Gobble Wobble – After Thanksgiving hikes

Carol EvansAround Town

Skip the crowds on Black Friday and #optoutside for a family-friendly hike at one of our 56 Tennessee state parks. Eight of those parks are within an hour’s driving time from Knoxville. Hikes are free but please registration online so they know how many to expect.

After Thanksgiving hikes on Friday, Nov. 24, will be led by park rangers and are geared for all ages and abilities. Wear sturdy shoes, warm clothes and bring water. After your hike, share your pictures with #thankful4hiking and #optoutside!

Big Ridge State Park — Walk off some turkey on a 3-mile hike around the Big Ridge Lake. Meet at the park office at 1 p.m. The hike is over moderate terrain and is appropriate for ages 5 and older.

Cove Lake State Park — Join Ranger Wray on an easy 2.5-mile hike on the Woods Loop Trail in the picnic area, then hike around Goose Island and by Cove Lake. Meet at the Recreation Building parking lot by the tennis courts at 9 a.m.

Fort Loudoun State Historic Park —Ranger Baghetti will lead a hike on Meadow Loop and Lost Shoe Trails. Along the way you might spot wildlife or water fowl, while enjoying views of the meadows and Tellico Lake. The hike is almost four miles and rated moderate due to distance and minor elevation change. Meet at the Meadow Loop Trailhead, approximately 30 yards inside the park.

Frozen Head State Park — Join Ranger Joe for a refreshing hike to Emory Gap Falls. The hike will be moderate and approximately three miles in length. Meet at noon at the Panther Branch Trailhead.

Indian Mountain State Park — Meet at the park office at 1 p.m. to walk the Ballard Lake Trail. The surface is dirt and very flat; with low degree difficulty, good for the whole family. The park will be providing drinks and snacks.

Norris Dam State Park — Start your holiday season out right with a great trail hike after a holiday feast! The hike will start at the TVA Visitors Center at 3 p.m. The 1-mile trail skirts the beautiful Norris Lake then circles back through the Historic CCC cabins to the parking area.

Panther Creek State Park — Come walk with Ranger Mize. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Spoone Shelter to hike the Lost Road Trail. This is a mildly difficult hike but afterwards the reward will be snacks and hot chocolate at the shelter.

Seven Islands State Birding Park — Give thanks for grasslands with park manager Justine. The hike will give an opportunity to discuss grassland management, fire ecology and upcoming projects at the park. We will stop at the chimney swift structure, one of the park’s newest features. The terrain on this 2.8-mile loop is mostly level to gently sloping but is rated moderate due to a few brief climbs. Meet at the Bluebird Barn.

So … get your Gobble Wobble on and get outside to hike off that extra helping of dressing!

For more information on Tennessee state parks and upcoming hikes, visit  Outdoor Knoxville.

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