Get Out & Play: Take me to the water

Carol EvansUncategorized

Spring Break has us yearning for a vacation! With ocean views on the mind, we thought of some local adventures with spectacular water-views that will surely fill the void. And the best part – no travel required.


Ft Dickerson Quarry is a convenient place to escape and enjoy a leisurely hike or paddle. Trails meander through the forest with several overlook spots along the way. You’ll end your walk at the base of the pool of turquoise water surrounded by rock walls that climb 70 feet above. The base of the quarry is a great spot to take a break or enjoy a picnic on the pebbled shore.

Spend the day exploring all that Ijams Nature Center has to offer, whether you zip through the forest canopy on the Navitat Canopy Adventure (opening for the season March 9) or play with your kiddos in the natural playscape of Jo’s Grove, let the sparkling  Mead’s Quarry Lake be the perfect ending to a day of exploration. You can hike the 1.3-mile trail to the observation overlook at the top of the ridge to see expansive views of the stunning lake below or bring your fishing rod and spend an afternoon on the shore.

A stroll along the Tennessee River will remind you of Knoxville’s unique beauty nestled amongst rivers, greenspace and mountains. There are ample fishing opportunities, swings perfect for a picnic with a view, and put-ins for paddlers along Volunteer Landing. Or grab a bike from the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center and take a ride on the greenway on two wheels!

You’re sure to find a nice quiet spot to cast a line or paddle in The French Broad River, spanning 102 miles between the state line and Knoxville. The river holds over 50 species of fish including crappie, bluegill, sauger and several varieties of bass. Scenic views of rising hills and pastoral farmlands border this wide river. Mutton Hollow Landing at Seven Islands State Birding Park provides a small canoe/kayak launch that provides access to the French Broad River. Other access points are listed on the blueways map.

These are just a few of the magnificent bodies of water that surround our region. Whether your adventure includes a stroke of a paddle, the cast of a fishing line, or a refreshing hike with a view, take advantage of East Tennessee’s picturesque waterways! For more information on our lakes and rivers, visit outdoorknoxville.com.

(Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation.)

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