Time for festive fun with lights, bikes and birds

Carol EvansFeature, Get Out & Play

This is the season for enjoying and employing decorations. But there’s also work to be done by citizen scientists. Don’t miss out.


Friday, Dec. 14

Tour de Lights Decoration Party: 4-6:30 p.m., Alliance Brewing Company. Free. Info: River Sports Outfitters at 865-523-0066. Join us before the Tour de Lights as we festoon our bikes with baubles then ride to Market Square at 6:30 p.m. We will have decorations on hand, but feel free to bring your own. RSO will have a rental fleet on site if you need a bike. Alliance will be serving a variety of beers if you are in need of holiday refreshments.

Interpretive Loop Night Hike: 5:30 p.m., Frozen Head State Park at Shelter C. Cost $3. Info: Frozen Head State Park at 423-346-3318. Join Ranger Kayley for a nighttime adventure on the Interpretive Loop Trail. This experience offers a unique chance to potentially see some night wildlife and see how the forest settles down in the dark. Gentle hike. All ages are welcome. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a headlamp or flashlight.

12th Annual Tour de Lights: 6:15 p.m., Market Square. Free. Info: I Bike Knx. More than 1,000 people participate in this fun, 5-mile bike parade through downtown, Fourth & Gill and Old North Knoxville. Decorate your bikes and yourselves to win one of the coveted awards. Details online.

Friday Fun Run: 6:30 p.m., Pour Taproom. Free. 865 Running. Run 3 miles downtown, World’s Fair Park and river walk. Then drinks with 10 percent off! All levels welcome.

Saturday, Dec. 15

Hike Hidden Passage Trail: 8 a.m., Books-A-Million, Oak Ridge. Free. Info: Smoky Mountain Hiking Club. Leaders: Diane Petrilla and Karen Brackett. For this interesting hike in Pickett State Park near Big South Fork and Pogue Creek Canyon, we will do a loop hike that takes in small arches, waterfalls, numerous rock houses, a gorge overlook and a “hidden passage.” Hike is 9.5 miles and rated moderate.

Birding at Seven Islands State Birding Park: 8 a.m., Seven Islands State Birding Park. Info: Great Smoky Mountains Association at 865-436-7318, ext. 349. We’ll trek through a rich mosaic of habitats looking and listening for a wide variety of wintering avian species. One of our main targets will be to see how many sparrow species (Passerellidae) we can observe and identify. Hike 3-5 miles. Register online.

Rock’in Santa Half Marathon & Sunshine Santa 5K: 9 a.m., Victor Ashe Park. Info: Endurance Sports Management. Get into the holiday spirit with either a half marathon or 5K run. Events benefit the Sunshine Ambassadors. Register online.

Third Saturday Hike: 9 a.m., UT Arboretum. Free. Info: UT Arboretum at 865-483-3571. This is a great time to enjoy the cool almost-winter air and get some exercise before the holidays. Learn about the UT Arboretum’s trails on this short trail hike (1-1.5 hours). Hikes will be varied in intensity level.

Bike Zoo Saturday Ride: 9 a.m., Bike Zoo. Free. Info: Bike Zoo at 865-558-8455. Three-hour ride of 50+ miles at a fast pace of 18/20 mph. Weather permitting.

Christmas Bird Count: 9 a.m., Ijams Nature Center. Cost $8. Info: Ijams Nature Center at 865-577-4717, ext. 110. We will look high and low to count as many birds as possible. Join us and thousands of other citizen scientists as we help protect the birds we love. Register online.

Norris Bird Count: 9 a.m., Norris Dam State Park. Info: Chuck Nicholson at 865-405-7948. The count circle is centered on Norris Dam and includes parts of Norris Lake, the Clinch River and Norris Dam State Park. There is a great need for more count participants, and several territories are currently unassigned. Call for details.

