Being merry, healthy not mutually exclusive

Carol EvansFun Outdoors

The year is winding down, but you still have time to enjoy the Holiday Festival of Lights at the Cove. Don’t miss this appealing, county-sponsored event.


Friday, Dec. 21

Astronomy from the Tower: 5:30 p.m., Frozen Head State Park at Shelter C. Cost $15. Info: Frozen Head State Park at 423-346-3318. See the winter constellations in full splendor as you join park rangers and explore the wonders of the stars from the top of Frozen Head Mountain. Dress for high winds and extreme temperatures, as we ascend the fire tower and receive an unobstructed view of the night sky. Meet at the Park Visitor Center for a shuttle. Must register in advance. Tickets are $15 per person for a maximum of eight participants.

Campfire Storytelling: 6 p.m., Big Ridge State Park. Cost $1. Info: Big Ridge State Park at 865-992-5523. Storytelling by Ranger Derek Wilson by a campfire. Meet at the swim beach just past the park’s office.

Friday Fun Run: 6:30 p.m., Pour Taproom. Free. Info: 865 Running. Run 3 miles downtown, World’s Fair Park and river walk. Then drinks with 10 percent off! All levels welcome.

Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Recreation at 865-215-6600. Walk along the illuminated greenway, which features a sparkling light display coordinated to music and a number of fire pits. Third Creek Coffee will be onsite each night with hot drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, and holiday snacks, like cookies, cakes and the ingredients for s’mores. Knox County will collect nonperishable food items for The Love Kitchen.

Saturday, Dec. 22

Bike Zoo Saturday Ride: 9 a.m., Bike Zoo. Free. Info: Bike Zoo at 865-558-8455. 3-hour ride of 50+ miles at a fast pace of 18/20 mph. Weather permitting.

2nd Annual Chimney Tops Reindeer “Crawl”: 9 a.m., Sugarlands Visitor Center GSMNP. Free. Info: Little River Trading Co. at 865-681-4141. Make like a “rein”deer and scramble your way up to the Chimney Tops. Join us for our second annual themed hike to celebrate the Holiday Season. Feel free to come dressed festive and merry! Moderate 3.3-mile hike. RSVP required. Sign up by emailing Trip Leader Dolphin Riggs at Dolphin@littlerivertradingco.com.

Hike Concord Park: 9:30 a.m., Concord Park. Free. Info: Smoky Mountain Hiking Club. Leader: Tim Bigelow. With the holidays here, let’s do an easy local hike to keep fit, get outside and burn off a few holiday calories. We’ll pick a loop of about 7 miles in Concord Park East, along Fort Loudoun Lake and in the winter woods. Meet at the trailhead near the Concord Park Dog Park. Rated easy.

Nature Hike: 10 a.m., Panther Creek State Park at the Horse Trailer Parking Lot. Info: Panther Creek State Park at 423-587-7046. Want to get a head start on those New Year’s resolutions? Come out and join Ranger Jammie on the Old Farm Trails. We will look for signs of the old farms and see what kinds of animals are out and about in the morning. Remember to dress for the cold, and wear sturdy shoes.

Intro and Basics of Framing Photographs: 1 p.m., Frozen Head State Park at Branch Trailhead. Cost $5. Info: Frozen Head State Park at 423-346-3318. Are your photos falling flat? Would you like to learn to make your pictures pop? Join Ranger Brady at the Panther Branch Trailhead for a brief introduction and overview of framing your photographs and then a hike to Debord Falls to practice what we learned. Bring your camera – a cell phone with a camera will do, too.

Campfire Desserts: 5:30 p.m., Frozen Head State Park. Cost $5. Info: Frozen Head State Park at 423-346-3318. Join Ranger Kayley for a delicious sweet treat created over the campfire. All materials will be provided. Meet at the stage area across from the Visitor’s Center. Must register online in advance for this program.

Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Recreation at 865-215-6600. Walk along the illuminated greenway, which features a sparkling light display coordinated to music and a number of fire pits. Third Creek Coffee will be onsite each night with hot drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, and holiday snacks, like cookies, cakes and the ingredients for s’mores. Knox County will collect nonperishable food items for The Love Kitchen.

Sunday, Dec. 23

Intro to Climbing: 1 p.m., Onsight Rock Gym. Info: Onsight Rock Gym at 865-888-9123. Learn the basics of top rope belaying, knot tying, and climbing technique in this hands-on class. Designed for those with no previous climbing experience, this course teaches the necessary skills required to climb independently.

Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Recreation at 865-215-6600. Walk along the illuminated greenway, which features a sparkling light display coordinated to music and a number of fire pits. Third Creek Coffee will be onsite each night with hot drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, and holiday snacks, like cookies, cakes and the ingredients for s’mores. Knox County will collect nonperishable food items for The Love Kitchen.

Yoga for Climbers: 7 p.m., River Sports Outfitters. Cost $8. Info: River Sports Outfitters at 865-523-0066. Join us for yoga every Sunday. Participants will receive a 20 percent off PrAna & Lole card.

Monday, Dec. 24

KTC Group Run: 6 p.m., Balter Beerworks. Free. Info: Knoxville Track Club. Monday evening social pace group run; afterward, stick around for a discounted beer.

South Knox Fun Run: 6:30 p.m., Alliance Brewing Company. Free. 865 Running. Social pace 3ish-mile run. come back for $1 beers. All levels are welcome.

Bearden Beer Market Fun Run: 6:30 p.m., Bearden Beer Market. Free. Info: Bearden Beer Market at 865-851-8922. Group Fun Run through the neighborhood. Open to all levels of walkers and runners followed by $1 off all pints.

