Written By

Emilie Stooksbury

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Your Guide to Greenways

Knoxville is home to miles upon miles of greenways connecting all over the city. This city is essentially a biker, hiker, and runner’s dream – or, in our case, extreme amateur bikers, hikers, and runners 😆

Before we get too far into this, two things are helpful to know:

1.) Greenways are wide trails (often paved) free to use for full-on adventures, pleasant strolls, or – at their most functional – getting from one part of Knoxville to another. (We’re not kidding. You can find them in the north, south, east, west, downtown, and everywhere in between.)
Any greenway that doesn’t technically connect to another greenway uses sidewalks and bike lanes to supplement.

Now for the fun stuff: one of our favorite routes starts on the Third Creek Greenway.

We like to access the Third Creek Greenway in the Bearden neighborhood initially. You can start your greenway experience by parking in the shopping center near El Mezcal Mexican Restaurant, where Kingston Pike crosses Forest Park Blvd. You’ll see the paved trail running right beside the parking lot on the El Mezcal side. From here, you can run down Third Creek Greenway for a mile or so, experience the beautiful trees, hop over a cute bridge, and then run back – feeling quite good about yourself and ending your excursion with some chips and queso at El Mezcal (or go crazy and continue your run just a bit longer to end up across Kingston Pike at the Bearden Beer Market. Because you earned it, gosh darn it!).

Want to push yourself further, though? Keep going!

Third Creek Greenway will take you from Bearden to Fort Sanders, passing through Tyson Park and the UT veterinary campus. From there, you’ll hit Neyland Greenway. Neyland Greenway will lead you past the Thompson-Boling Arena and the famed Neyland Stadium before landing at Calhoun’s on The River. You’ve made it downtown, friends! You’ve specifically made it to the skinny but beautiful Volunteer Landing Park. Enjoy the Tennessee River views, or cool off from your run by heading out onto the river itself! You can do so by checking out the Knoxville Adventure Collective. Not only is that the one-stop shop for tons of information about Knoxville’s outdoor scene – you can also rent a paddle board or kayak on the spot. (We highly recommend renting a paddle board here because Tennessee River views of downtown just don’t quit.)

Want to push yourself further though? Keep going!

If you want to keep going, head to the big ole shoulder of James White Parkway to get to South Knoxville. From there, follow the signs to lead you to Ijams Nature Center. There are plenty of trails to explore from Ijams, or you can – you guessed it – keep going! 😆 Will Skelton Greenway can take you from Ijams all the way over to the Forks of the River Wildlife Management area. For a few weeks in the summer, a field of sunflowers makes its gorgeous debut – but if you miss it, don’t worry! This trail is full of beautiful nature and views of the river all year round.

If you are one of the expert athletes who’s explored all the way from El Mezcal in Bearden to the sunflowers in South Knoxville, we applaud you. Maybe hit up Trailhead Beer Market or Alliance Brewing in SoKno before starting the trek back west. But for us extreme amateurs there’s, you know, Uber 😉

Want to learn more? OutdoorKnoxville.com is a great resource to learn about the over 100 miles of greenways and Urban Wilderness in Knoxville!

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