Hiking is proven to make us healthier and happier, and Knoxville has no shortage of opportunity to hit the trails with folks who have obviously experienced those benefits. With more than 15 groups hosting open hikes, our area is typically home to several group hikes each week!
In the next few days, you’ll find a variety of hikes and walks suitable for a wide range of interests and skill levels to choose from. Early birds will gather tomorrow morning (Sept. 10) at Cades Cove for a monthly social walk/run around the loop. While the surface is paved, the scenery is beautiful, and there are 4-, 8-, and 11-mile options to choose from. Make every step count, because your efforts will be rewarded with pancakes at the end!
Hikers need their fuel, so if the pancakes sparked your interest, consider joining the RCS Hiking Club on Monday morning for an easy 3-4 mile hike at Mynatt Park in Gatlinburg before the group’s annual Fall Picnic. Guests are encouraged to come out to learn about the club while enjoying good company and food. This is a great time to join in!
The same group will meet again on Tuesday for a strenuous 8.8-mile hike up Mt. Sterling in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to beautiful views from a lookout tower, then down into the Big Creek area. Make sure to plan and prepare for this challenge!
If you want to go a little farther into the park that morning, consider joining the Friends of the Smokies’ September Classic Hike on the Boogerman Trail. This group hike is a more moderate 7.5-mile loop that crosses mountain streams and explores several historic sites. Be prepared to make a donation for this one, and to get your toes wet!
Hopefully this full agenda will help you get your fill of trails this week, but if you still want to do your homework, socialize and reminisce, a couple local retailers have gatherings that will make for a great cool down. REI is hosting a Womens’ Appalachian Trail Gear Shake-Down on Wednesday evening, where you can learn what you’ll need to take on the legendary AT thru-hike. The following evening, Little River Trading Company will have an “off the beaten path” storytelling presentation by the company’s hike leader featuring tales about the AT, the Seat Heifer Trail and more.