Hiking in the Urban Wilderness


Over 50 miles of natural surface trails within Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness provide unparalleled hiking experience 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. There are eleven trailhead destinations within the Urban Wilderness, each with their own unique characteristics and offerings.

The majority of these trails are multi-use natural surface, either packed dirt or crushed rock, but some short connections are on paved greenway or streets.  Several miles of hiking, foot traffic only trails can be found at Ijams Nature Center and Mead’s Quarry.


Places to Hike in the Urban Wilderness

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