Explore Knoxville Greenspaces
Part of what makes Knoxville so special is its unique and abundant greenspace, or land set aside for nature in relatively urban environments. Urban greenspaces are extremely important for cities and can help reduce the urban heat island effect, improve ecosystems and biodiversity, and regulate stormwater management. Not only do greenspaces benefit our environment, but they also have been shown to improve human health and well being.
So, what we're saying is... get outside and appreciate our greenspaces! Read below for some of our favorite greenspaces around Knoxville, and go explore this spring and summer! Keep our greenspaces green by following the seven principles of Leave No Trace.
2915 Island Home Blvd
There is always something to do at Ijams Nature Center. With more than 12 miles of trails and over 315 acres of land, this huge greenspace offers kayaking, hiking, biking, climbing, and tons of events. Check out their event calendar for outdoor movie nights, adventure trips, creative workshops, and more! See Knoxville's Urban Wilderness Map to connect to other urban wilderness areas from Ijams.
3700 Lancaster Dr
If you like mountain biking, you will love Baker Creek Preserve! This 100-acre preserve has eight miles of trails including three downhill mountain biking trails, plus bike pump tracks and skills courses (even for the kiddos!). If biking isn't your thing, explore Baker Creek's multi-use trails on foot. The parking lot at Baker Creek is a popular trailhead for those wanting to connect to other urban wildnerness areas like Marie Myers Park and William Hastie Natural Area.
3140 McClure Ln
Forks of the River WMA is a hunting area where the Holston and French Broad Rivers form the Tennessee River. Although much of the space is used for hunting and restricted to those with a high impact user permit, the perimeter trails (Will Skeleton Greenway, Whaley Trail, and West Perimeter Trail) are open year-round to all visitors. The area is most busy in July when visitors come to see the sunflower fields in full bloom. Read more about the sunflowers in this New2Knox article.
5930 Lyons View Pike
There's a reason Lakeshore Park is the most visited park in Knoxville! This 185-acre park is located along the Tennessee River with beautiful views of the Smokies. Enjoy Lakeshore Park's paved walking trails, large lawn spaces, soccer and baseball fields, and more. It is undergoing construction to add more sport complexes and event lawns but is still open to the public.
1044 Cherokee Trail
Also known as The Bluffs, the River Bluff Wildlife Area overlooks Downtown Knoxville from bluffs over the Tennessee River. Take a short hike to check out the overlook and enjoy the views with a picnic.
329 Sharp's Ridge Memorial Dr
Sharp’s Ridge Veterans Memorial Park is a beautiful green space in North Knoxville with views of Downtown Knoxville and the surrounding mountains. Visit Sharp's Ridge for hiking, mountain biking, birding, and picnicking.
2743 Wimpole Ave B
The Knoxville Botanical Garden and Arboretum is a gem just a few minutes from downtown in East Knoxville. The 47-acre space features several different gardens including a pollinator garden, children's garden, dogwood garden, and a wheelchair-accessible garden. View their map to take a stroll through the garden's diverse plant species and unique stone structures.
3440 Alcoa Hwy / 2625 Maryville Pk
I.C. King Park in South Knoxville features 8 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails, a dog park, and a boat ramp that connects to the Tennessee River. The 230-acre park has expanded in recent years and is expected to expand more around the Maryville Pike entrance.
10909 S Northshore Dr / 11808 S Northshore Dr
Concord Park in West Knoxville has both paved and natural trails for walking, biking, and running, spanning 500 acres with various parking locations along South Northshore Drive. Visit The Cove at Concord for walking trails, beach volleyball, a swimming area, and paddleboard and kayak rentals at Lake Loudon. Connect to greenways to explore more of West Knoxville.
We've just named a handful of Knoxville's greenspaces, but there are so many to enjoy! Visit UT Gardens for a walk close to campus, check out these lists of city and county parks around Knoxville, and venture out a little bit further to Seven Islands State Birding Park or House Mountain State Natural Area if you want to explore more! Be sure to leave our greenspaces better than you find them to take care of our planet and home.