Hit the Trails: A Man's Ideal Weekend

Hit the Trails: A Man's Ideal Weekend

Do you hear that…nature is calling? Go ahead and grab a few of your closest friends and head to Anderson County for an action packed weekend in our 80,000 acres of wilderness.

Day One: Go Off-Roading at Windrock Park

Windrock Park is the largest privately owned off-road recreation area in the country with over 72,000 acres. Trails are open seven days a week, 365 days of the year. Riding ATVs and Side-by-sides on the 300 plus miles of trails is the most popular activity to do at Windrock Park but there is also hiking and downhill and cross country biking trails. Special points of interest that you don’t want to miss are the windmill farm on Buffalo Mountain, the waterfall on trail 16 and rattle rock, the rock crawl course.

If you don’t already have an off-road vehicle, you can rent two seater, three seater and four seater side-by-sides from Windrock. Go to windrockpark.com for SXS rental information.


Windrock Shooting Range

There is no better way to wrap up the day than to shoot something. Head over to the Windrock Shooting Range’s 140 plus yard range where they have three pistol bays, a rifle bay, a shotgun bay and a 22lr shooting bay. If you don’t want to bring your own gun or if you want to try out a new one, their pro shop offers firearm rentals, to include full-auto and a 50 BMG.

Day Two: Trekking

Get ready to test your endurance by trekking up hills and through the valleys of East Tennessee. There are four areas in Anderson County where you can become one with nature

Haw Ridge-Situated on a scenic peninsula along the shores of the Clinch River with 30 plus miles of trails perfect for hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers. Be sure to get over to the back side of the property where you can enjoy five miles of shoreline. The Park closes one weekend in October, November and December for TWRA hunts. Check https://www.tn.gov/twra/hunting.html for dates

Norris Dam State Park-Located on the shorelines of Norris Lake and laying to the east and west of Norris Dam, the park offers 17 different trails with a total of 20 miles ranging from moderate to difficult. Most of the trails are for foot traffic only but there are some multi use trails for bikers too.

Norris Watershed-Adjacent to the east side of Norris Dam State Park, the watershed has just under 30 miles of moderate to strenuous trails of singletrack and old road trails for biking and foot traffic only trails. The Highpoint Trail connects with the lake loop at Norris Dam State Park. The trails dry quickly after inclement weather making this the place to go when other trails are soggy. The trails are on public land that is open to hunting, check https://www.tn.gov/twra/hunting.html for dates.

North Boundary Trail-Sixteen miles of singletrack and gravel paths pass through ridge-top woodlands, bluffs, and creek-side habitats showcasing a variety of wildlife and native plants as well as remnants of pre-Manhattan Project settlements. Parking is available at the guard house at the west end of the Oak Ridge turnpike. Trails drain well during wet weather conditions.


Day Three-Fishing or Touring???

If you are sticking around for longer than a weekend, you might want to consider adding a day of fishing. Anderson County has three major bodies of water that offer a variety of fishing adventures. Norris Lake is ideal for bass, crappie and striper fishing, the Clinch River is known nationally for trout fishing and Melton Hill Lake is the place to go for musky. We suggest going out with a guide if it is your first time visiting so that you will be sure to have a great day on the water.

Another option is heading up the road a little bit and tour Brushy Mountain Prison, the place that imprisoned the worst of the worst convicted criminals in Tennessee until it closed in 2009. Today, you can walk through D-Block the former Maximum Security Unit, step into the “hole”, see the cell that James Earl Ray lived out his remaining days and so much more. Oh and did we mention that there is a distillery on site and the Warden’s Table Restaurant.

Places to Eat

There are many locally owned and chain restaurants in Anderson County, but for this trip we recommend a couple of places that you don’t want to miss.

  • Big Ed’s Pizza-known far and wide for their great pizza and cool atmosphere. It is a local and visitor favorite.
  • Dean's Restaurant and Bakery-serves traditional Southern favorites with Appalachian roots.
  • The Other One Diner and Dive-a great place for lunch. Go just to find out the reason they have a burger called the Fat Boy. It is not why you think.
  • Aubrey’s Restaurant-their menu boast such items as their Fresh and Famous Strawberry Salad, Grilled Salmon Tacos, Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Blackened Rattlesnake Pasta
  • Clinch River Brewing-Kick back and relax in the beer garden with a creole inspired meal and a craft beer.

Where to Stay

The obvious place to stay is at Windrock Park. They have cabins for parties as small as two people to parties as large 18 people and a campground with primitive sites and sites with electric and water hookups. They even have yurts.

There are also a couple of other cabin rentals and campground options close by, which you can find out more information about at https://www.adventureanderson.com/lodging-adjacent...