If you have a habit of packing away your hiking boots the moment cooler temperatures arrive, you’ve been missing out. Winter transforms the trails in Anderson County. Leaves clear out, views open up and you can walk for miles without seeing another soul. With mild winter temperatures here in East Tennessee, it really is the perfect time to hit the trails.
Some of our favorite trails are at Norris Dam State Park. There is a variety of trails from walking trails to extreme uphill trails that will entice the hardcore trail runner. They also have some of the best views of the Cumberland Mountains and Norris Lake. There are 15 different trails ranging from a ½ mile to five miles. For a moderate to difficult trail, we recommend Lake View Trail. This 4.75 mile trail provides gorgeous views of Norris Lake and along the trail are remnants of old homesteads that once rested on the ridges before Norris Dam was built. You can find a detailed map of the park’s trails at http://tnstateparks.com/assets/pdf/additional-content/park-maps/02-nd.jpg?v=1469642185.
Haw Ridge is a 780-acre park situated on a scenic peninsula along the Clinch River in Oak Ridge. With more than 30 miles of trails to explore, it’s perfect for hiking and even mountain biking. Geocachers will also discover plenty of bounty scattered throughout Haw Ridge Park’s lush trails. If you’re looking for a long hike to take in all that Haw Ridge has to offer, check out the Haw Ridge Lake Trail. It’s an 8.3 mile loop, rated moderate and offers great views of the Clinch River and different areas of the park.
The Norris Watershed is another popular area among hikers. The watershed is adjacent to Norris Dam State Park and has over 30 miles of trails. You are guaranteed to find a trail that accommodates what you’re looking for. For more information and to see a list of trails, click here. One trail we think is worth checking out is Lower Clear Creek Trail. Along this 2.5 mile hike, you will enjoy more historic sites than any other trail in the watershed. This is a favorite among hikers, as well as history lovers.
The UT Arboretum in Oak Ridge offers over five miles of trails that are open year round. Bird and wildlife spotting is common during every season and holly berries abound during the holidays. The trails offer a wide variation in length and difficulty, so you can enjoy a casual stroll to a more serious hike. You will also see interpretive signs describing points of interest along the way. To see a complete list and description of the trails, click here.
Keep in mind, some areas may have times of closure for hunting, so be sure to check before planning your hikes.
For other things to do in Anderson County, please visit our website at www.adventureanderson.com.