As you work your way up to running longer distances, finding routes that are engaging and fun can end up being more challenging than the run itself. We have listed our top picks for runs between 5 and 12 miles long, and they are all easily shortened or lengthened to match your personal goals. Get ready to explore wooded paths, riverside trails, and urban greenways with our list of the best long runs in Knoxville. (And check out this Guide to Greenways for shorter sections and interesting things to do along the way!)
Terrain: Natural Surface Trail
Features: Riverside views and a sampling of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness.
Mileage: 12.5 miles
Set amid the woods and quarries of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness, the South Loop is the most immersive trail run you’re likely to find on this side of the Smokies. This idyllic urban escape circles though William Hastie Natural Area, Forks of the River, Ross Marble Quarry, and Marie Myers Park, forming the outer boundary of Knoxville’s biggest network of trails (55 miles and still growing!), so you can always branch off and explore other sections or add in an extra hill or mini loop to increase mileage. Note that this trail is mixed use and popular with mountain bikers. Restrooms can be found at Ijams Nature Center. A full map of the Urban Wilderness is available here.
2915 Island Home Ave. (Ijams Nature Center)
3518 Island Home Pike (Mead’s Quarry at Ijams Nature Center)
1302 Margaret Rd. (William Hastie Natural Area)
3140 McClure Lane (Forks of the River/Will Skelton Greenway)
5907 Burnett Creek Road (Forks of the River)