Campfire Cooking: 12 p.m., Panther Creek State Park at the Upper Campground Shelter. Cost $5. Info: Panther Creek State Park at 423-587-7046. Want to try cooking over an open fire but not sure where to start? Join Ranger Jammie as we learn how to make some tasty treats and savory eats. Register online.

Navitat at Night: Holiday Color Burst: 5:30 p.m., Navitat Canopy Adventures at Ijams Nature Center. Info: Navitat at 855-628-4828. We’re lighting up our treetop adventure park with twinkling lights, and you can glow, too! We’ll have glow sticks for all adventurers and colorful lighting to make your adventure even more incredible. Space is limited, so book in advance.

Sunday, Dec. 16

Intro to Climbing: 1 p.m., Onsight Rock Gym. Info: Onsight Rock Gym at 865-888-9123. Learn the basics of top rope belaying, knot tying and climbing technique in this hands-on class. Designed for those with no previous climbing experience, this course teaches the necessary skills required to climb independently.

Yoga for Climbers: 7 p.m., River Sports Outfitters. Cost $8. Info: River Sports Outfitters at 865-523-0066. Join us for yoga every Sunday. Participants will receive a 20 percent off PrAna & Lole card.

Monday, Dec. 17

KTC Group Run – Holiday Lights: 6 p.m., Balter Beerworks. Free. Info: Knoxville Track Club. Bring your battery-powered lights and festive gear, and we’ll check out some holiday lights on the run. Monday evening social pace group run; afterward, stick around for a discounted beer.

South Knox Fun Run: 6:30 p.m., Alliance Brewing Company. Free. 865 Running. Social pace 3-ish mile run; come back for $1 beers. All levels welcome.

Bearden Beer Market Fun Run: 6:30 p.m., Bearden Beer Market. Free. Info: Bearden Beer Market at 865-851-8922. Group Fun Run through the neighborhood. Open to all levels of walkers and runners followed by $1 off all pints.

Group Run Alcoa/Maryville Greenway: 6:30 p.m., Bike N’Tri in Maryville. Free. Info: Bike N’Tri at 615-944-1729. Group run on the Alcoa/Maryville Greenway. All levels welcome.

Smoky Mountain Wheelmen Christmas Party: 6 p.m., Calhoun’s, Bearden Hill. Free. Info: Smoky Mountain Wheelmen Bicycle Club. Join us at Calhoun’s for our annual Christmas party and year-end wrap! We’re having a buffet-style dinner starting at 6 p.m. There is no cost for the event, but we ask that you bring a wrapped White Elephant gift for the gift exchange. Please RSVP on Facebook.

Tuesday, Dec. 18

Tuesday B Group Ride: 10 a.m., Cycology Bicycles. Free. Info: Cycology Bicycles at 865-681-4183. B Group is a “No Drop” ride (15-18 mph) 35-45 miles. Must have general skills to ride roads with car traffic. If weather is questionable, call shop to confirm.

Tuesday A Group Ride: 10:30 a.m., Cycology Bicycles. Free. Info: Cycology Bicycles at 865-681-4183. A Group rides 40+ miles at 20+ average pace. This group is for advanced riders with good pace line skills. If weather is questionable, call shop to confirm.

Monthly Flow & Glow Ride: 6 p.m., Baker Creek Preserve. Free. Info: Cedar Bluff Cycles at 865-692-1010. Join Trek Women’s Advocate Lisa Mueller for a fun evening riding the flow trails. We’ll ride Red Bud Crest, Floyd Fox and possibly Cruz Valley Run, depending on the group’s ambitions and comfort level for riding after dark. A mountain bike is recommended for this ride’s terrain. BRING HEADLIGHTS. We’ll be riding in the dark. Pace is casual, and riders will have the opportunity to try new trails.

