There’s more to explore: Climbing, fishing, hiking and world-class whitewater beckons

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Pick your favorite activity and you can likely do it in Knoxville, Tennessee. Hikers, bikers, climbers, paddlers and fishermen and women will all find exceptional adventures. Read on and start planning what you want to see and do in Knoxville.
Lakes, rivers and right out the front door — that’s the kind of fishing Knoxville offers.
A waterfront city there’s parks with shoreline, piers and boat ramps providing easy access to reservoirs, lakes and ponds and the bluegill, catfish, crappie and bass that live within.
Within the Cherokee National Forest there are approximately 625 miles of streams where trout naturally reproduce. The nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park has an additional 220 miles of wild trout water where you can find brook, rainbow and brown trout. Trout are so abundant in these waters that stocking isn’t needed.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Less than an hour’s drive away lies a labyrinth of trails appeasing the recreational and the long-distance hikers. More than 800 miles of scenic trails weave through Great Smoky Mountains National Park, ranging from short leg-stretchers to strenuous treks and there’s plenty of places to camp if you want to spend a few days in the park. The park trails are well-maintained, signed and easy to navigate for day hikes and extended backpacking trips. Hikes will take you to waterfalls, fire towers and balds — large meadows at higher elevations perfect for picnics.
Whitewater paddling
Surrounded by exceptional whitewater, Knoxville is regarded as one of the best paddling towns in the country. To the north and west are the Obed Wild and Scenic River area and the Big South Fork National River, both protected,  free-flowing rivers offering excellent whitewater paddling. South and east of Knoxville, rivers run through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest. These classic mountain streams rely primarily on winter and spring rains to raise water levels enough for paddling while the dam-released Ocoee, Hiwassee, and Pigeon Rivers provide whitewater during the summer months long after most free-flowing rivers have slowed to a trickle.
Rock climbing
Knoxville is sandwiched between Kentucky’s famous Red River Gorge and the up to 1,000-foot formations of North Carolina, making it the perfect hub with more than 5,000 routes within a three-hour drive.
But you don’t need to go even that far. One of the most popular local spots is the Obed Wild and Scenic River area where you’ll find sandstone cliffs 300-feet tall and bullet hard with formations ranging from pockets to cracks to gigantic ledges and the tiered roofs the area is especially known for. Those roofs provide shade that allows year round climbing and athletic tests of strength and flexibility. There’s also a boulder field featuring entry level problems up to micro-crimping V12s, as well as several unfinished routes. While a pad is not absolutely necessary on all of the problems, they are recommended for some of the highballs and corridor climbs.
Singletrack, doubletrack, or old roadbeds — any natural surface trail that winds through woods or open fields beckons fat tire enthusiasts. Whether you prefer to ride flat and easy or tight and twisty or somewhere in between, Knoxville has trails for your enjoyment within the city and miles more just outside.
Knoxville also offers an almost endless ribbon of scenic country roads that are relatively traffic free, meander through canopied woods, skirt open farmland and are perfect for road biking. Expect some hills no matter which of the many routes you decide to take. Local shops offer guide books, maps and bike rentals. ♦
— Information from Outdoor Knoxville. For more visit
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