This holiday weekend provides some guided hiking opportunities, but plan now to get started on those “more steps” New Year’s resolutions with all the first day hikes at area parks. Get out and play!
Friday Dec. 25
Christmas Day Hike at 1 p.m. at Norris Dam State Park. Free. For more info go here or call 865-426-7461. Join Ranger Gamble for a short, easy to moderate, hike along the Tall Timbers and Christmas Fern trails and hear stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long ago. Meet at the Historic Tea Room for hot chocolate and mulled cider after the hike. Register here.
Saturday Dec. 26
Waterfowl Hike at 8:30 a.m. at Cove Lake State Park, Picnic Shelter #1. Free. For more info go here or call 423-566-9701. Hike around Goose Island to observe resident and migrating waterfowl. Bring binoculars. Register here.
Friday Jan. 1
First Day Hike at 10 a.m. at Frozen Head State Park, Shelter C parking lot. Free. For more info go here or call 423-346-3318. Join Ranger Brady for a 2.5-mile hike along the Judge Branch Loop, rated easy. Be prepared to cross a creek. Register here.
New Year’s Day Hike at 10 a.m. at Ijams Nature Center. Cost is $10. For more info go here or call 865-577-4717, ext. 127. Join Ijams Hiking Club leaders for a mind-clearing walk through South Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness to learn about local wildlife, the Urban Wilderness, and the Ijams Hiking Club. Register here.
First Day Hike at 10 a.m. at Cove Lake State Park. Free. For more info go here or call 423-566-9701. Join Ranger Wray for an easy 2-mile hike around the Woods Loop Trail and Goose Island. Gather in the kitchen after the hike for some hot chocolate. Register here.
First Day Hike at 11:30 a.m. at Panther Creek State Park. For more info go here or call 423-587-7046. Join Ranger Humble at the pool parking lot for a stroll along the Nature Trail. Along the way, he’ll discuss the benefits of conserving our natural resources. This trail is an easy 1-mile loop. Register here.
First Day Hike at 1 p.m. at Fort Loudoun State Historic Park. Free. For more info go here or call 423-420-2331. While touring the buildings of Fort Loudoun, the park ranger will explain the roles of the fort and uncover how the fort’s location was determined, how the Little Tennessee River impacted all who lived within its valley, and how constant the challenge was to supply such a remote location. Register here.
First Day Hike at 1 p.m. at Norris Dam State Park. Free. For more info go here or call 865-426-7461. Join Ranger Mike at the River Bluff Trailhead for a 3.2 miles long hike that is somewhat strenuous with uneven terrain. Hike along the cool Clinch River laden with wildlife and features that include a rock archway and views of the dam. Register here.
First Day Hike at 1 and 3 p.m. at Seven Islands State Birding Park. Free. For more info go here or call 715-630-6848. Join at either time for an easy to moderate 2.5-3.0-mile hike along the trails of the park to learn the history of the park, management practices, upcoming programs, and volunteer opportunities. Bring camera or binoculars for capturing the beauty of the scenery and observing the birds and other wildlife. Register here.
Carol Evans is executive director of Legacy Parks Foundation.