5 TRAILS TO CHECK OUT THIS FALL IN EAST TENNESSEE

5 TRAILS TO CHECK OUT THIS FALL IN EAST TENNESSEE

Nestled in the peaks and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains, Anderson County, in East Tennessee has the perfect terrain for hiking.

Hiking at Windrock Park The North Boundary Trail, in Oak Ridge, offers 15 miles of gravel and dirt trails. Some of the trails are actual roads and others are typical dirt trails. You may not want to tackle all 15 miles in one day but the trails are on the north ridge of Oak Ridge so you will have a great view of the area in any season. The North Boundary Trail is also a great place to go biking. Parking is available at the guard house at the west end of the Oak Ridge turnpike (GPS coordinates for parking area are 35.98024 -84.33457). If you go in the fall, please note that the area is closed for hunting one weekend in October, November, and December each year. It also closes several times in April for turkey hunting. You can call 865-574-9836 or visit http://web.ornl.gov/sci/rmal/hunts/index.shtml for the dates.

Norris Dam State Park is another great place to hit the trails in Anderson County. The trails offer beautiful views of the mountains and Norris Lake. There are 15 different trails to choose from in the park, but one of our favorites is the Lake View Trail. The trail is rated moderate to difficult and is 4.75 miles long. As the name suggests, the Lake View Trail offers breathtaking views of Norris Lake. Along the trail are remnants of old homesteads that once rested on the ridges before Norris Dam was built, so it's a great trail for history lovers as well. You can find a detailed map the park's trail system here.

If you are looking for more of an afternoon stroll, the Songbird Trail is a two mile loop that meanders along the Clinch River. It is a very easy, flat, gravel trail that offers great views of the river and Norris Dam. It is shaded and the water temperatures of the Clinch River make it a comfortable walk on a hot day. There are several different places to park along the trail.

Windrock Park is well known for their 300 plus miles of trails for off-roading but you might not know they also have a 1.9 mile hiking trail. The terrain is a little more moderate but the views are unbelievable. The trail head is located on the road to their campground located at 555 Windrock Park Lane in Oliver Springs. Be sure to pick up a permit from the campground or the general store.

The University of Tennessee Arboretum located in Oak Ridge offers over five miles of trails that are open year round. Bird and wildlife spotting is common during every season and you will see interpretive signage describing points of interests along most trails. We recommend hiking the 4.3 mile loop that is a fairly easy route. It is a popular route for hiking, trail running and walking. You will need to leave your furry legged friends at home for this one though because dogs are not permitted.