Mountain Biking in the Urban Wilderness

Over 50 miles of connect, natural surface trails within Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness provide unparalleled biking experiences for adventurers of all skill levels. A variety of terrain and destinations creates great views, great adventures and the chance to return again and again for a new experience. The majority of the trails are multi-use trails for bikers.

Three dedicated downhill trails create a fun challenge for avid mountain bikers navigate through special places with the Urban Wilderness Trail System. A signed 12.5-mile loop route guides you through five destinations and back to your start.

Restrooms and water are available at Ijams Nature Center and Ijams Quarries.

Places to Mountain Bike in the Urban Wilderness


Bicycle Riders:

  • Avoid riding when trails are wet to prevent erosion and trail damage.
  • Helmets are recommended for all riders; full-face helmets are recommended for downhill trails.
  • Downhill riders yield to uphill riders, unless otherwise posted.
  • Be considerate of novices and family groups.
  • Bikers yield to pedestrians unless otherwise posted. Call out or ring a bell for warning when approaching pedestrians.
  • Ride within your abilities – users assume all risks.
  • Portions of the trail may contain sections that exceed your skill level or posted difficulty rating. Cyclists should dismount and walk if necessary.

Trail Guidelines

Please obey these guidelines for a safe activity and to help maintain the trails:

  • Natural trails have uneven surfaces and obstacles – use at your own risk.
  • Plan ahead, know your ability and hike within your limits.
  • Obey all signs.
  • Pedestrians have the right of way on multi-use trails – Bicycle riders yield to pedestrians unless otherwise posted.
  • Keep pets leashed and under control (county ordinance)
  • Leave no trace –avoid use in wet conditions and pack out your trash.
  • Stay on designated trails. Sections of these trails cross private property and are marked “Private Land.” Please respect the generosity of these landowners who allow public access to their property.

Restrooms icon Water Fountain Restrooms and water located at Ijams Nature Center and Quarries. 


Trail Difficulty Ratings

Note: Obstacles may be challenging for bicycles but may be relatively easy to navigate for walkers and runners.  Obstacles may include rocks, drop offs, logs, water, bridges and boardwalks.


Surface: hard, 72" wide or more
Maximum Grade: 5%
Obstacles: none
Bike Skills: beginner


Surface: hard or natural surface, 36" wide or more
Maximum Grade: 5%-10%
Obstacles: small
Mountain Bike Skills: basic


Surface: natural surface, 24" wide or more
Maximum Grade: 15% or more
Obstacles: unavoidable
Mountain Bike Skills: intermediate


Surface: natural surface, 12" wide or more
Maximum Grade: 20% or more
Obstacles: technical & unavoidable
Mountain Bike Skills: advanced