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If you are headed to OWAA’s annual conference in Knoxville, Tennessee, chances are you like to get outside. The good news is you won’t have to go far for adventure.
Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness features 1,000 acres of green goodness just five minutes from downtown.
The Urban Wilderness is an outdoor playground for adventurers of all ages and skill levels with 86 miles of greenway, 10 parks, 40 miles of recreational trails and four Civil War sites. The trail system features a variety of terrain from rocky outcrops to rolling fields and farmland.
To help you explore, check out the free South Loop Mobile Map app by visiting www.outdoorknoxville.com/urban-wilderness-mobile-trail-map. You can plan your route, pinpoint your position on the trails and track your trip in miles and elevation changes. The South Loop trail system crosses city, county, state and private land to connect parks, neighborhoods, schools and natural areas. It’s a perfect place for walkers, hikers, trail runners and mountain bikers to explore.
Much of the South Loop trail system is single-track and natural surface. Don’t worry if you don’t bring your bike; there’s places to rent, like at the Ijams Nature Center, ijams.org, where you can also jump on nine miles of beginner and intermediate bike trails weaving through woodlands and along the former quarry gorge. You’ll want to hop off the bike and explore the Ross Marble Quarry loop with unforgettable views from the rock bridge and below through the “keyhole.”
If you are more of a water person, there’s plenty for you to do, too. Ijams also rents canoes, paddleboards and kayaks to explore Mead’s Quarry Lake.
Interested in trying something new? Head over to the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center where local company Billy Lush has an active showroom for Tennessee-made longboards, skateboards and stand-up paddleboards. These boards are engineered by a group of locals who have a love for both surfboards and skateboards. Checkout the showroom, located on the river. Then rent a paddleboard or canoe to get on the water. Explore on your own or book a guided trip or lesson with the company. Check them out at billylushbrand.com.
Looking for more adventure? Turn the page. ♦