Far out adventure in the heart of a thriving city. That’s what you’ll find in Knoxville. Located at the head of the Tennessee River, surrounded by rolling hills, lakes, and quarries, this city offers authentic outdoor adventure just minutes from a vibrant downtown.  

Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness is a spectacular thousand-acre outdoor adventure area where you can hike, bike, climb, paddle, or just wander in the woods – within the heart of the city. Over 50 miles of trails and greenways connect you to a beautiful nature center, pristine lakes, historic sites, dramatic quarries, adventure playgrounds, five city parks, and a 500-acre wildlife area. There’s an adventure for everyone! 

Launch your boat from downtown at Ned McWherter Park or Bicentennial Park and paddle down the Tennessee River.Get off the river at various points along the way to enjoy the greenways, trails, and playgrounds in the heart of the city. Spend the whole day at Concord Park. Less than half an hour from the city, you’ll feel worlds away. Paddle on Fort Loudoun Lake, swim off the beaches, and enjoy local music during the Summer Concert in the Park series.  

Stop at the Ijams Nature Center for a hike around the old Meads and Ross Marble Quarries, nature programs, rock climbing, and Navitat’s tree-based adventure park.

Look out for glimpses of blue heron and otters at Holston River Park as you paddle the Holston River, the longest tailwater in the Tennessee Valley. Get onto the historic French Broad River, the third oldest river in the world, at Seven Islands State Birding Park. Explore natural trails and inspiring views of the Smoky Mountains.

If you left your boat at home, head to Billy Lush Boards and Brews for a paddleboard, kayak, canoe, or hydro-bike rental. River Sport Outfitters has all the gear you may need while in Knoxville. Float down the river in one of their boats or ride a bike along the more than 85 miles of greenway in town.

Stay Awhile

Stay on the south side of the river for great food and brews or scoot back across the Gay Street bridge for an extensive offering of restaurants, breweries, roof top patios, and music venues located throughout Market Square and the Old City. Plan ahead for a Full Moon Paddle on the Tennessee River with Billy Lush Boards and Brews or take a ride with Knox Brew Tours to tap into Knoxville’s beer culture.

Knoxville is making quite a name for itself as a culinary and craft beer town. For a truly one of a kind experience, plan a trip to Pretentious Glass & Beer Co., a studio/brewery where you can enjoy hand-crafted beer in a hand-crafted glass and watch both created on-site.

Be prepared for some sort of festival or free music on Market Square while you’re in town and if you’re around on a Saturday, don’t miss the Market Square Farmer’s Market.

Ready? Go explore. Get away. It’s closer than you think. Choose your own adventure… in Knoxville.