City and county leaders joined in South Knoxville Tuesday for the grand opening of a trail network that stretches 35 miles just minutes from downtown.
The new trail loop, which is 11 miles long and has 24 miles of trails stemming from it, connects 10 city parks to Ijams Nature Center and a state wildlife management area, according to non-profit group Legacy Parks.
"What this does is accommodate those people that want to do short after work hikes or bikes, [and] also miling," said Legacy Parks Executive Director Carol Evans. "So if you want to do more, you can do more."
The Appalachian Mountain Bike Club designed and built the new loop. Member Brian Hann said the project has taken five years to complete.
"I really want people to get out and see how easy it is to hit these trails," Hann said.
The club has recently spent its time placing kiosks and signs around the trail system to help with navigation. The signs read "Urban Wilderness South Loop," which is the name of trail.
Learn More: Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department
The Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department said it is excited to have the new trail system on the city's south side. Kathleen Gibi, public affairs spokesperson for Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department, told 10News the trail is a part of a bigger vision for the city.
Gibi said her department wants to see more parks connect with the numerous greenways and trails that are located in the city and county. She said Knoxville has 65 miles worth of them alone.
"The goal is to really be connecting them," Gibi said.
View the trails: OutdoorKnoxville.com
She said connecting parks and greenways can even help improve the city's tourism.
"If you look at most of the successful tourism cities, it's not just geared toward tourism," she said. "It's a city that identifies with its assets.
The ribbon cutting at the loop will take place at 2 p.m. Tuesday on View Park Drive in South Knoxville.