Hiking, real and virtual

Sandra ClarkFun Outdoors

Friends of the Smokies has launched the Alum Cave At-Home Adventure, a virtual hiking event that provides funds for critical programs of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Here’s the deal. Register here and you’ll have until June 6 to fund raise and complete the 4.6-mile virtual hike to Alum Cave or the 10-mile challenge to the top of Mount Le Conte. Talk your friends and neighbors into donating a buck or two per mile. Those who raise at least $200 will receive a T-shirt and medal by mail, and contributions of $500 or more will qualify for additional hiking swag. (Spoiler alert: there’s even a contest for bench sitting.)

Knox County Parks & Rec

House Mountain Park (a neat hike if you enjoy walking straight up) will reopen today (4-24). But don’t you all run right over there. Social distancing of six-feet is still required. Enforced by Smokey the Bear.

A crew poured concrete for new batting cages at the Sportspark in Karns. Crews also started tearing up the playground at The Cove at Concord Park – it’s getting new stuff. The proposed expanded beach has been delayed until the next fiscal year.

Rock bluff along the appropriately named River Bluff Trail. (by Will Skelton)

Hiking at Norris Dam

Will Skelton, for whom the Knoxville greenway is named, was out hiking in Norris this week and he posted a bunch of wonderful pictures at a site called smugmug.com.

He wrote: “One of the must-hike trails each year for spring wildflowers is the River Bluff Trail located on the west side of the Clinch River just below Norris Dam. I’d rank it in any “top five” list for East Tennessee.

“The trail is well constructed and provides lots of wildflowers throughout the March-May wildflower season. Amy and I try to hike it each spring and did so on April 22, 2020, and again were not disappointed. We were a bit late for some species but on time for others.

“From the parking area off US 441 the 3.2 miles trail winds down to just above the river and then makes a loop, climbing up to the ridge above for the return. For more photos see this link: https://theskeltonview.smugmug.com/…/River-Bluff-Trail-Day…/.”

Trout Unlimited cancels events

The annual Great Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp – along with many other Tennessee activities sponsored by Trout Unlimited – has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also canceled are the Clinch River Chapter’s Big Clinch River Cleanup, kids’ fishing events hosted by Cherokee and Clinch River chapters, veterans’ fishing, fly tying and rod building activities hosted by TU chapters, and the spring meeting of the Tennessee Council of TU. Info here.

Steve Young, managing director of the camp, said the decision was made to protect the health of campers and staff. He hopes to schedule next year’s camp for the third week in June.


River Sports is open for business with reduced hours and locations. Check the website here or phone 865-523-0066. Rental items include canoes, kayaks, bikes (electric, mountain or greenway) and camping equipment.

Appalachian Mountain Bike Association has suspended group events. Info here.

Legacy Parks Foundation: See what Carol Evans is up to here.

Navitat at Ijams Nature Center has closed temporarily and hopes to reopen around May 10.

Knox Birds: has cancelled its April meeting and invited Ron Hoff to speak at the May meeting about his recent trip to Australia. Info: knoxbirds.org.

Ideas about events to include or people to interview? Email suggestions to sandra.clark@KnoxTNToday.com.


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