Monthly Bro Ride: 6 p.m., Baker Creek Preserve. Free. Info: Cedar Bluff Cycles at 865-692-1010. Join Allan Mueller for the men’s only Monthly Bro Ride on Cruz Valley Run, Barn Burner and Devil’s Racetrack (for those who would like!). If you would like to get more comfortable with jumps and features, this is the ride for you. BRING HEADLIGHTS. We’ll be riding in the dark. Pace is casual, and riders will have the opportunity to try new trails/features and session sections.

Intro to Climbing: 6 p.m., Onsight Rock Gym. Info: Onsight Rock Gym at 865-888-9123. Learn the basics of top rope belaying, knot tying and climbing technique in this hands-on class. Designed for those with no previous climbing experience, this course teaches the necessary skills required to climb independently.

Wednesday, Dec. 19

KTC Group Run: 5:30 p.m., Runners Market Bearden. Free. Info: Knoxville Track Club. Wednesday evening social pace group run. All paces welcome. Distance options vary. Grab a beer with some good folks afterward.

The Trail Running Film Festival Tour: 6 p.m., Relix Variety Theatre. Info: The Trail Running Film Fest. From world-class filmmakers to the best works made by weekend warriors, The Trail Running Film Festival takes you on a virtual run through forests, up mountains, beyond emotional obstacles and across the finish line. Tickets $20. Purchase online. Doors open at 6 p.m. Show starts at 7 p.m.

Night Gravel Grinder Ride: 6:30 p.m., North Boundary Trails. Free. Info: Knoxville Bicycle Company at 865-240-3499. Very casual pace about 11 miles, just for fun. Night Gravel Grinder ride; bring your Cross, Gravel, or MTB. Two levels of riding “A” and “B.” Bring lights. Regroups as necessary.

Thursday, Dec. 20

Tuesday A & B Group Ride: 10 a.m., Cycology Bicycles. Free. Info: Cycology Bicycles at 865-681-4183. A Group ride is usually a 40+ miles at 20+ average pace. This group is for advanced riders with good pace line skills. B Group ride is a “No Drop” ride (15-18 mph) 35-45 miles. Must have general skills to ride roads with car traffic. If weather is questionable, call shop to confirm.

North Knox Beer Runners: 6 p.m., Central Flats and Taps. Free. Info: North Knox Beer Runners. Fun and easy run through North Knox and Happy Holler. Don’t forget lights and reflective gear.

Fleet Feet Sports Open Group Run/Walk: 6 p.m., Fleet Feet Sports. Free. Info: Fleet Feet Sports at 865-675-3338. Our 30-to-60-minute route varies week by week in the various neighborhoods and greenways around the store. All levels welcome.

Night Trail Ride: 6 p.m., check Facebook for meeting location. Free. Info: Cycology Bicycles at 865-681-4183. Social pace ride on Beginner Plus/Intermediate cross-country terrain with roots, rocks and challenging climbs. Ride subject to cancellation or change in location due to wet trail conditions. Must have lights.

Friday, Dec. 21

Astronomy from the Tower: 5:30 p.m., Frozen Head State Park at Shelter C. Cost $15. Info: Frozen Head State Park at 423-346-3318. See the winter constellations in full splendor as you join park rangers and explore the wonders of the stars from the top of Frozen Head Mountain. Dress for high winds and extreme temperatures, as we ascend the fire tower and receive an unobstructed view of the night sky. Meet at the Park Visitor Center for a shuttle. Must register in advance. Tickets are $15 per person for a maximum of eight participants.

Campfire Storytelling: 6 p.m., Big Ridge State Park. Cost $1. Info: Big Ridge State Park at 865-992-5523. Storytelling by Ranger Derek Wilson by a campfire. Meet at the swim beach just past the park’s office.

Friday Fun Run: 6:30 p.m., Pour Taproom. Free. Info: 865 Running. Run 3 miles downtown, World’s Fair Park and river walk. Then drinks with 10 percent off. All levels welcome.

Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Recreation at 865-215-6600. Walk along the illuminated greenway, which features a sparkling light display coordinated to music and a number of fire pits. Third Creek Coffee will be onsite each night with hot drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, and holiday snacks, like cookies, cakes and the ingredients for s’mores. Knox County will collect nonperishable food items for The Love Kitchen.

Saturday, Dec. 22

Bike Zoo Saturday Ride: 9 a.m., Bike Zoo. Free. Info: Bike Zoo at 865-558-8455. Three-hour ride of 50+ miles at a fast pace of 18/20 mph. Weather permitting.

2nd Annual Chimney Tops Reindeer “Crawl”: 9 a.m., Sugarlands Visitor Center GSMNP. Free. Info: Little River Trading Co. at 865-681-4141. Make like a “rein”deer and scramble your way up to the Chimney Tops. Join us for our second annual themed hike to celebrate the holiday season. Feel free to come dressed festive and merry! Moderate 3.3-mile hike. RSVP required. Sign up by emailing trip leader Dolphin Riggs.

Hike Concord Park: 9:30 a.m., Concord Park. Free. Info: Smoky Mountain Hiking Club. Leader: Tim Bigelow. With the holidays here, let’s do an easy local hike to keep fit, get outside and burn off a few holiday calories. We’ll pick a loop of about 7 miles in Concord Park East, along Fort Loudoun Lake and in the winter woods. Meet at the trailhead near the Concord Park Dog Park. Rated easy.

Nature Hike: 10 a.m., Panther Creek State Park at the Horse Trailer Parking Lot. Info: Panther Creek State Park at 423-587-7046. Want to get a head start on those New Year’s resolutions? Come out and join Ranger Jammie on the Old Farm Trails. We will look for signs of the old farms and see what kinds of animals are out and about in the morning. Remember to dress for the cold, and wear sturdy shoes.

Intro and Basics of Framing Photographs: 1 p.m., Frozen Head State Park at Branch Trailhead. Cost $5. Info: Frozen Head State Park at 423-346-3318. Are your photos falling flat? Would you like to learn to make your pictures pop? Join Ranger Brady at the Panther Branch Trailhead for a brief introduction and overview of framing your photographs and then a hike to Debord Falls to practice what we learned. Bring your camera; a cell phone with a camera will do, too.

Campfire Desserts: 5:30 p.m., Frozen Head State Park. Cost $5. Info: Frozen Head State Park at 423-346-3318. Join Ranger Kayley for a delicious sweet treat created over the campfire. All materials will be provided. Meet at the stage area across from the Visitor’s Center. Must register online in advance for this program.

Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Recreation at 865-215-6600. Walk along the illuminated greenway, which features a sparkling light display coordinated to music and a number of fire pits. Third Creek Coffee will be onsite each night with hot drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, and holiday snacks, like cookies, cakes and the ingredients for s’mores. Knox County will collect nonperishable food items for The Love Kitchen.

Sunday, Dec. 23

Intro to Climbing: 1 p.m., Onsight Rock Gym. Info: Onsight Rock Gym at 865-888-9123. Learn the basics of top rope belaying, knot tying and climbing technique in this hands-on class. Designed for those with no previous climbing experience, this course teaches the necessary skills required to climb independently.

Holiday Festival of Lights at The Cove: 6-9 p.m., The Cove at Concord Park. Free. Info: Knox County Parks & Recreation at 865-215-6600. Walk along the illuminated greenway, which features a sparkling light display coordinated to music and a number of fire pits. Third Creek Coffee will be onsite each night with hot drinks, including coffee, hot chocolate and apple cider, and holiday snacks, like cookies, cakes and the ingredients for s’mores. Knox County will collect nonperishable food items for The Love Kitchen.

Yoga for Climbers: 7 p.m., River Sports Outfitters. Cost $8. Info: River Sports Outfitters at 865-523-0066. Join us for yoga every Sunday. Participants will receive a 20 percent off PrAna & Lole card.

Visit us online at OutdoorKnoxville.com.

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