boat launching areas into the Clinch River so it is a popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.
    The entrance is located at 3230 Williams Bend Road. Take I-40 to Pellissippi Parkway exit #376 towards Oak Ridge. Take the Hardin Valley exit and turn left. Go 2.1 miles and turn right onto Steele Road. Take the 1st left onto Sam Lee Road and stay straight onto Couch Mill Road. Stay right onto Williams Bend Road which dead ends at the park.
  5. Victor Ashe Park
    This park has paved and natural loop trials as well as four connections to different greenways. Additionally, this park offers a dog park and a disc golf course. This is a great option when you don’t want to drive too far from Knoxville for a wooded walking trail. It is located at 4901 Bradshaw Road. Take I-40 to I-640 and take the Western Avenue exit west. Turn right onto Copper Kettle St and then left onto Ball Camp Pike and go 0.6 miles. Turn right onto Bradshaw Road and the park will be on the left.

There are many other trails to explore in Knoxville. Be sure to check out for a full list of trails in and around Knoxville.