Trail Recommendations for Reach for the Peaks Virtual Hike
Plan to join us as we “Reach for the Peaks” to celebrate 109 years of Girl Scouts and raise money to support the leadership development of young girls in our communities.
From March 6 – 14, get outside and hike or walk 3.12 miles in honor of our birthday, March 12. You can also set your own distance goal or donate as a ghost hiker.
If you need help deciding where to hike or walk, our outdoor friends
have you covered!
Where to hike near Tri-Cities:
Thank you to the Mid-Appalachian Highlands Club for providing the following recommendations:
- Bays Mountain in Kingsport, TN is a 3550-acre nature park and planetarium offering over 40 miles of beautiful hiking trails.
- Steele Creek Park in Bristol, TN provides trails and much more to do, such as playgrounds and a Nature Center.
- Tweetsie Trail is a rail-to-trail route connecting Johnson City, TN and Elizabethton, TN.
- Virginia Creeper is a rail-to-trail route connecting Abingdon, VA and Damascus, VA.
- Mendota Trail is a rail-to-trail route in Bristol, VA.
- Guest River Gorge is a rail-to-trail route in Coeburn, VA.
- Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork Park near Flag Pond, TN offers 2,076 acres of scenic wilderness to hike through.
- Warriors’ Path is a 950-acre park located on the shores of the Holston River near Kingsport, TN.
- Roan Mountain State Park in Roan Mountain, TN provides hiking offers hiking trails with beautiful views.
Tunnel State Park in Duffield, VA that offers trails to hike
and caves to tour.
Where to hike near Chattanooga:
Thank you Outdoor Chattanooga for providing the following recommendations:
- The Tennessee Riverpark is convenient to downtown, follows the Tennessee River and is a great family-friendly walking and hiking location.
- Moccasin Bend has a three-mile loop trail called the Blue Blazes Trail that would be great for the whole family to explore close to downtown.
- The Guild Trail on Lookout Mountain is a wide, crushed gravel trail with a gradual ascent up the mountain and cool views of the river and city.
- South Chickamauga Creek Greenway at Sterchi Farm Park is a paved pathway that follows along the creek.
- Camp Jordan Park in East Ridge is a paved pathway that loops the entire park with creek views, wooded sections and open fields.
- The Greenway Farms Park in Hixson is a lovely city park to explore with a variety of trails, open fields, a creek and a quarry.
- Enterprise South Nature Park is a beautiful county park with a variety of hiking trails, many of which are beginner and family friendly.
- Booker T. Washington State Park has some moderate hiking trails and beautiful views of the lake.
- Harrison Bay State Park has a 4.5-mile loop trail that is relatively easy and flat with great views of the lake.
- Big Soddy Creek Gulf is a flat and wide gravel trail that follows the creek and passes a waterfall with plenty of picnic areas along the way.
- Audubon Acres and Reflection Riding Nature Center require a day pass or donation to the property to hike, but both are worth the admission and help conservation.
Where to hike near Knoxville:
Thank you Reach for the Peaks honorary hiker Missy Kane for providing the following recommendations:
- Ijams Nature Center offers breathtaking scenery on 12+ miles of trails.
- Urban Wilderness offers a variety of fun trails to walk or hike near downtown.
- Concord Trails in West Knoxville includes a trail loop that takes you right by Fort Loudon Lake.
- The Cove at Concord Park in West Knoxville includes paved trails, picnic areas and a playground.
- I.C. King Park off Route 129 offers 8.25 miles of trails.
- Norris Dam State Park offers beautiful views of Norris Lake while hiking.
- Song Bird Trail is a 2.5-mile loop near Norris Lake.
- Old Sugarlands Trail in Gatlinburg is a quiet forest trail with historical ruins along the way.
- Big Ridge State Park has a three-mile loop that takes you over water.
- Consauga Falls outside of Tellico Plains is a short hike with a beautiful waterfall.
Thank you Outdoor Knoxville for providing the following recommendations:
Lake Shore Loop
For a beautiful hike in west Knoxville, park at the Concord Dog Park to access the Lake Shore Loop trail at Concord Park East. The 1.5-mile trail makes a scenic loop along the water of Fort Loudon Lake. The trail is rooty and rocky so watch your step! To meet the goal of 3.12 miles, add the Orient Loop for a total hike of 3.3 miles. With the proximity to the dog park, expect to encounter a furry friend or two on this trail!
Hike up House Mountain and conquer Knox County’s highest peak! The moderately difficult trail gives a sense of adventure and long-range views without having to drive to the Smokies. Combine the West Overlook Trail, Crest Trail, and Mountain Trail to complete a 3.3-mile loop that will take about 2.5 hours. Enjoy beautiful views of the farmland below while you find a rock outcropping to picnic on. Just remember, leave no trace, and pack out your garbage!
Trail to the Key Hole
This hike has become a classic to those who frequent Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. Begin at Mead’s Quarry on the Imery’s Trail, which will lead you about 1.1 miles to the Key Hole - an old stack of giant limestone pieces left over from the historic mining operations on the property. Just through the Key Hole, you’ll find all sorts of natural wonders including an underground creek! When you are back at the quarry, you can do the 1.0-mile Tharp’s Trace trail to bring your total to 3.2 miles!
Visit the Dogwood Community Trail in the Mac Post Arboretum behind Dogwood Elementary in south Knoxville for a kid-focused educational trail. The half-mile hike includes labeled tree species, educational signage, and exploratory areas like the Tree Cookies – turn over these log rounds to find interesting creatures in the soil! This short and easy hike is very interactive for kids, and the public entrance is located just past Dogwood Elementary on Gerson Drive.
Eight miles of trail loop around the lake and ridges of I.C. King Park. You can park at the main entrance to do the 1.7-mile Lake Loop and add the nearby Upper and Lower Beginner Trail to add another 1.3-mile loop. You can also park at the IC King Dog Park to play on the playground and hike the connector trail into the main trail system for a longer hike.
Just north of Downtown Knoxville, Sharp’s Ridge offers 4.7 miles of trail winding through the wooded hills, great views of the city skyline and distant mountain peaks from the overlooks, and a new all-access trail and playground. You can start at the top and hike down the 1.2-mile Independence Trail to the new playground for an easier hike, just be aware of possible mountain bikers on this multi-use trail. You can also park at the bottom and do a loop of the trail for a moderately difficult 2.4-mile hike.
Islands State Birding Park
Seven Islands is a beautiful 416-acre wildlife refuge nestled along the French Broad River with 8+ miles of natural trails along rolling hills of old farmland. With views of the Smoky Mountains from the crest trail, excellent birdwatching with over 190 species, and fields of wildflowers and native grasses, Seven Islands is full of natural beauty. Take the Bobwhite ADA Trail from the park entrance at the Bluebird Barn and take the pedestrian bridge over the river to do the Island Loop Trail for a 2.5-mile round trip. On your way back to the car from the island, add the Seven Islands Loop Trail for an additional mile to make a 3.5-mile round trip.