New Year, new hiking goals! Whether you’re a day-hiker or an overnight hiker, a beginner or an advanced hiker, Anderson County, Tennessee has the trails for you. From adrenaline kicking hikes with stunning views to gentle paths lined with wildflowers, there’s a hike for almost everyone.
In addition to our trails, Anderson County’s mild year round temperatures, great lodging options and other fun area attractions make it the perfect weekend get-a-way.
We’ve highlighted a few great areas to hike and some areas just outside of Anderson County that offer great trails. Let’s get started planning your hiking weekend in Anderson County!
Where to Hike
Norris Dam State Park occupies more than 4,000 acres on the shores of Norris Lake and surrounds Norris Dam. The park offers fifteen different trails ranging in length and difficulty. There are trails suitable for the experienced hiker and trails for an easy family outing, so there’s really something for everyone. Norris Dam State Park does a great job rating the trails from easy to difficult, so we recommend visiting their website and doing a little research before hitting the trails. You can find everything you need here. The park is also bordered by the Norris Watershed that has an additional 30 miles of trails to hike, so you can spend an entire weekend exploring. While not in Anderson County, Loyston Point Trails and Big Ridge State Park are both located just a short drive from Norris Dam and also offer incredible hiking.
Norris Dam State Park just launched the "Norris Dam 87-Mile Challenge." The 87 comes for the 87th anniversary of Norris Dam. This healthy initiative encourages park visitors to get out and explore their park and public lands. Throughout 2023, participants are challenged to attend ranger-led hikes or simply enjoy the outdoors on their own time. In addition to hiking, the challenge includes horseback riding, mountain biking, or paddling on the trails and waterways at Norris Dam State Park, TVA Norris Dam trails, and Norris Watershed trails. You can download an activity log here.
One advantage to hiking Norris Dam State Park and Norris Watershed is you can stay right at the park! Norris Dam State Park has two campgrounds and a variety of cabins that will give you direct access to many of the trails.
There are also 7 hotels located right off of Interstate 75 with very close access to Norris Dam State Park and the Watershed. To see a complete list of hotels, visit our website.
Haw Ridge Park is a 780 acre park located in Oak Ridge that lies on the shores of Melton Hill Lake. The park has over 33 miles of wooded multi-use dirt trails. The trails accommodate all levels of hikers and provide many picturesque views. An easy trail to consider at Haw Ridge is the West Shore Loop Trail. This is a 1.2 mile loop that offers beautiful views of the Clinch River. A more difficult and longer trail to check out is the Haw Ridge Lake Trail. This is an 8.3 mile loop that is very popular among bird watchers and mountain bikers, so you’ll most likely encounter some other people on the trail.Haw Ridge also connects with the Melton Lake Greenway, which is a 5.7 mile paved trail that runs parallel with the lake, so if you’re looking for a relaxed walk with breathtaking views, this is the place for you.
While not in Anderson County, Frozen Head State Park, located within a short drive of Oak Ridge, offers great hiking. The park features over 50 miles of foot trails that meander by waterfalls, rock shelters and giant mountaintop cap rocks. A portion of the Cumberland Trail passes through the park.
Other area attractions to check out while you’re here:
The Museum of Appalachia is a pioneer village with 65 acres to roam and explore, including log cabins, barns, farm animals and 3 buildings full of unique artifacts. Be sure to check out their fabulous gift shop and restaurant too!
Historic Downtown Clinton is one of the largest antiquing districts in Tennessee, but if antiquing is not your thing, there are also multiple boutiques including artisan crafts, clothing, home décor and more. Downtown Clinton has a lot of great events, so be sure to check their website to see what’s happening.
Windrock Park has 73,000 acres and 350+ miles of off-roading trails to explore as well as a downhill mountain bike park, so if you’re an adventure seeker, it is definitely worth checking out. OHV rentals are available.
The American Museum of Science and Energy tells the story of the advances in science and engineering that have occurred in Oak Ridge since the first days of the Manhattan Project. Enjoy fun, interactive exhibits and programs.
To see more lodging options and other things to do in the area, visit our website at www.adventureanderson.com.