Get Out & Play: Memorial Parks

Carol EvansFeature

Memorial Day is a time to remember those who served in America’s armed forces from past to present and to discover the rich history associated with the military’s role in our community. Two downtown Civil War forts, Fort Dickerson and Fort Higley, also serve as wonderful public parks and provide a perfect way to discover our history while enjoying our great outdoors.

Fort Dickerson is one of the best-preserved earthen forts from the Civil War era and rests on a ridge just across the river from downtown Knoxville. From the high vantage point of the overlook, you can enjoy a full view of the downtown skyline as well as the high peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains. Turn your glance downward and admire the sparkling turquoise waters that pool in the 350-foot deep quarry. History buffs will enjoy wandering over to the historic Civil War fort to stroll around the interpretive trail, which includes three authentic replica cannons. The 2.5 miles of trails wind through the forest and skirt around the quarry. If you need to cool off from your walk, the quarry is a favorite summer swimming hole for swimmers and paddlers of all ages.

High Ground Park is a beautiful memorial park on Cherokee Trail; once the historic site of Fort Higley, constructed in 1863. A beautiful stone wall borders the peaceful walking path that winds through hardwood forests, wildflowers and native flowering bushes. The trail opens to a wildflower meadow with seating to enjoy this peaceful natural setting. A nature trail with informative and education signage leaves the meadow to wind past the remnants of defensive emplacements such as rifle trenches and a cannon redoubt.

Whatever your plans are this holiday weekend, don’t forget to get out and play! For more information on these parks and other activities in Knoxville, visit

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