If you are trying to get your teenager outside for once, here are some local recommendations that will give teens exactly what they want in an outdoor adventure. We chose fun, local activities that provide instant gratification, great photo opportunities and sleeping late!
Nighttime can be the right time for teens. And there’s no better way to take in the city lights than a moonlight paddle with the Knoxville Adventure Collective. They’ll provide instruction and a paddleboard or kayak for an evening float along downtown Knoxville’s riverfront.
Or help your teen to discover the critters and crawlers that come out at night at Seven Islands State Birding Park. Ranger-guided hikes include frog walks, stargazing hikes, and searches for nocturnal flyers like owls and bats. Going in the dark is a sure way to make a walk in the park extra exciting, just make sure you check the Seven Islands Calendar and register for these events beforehand!
While Ijams Nature Center officially closes at dusk, they offer several after-hours activities throughout the month. These nighttime activities include Movies Under the Stars, night hikes, workshops and evening yoga. The mysteries of the wild can seem even more mysterious in the night!
Adjacent to Ijams is Navitat Canopy Adventures. Perfect for adventurous teens (their minimum age is 7), this adventure in the trees will get their hearts pumping with excitement! Choose a daytime excursion or keep with the theme for Navitat at Night.
You can also tempt your teen with hikes guaranteed to reward them with both a short distance and a spectacular view:
The River Bluff Overlook in South Knoxville is truly the most beautiful view of Knoxville within a mile hike from the parking lot. Be sure wander through the rest of the natural park for about 2.5 miles of easy trails.
Tharps Trace at Mead’s Quarry in South Knoxville is a 1.3-mile loop with a beautiful view of the Mead’s Quarry Lake and Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. On this hike you will discover a small, historic cemetery with graves dating back to the 1880s. On warm days, you can reward your teen - and yourself - with a swim or paddle in the quarry lake.
The climb up House Mountain will get your cardio up while providing panoramic views of east Knox County. The rock outcrops and rock ledges found throughout the hike will make any teen feel like a climbing star in Free Solo. Up and down the West Overlook Trail will give you a 2-mile hike, or you can stroll the Crest Trail then take a one-mile descent down the Mountain Trail for a fun 3.5-mile loop.
There are hundreds of miles of trails and rivers for adventurers of all ages to discover in Knox County – day or night.