Group Run Alcoa/Maryville Greenway: 6:30 p.m., Bike N’Tri in Maryville. Free. Info: Bike N’Tri at 615-944-1729. Group run on the Alcoa/Maryville Greenway. All levels welcome.

Wednesday, Dec. 26

Birding with Friends: 8 a.m., Seven Islands State Birding Park. Free. Info: Seven Islands State Birding Park at 715-630-6848. Join us for an early-morning birding hike, identifying by sight and sound the birds of Seven Islands. Come prepared with good walking shoes, water, field guides and binoculars. All levels of experience welcome. Leaders: Kirk Huffstater kihu63@gmail.com  and Mindy Fawver mindyfawver@gmail.com

After Christmas Hike: 2:30 p.m., Norris Dam State Park at West Campground Dump Station. Free. Info: Norris Dam State Park at 865-426-7461. Join Ranger Trent for a hike on Elkins loop Trail. The trail is 2.25 miles and is rated moderate/difficult. Make sure to dress for the weather, bring water and wear good hiking shoes.

KTC Group Run: 5:30 p.m., Runners Market Bearden. Free. Info: Knoxville Track Club. Wednesday evening social pace group run. All paces welcome. Distance options vary. Grab a beer with some good folks afterward.

Climbing Fundamentals: 6 p.m., River Sports Outfitters. Info: River Sports Outfitters at 865-523-0066. Come learn the basics of climbing every second and fourth Wednesday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m. Space is limited; call to reserve your spot.

Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Recreation at 865-215-6600. Walk along the illuminated greenway, which features a sparkling light display coordinated to music and a number of fire pits. Third Creek Coffee will be onsite each night with hot drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, and holiday snacks, like cookies, cakes and the ingredients for s’mores. Knox County will collect nonperishable food items for The Love Kitchen.

Night Gravel Grinder Ride: 6:30 p.m., North Boundary Trails. Free. Info: Knoxville Bicycle Company at 865-240-3499. Very casual pace about 11 miles, just for fun. Night Gravel Grinder ride: Bring your Cross, Gravel or MTB. Two levels of riding, “A” and “B.” Bring lights. Regroups as necessary.

Thursday, Dec. 27

Tuesday A & B Group Ride: 10 a.m., Cycology Bicycles. Free. Info: Cycology Bicycles at 865-681-4183. A Group ride is usually a 40+ miles at 20+ average pace. This group is for advanced riders with good pace line skills. B Group ride is a “No Drop” ride (15-18 mph) 35-45 miles. Must have general skills to ride roads with car traffic. If weather is questionable, call shop to confirm.

Tellico Blockhouse Tour: 1 p.m., Tellico Blockhouse. Free. Info: Fort Loudoun State Historic Park at 423-420-2331. Join us for this mile-long walk around the ruins of the Tellico Blockhouse. This ranger-led walk will look at the significance of the site in the annuals of U.S. history and explore archaeology to paint a picture of its existence. Rain or shine.

North Knox Beer Runners: 6 p.m., Central Flats and Taps. Free. Info: North Knox Beer Runners. Fun and easy run through North Knox and Happy Holler. Don’t forget lights and reflective gear.

Fleet Feet Sports Open Group Run/Walk: 6 p.m., Fleet Feet Sports. Free. Info: Fleet Feet Sports at 865-675-3338. Our 30- to 60-minute route varies week by week in the various neighborhoods and greenways around the store. All levels welcome.

Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Recreation at 865-215-6600. Walk along the illuminated greenway, which features a sparkling light display coordinated to music and a number of fire pits. Third Creek Coffee will be onsite each night with hot drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, and holiday snacks, like cookies, cakes and the ingredients for s’mores. Knox County will collect nonperishable food items for The Love Kitchen.

Friday, Dec. 28

Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Recreation at 865-215-6600. Walk along the illuminated greenway, which features a sparkling light display coordinated to music and a number of fire pits. Third Creek Coffee will be onsite each night with hot drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, and holiday snacks, like cookies, cakes and the ingredients for s’mores. Knox County will collect nonperishable food items for The Love Kitchen.

Friday Fun Run: 6:30 p.m., Pour Taproom. Free. 865 Running. Run 3 miles downtown, World’s Fair Park and river walk. Then drinks with 10 percent off. All levels welcome.

Saturday, Dec. 29

Bike Zoo Saturday Ride: 9 a.m., Bike Zoo. Free. Info: Bike Zoo at 865-558-8455. 3-hour ride of 50+ miles at a fast pace of 18/20 mph. Weather permitting!

Let’s Take a Walk: 10 a.m., Cove Lake State Park. Cost $3. Info: Cove Lake State Park at 423-566-9701. Join Ranger Roby to take a walk and see what wildlife is moving around the park. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served after the walk. Dress for cold-weather walking. Meet at the Recreation Building parking lot.

Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Recreation at 865-215-6600. Walk along the illuminated greenway, which features a sparkling light display coordinated to music and a number of fire pits. Third Creek Coffee will be onsite each night with hot drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, and holiday snacks, like cookies, cakes and the ingredients for s’mores. Knox County will collect nonperishable food items for The Love Kitchen.

Sunday, Dec. 30

Intro to Climbing: 1 p.m., Onsight Rock Gym. Info: Onsight Rock Gym at 865-888-9123. Learn the basics of top rope belaying, knot tying and climbing technique in this hands-on class. Designed for those with no previous climbing experience, this course teaches the necessary skills required to climb independently.

Yoga for Climbers: 7 p.m., River Sports Outfitters. Cost $8. Info: River Sports Outfitters at 865-523-0066. Join us for yoga every Sunday. Participants will receive a 20 percent off PrAna & Lole card.

Visit us online at OutdoorKnoxville.com

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