Come work and play at Seven Islands

Carol EvansGet Out & Play

Seven Islands State Birding Park is a regional treasure. More than 190 species of birds have been sighted there, according to the state Department of Environment and Conservation, which oversees state parks.

The park encompasses 416 acres along the French Broad River in Knox County, approximately 19 miles east of Knoxville. This peninsula features more than eight miles of natural trails, rolling hills and views of the Smoky Mountains. In addition to being a wildlife refuge popular for hiking, the park is a research and educational facility and a demonstration area for land use and habitat management techniques.

Songbirds, hawks and waterfowl can be seen along the meadow trails and several old barns are a favorite refuge for Barn Owls. For paddlers and anglers, there is a small canoe/kayak launch that provides access to the French Broad River.

Tomorrow (11/18/23) the park will host a woodpecker walk and a volunteer workday to remove invasive plants. Both start at 9 a.m. We’re highlighting those plus eight other events this week. So, let’s Get Out and Play!

Ongoing Events

Holidays on Ice – Nov 24 thru Jan 2, 2024: 10-1 p.m., Market Square. Info: City of Knoxville at 865-215-4423. Enjoy skating under the stars and twinkling lights while listening to music every night. The rink opens the day after Thanksgiving and will be open through January 2, 2024. Operating dates and hours subject to change without notice due to weather, check Facebook for updates. Schedule and tickets available online.

Saturday, November 18

Third Saturday Hike: 9 a.m., UT Arboretum Auditorium. Free. Info: UT Arboretum at 865-483-3571. Enjoy the forests and trails in this lovely, wooded setting on a 2-mile hike. All levels welcomed. No pets please. Details online.

Woodpecker Walk: 9 a.m., Seven Islands State Birding Park. Cost $8. Info: Seven Islands State Birding Park at 715-630-6848. East TN is home to seven species of woodpeckers. We will hike the Hickory Ridge Trail where you are most likely to see each of them and learn what to look for when identifying woodpeckers. Register online.

Volunteer Workday: 9 a.m., Seven Islands State Birding Park. Free. Info: Seven Islands State Birding Park at 715-630-6848. We’ll be focusing on removal of invasive plant species from an area of the park. Work gloves are available if needed along with some tools. Bring your own if you have them. Register online.

Saturday Spruce Up: 9-noon, Inskip Park. Free. Info: Keep Knoxville Beautiful at 865-521-6957. For November, we will be partnering with the city of Knoxville to pick up litter around Inskip-Norwood Community Center and Second Creek. Supplies provided. Register online.

Wednesday, November 22

Knoxville Buddy Walk: 1 p.m., World’s Fair Park. Info: Down Syndrome Awareness Group of East Tennessee. Whether you have Down syndrome or know someone who does, show your support and donate or register online.

Thursday, November 23

Hot to Trot 5k/10k/Fun Run: 7:30 a.m., Fleet Feet. Info: Fleet Feet Sports at 865-675-3338. Start your Thanksgiving Day with your choice of a 5K, 10K or 1-mile fun run. Register online.

Turkey Trot 5K + Little Gobbler Kids Run: 8:30 a.m., The Mill & Mine. Info: Knoxville Track Club. Downtown course using both the Henley Street and Gay Street Bridges. Pre-activities held at The Mill and Mine on West Depot. Little Gobbler 1 mile Run starts at 8. Register online.

Friday, November 24

Day After Thanksgiving Hike: 9 a.m., Cove Lake State Park. Free. Info: Cove Lake State Park at 423-566-9701. Join Ranger Rooker on a 1.5-mile hike along the Volunteer Loop trail. Meet at the Cumberland Trail (Bruce Gap Trailhead) located on Bruce Gap Road. Register online.

Day After Thanksgiving Hike: 10 a.m., Norris Dam State Park. Free. Info: Norris Dam State Park at 865-426-7461. Join Ranger Trent for a 2.5-mile hike along the Elkins Loop trail. Elkins trail is rated moderate to strenuous on varied terrain with uphill climbs and views of Norris Lake. Register online.

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Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation. Find dozens of outdoors events at


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