Knoxville is gaining a reputation as a mountain bike mecca, and the spiffy new trails at Baker Creek Preserve are a big reason for that. This multi-use park is under construction as of early 2017, but is still open for business. Mountain bikers have 7.1 miles across five multi-use trails and three downhill trails to choose from, including an absolute beginner loop and the gnarly, experts-only Devil’s Racetrack.
What Makes It Great
In a 2015 contest, Bell Helmet company awarded Knoxville’s Appalachian Mountain Bike Club with a $100,000 grant to build a Devil’s Racetrack—a gravity-defying downhill mountain bike trail. The local mountain biking community rallied to beat out major cities like Asheville and San Francisco in online voting, even crashing the website at one point. Compounded by a $200,000 grant from Tennessee Department of Conservation and a gracious land donation from the Wood Family, work began right away to create a park that would combine adrenalized downhill biking with family-friendly trails and nature discovery. The dream of Baker Creek Preserve became a reality.
The three professionally built, world-class downhill courses are built for different experience levels. The beginner run is Cruz Valley, featuring single humps, rollers, and small berms. Barn Burner is the intermediate run, which steps it up with doubles, triples, table tops, and big berms—all designed to be taken at higher speed and deal some hang time. The big daddy is Devil’s Racetrack, which has an optional wall ride and mandatory drops, some of which are really big. Expert riders come literally flying off jumps and around turns, so don’t mess with this course unless you are really ready to fire it up.
Other multi-use, bidirectional trails include Floyd Fox, Red Bud Crest, and Best Medicine, which are also used to access the top of the downhill runs from the parking area.
Only a short drive from downtown, Baker Creek’s instant classics are nestled inconspicuously in South Knoxville and linked to the rest of the Urban Wilderness trails, for the potential of a full day of fun when you combine a trip here with Ijams, Mead’s Quarry, Hastie, or another area favorites.
Who is Going to Love It
Baker Creek Preserve truly does have something for everyone. Newbies and families with kids will enjoy the Sycamore Loop multi-use trail and the intro bike pump track to practice techniques. Intermediate and more expert riders will love pushing their limits on the downhill tracks, and can spend hours running up and down the trails.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Downtown Knoxville, take Henley Street or James White Parkway to Moody Ave/Sevierville Pike and turn left. In less than a mile, turn right at the four-way intersection onto Lancaster Dr. Continue about 2 blocks and park at the old church on the left. The trails are signed and start from the gravel lot.
At Baker Creek Preserve, downhill mountain bike trails are one-way and for bikes only. Ignoring this rule puts yourself and others in danger. Other trails are multi-use and bidirectional, so please follow proper etiquette and yield appropriately. Parts of the park are still under construction, so observe all closures.