KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — With over 50 miles of trails, Knoxville's Urban Wilderness has a little something for any kind of outdoor adventurer.
Tucked into this system of interconnected parks and cultural sites is the Ijams Nature Center and its 12 miles of treks for all ability levels.
Though it makes up just over a mile of the Ijams trails, Tharp Trace is a moderate to difficult rated loop around the historic Mead's Quarry.
The challenge comes from the steep incline and decline around a third of the way around the quarry.
On clear days, Mount LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is visible from Tharp Trace Overlook.
Near the end of the loop off Dunn Street, there is the Stanton Cemetery, which has graves marked from 1870 to 1939 including a man who survived the Sultana sinking in April 1865, the worst maritime disaster in American history, according to Visit Knoxville's website.
In warmer months, Mead's Quarry is also open for swimming and kayak and standup paddleboard rentals.
What to expect on the trail:
Some tips before you visit:
- Wear sunscreen and bug spray.
- Pack plenty of water.
- Keep an eye on the weather.
- Pick up after yourself (and your pet).
- Keep your dog on a leash.
- Be courteous to other park visitors.
- Let others know before you pass on a bike.
- Keep to the right and pass on the left.
- Stay to the right of the trail to allow bikes to pass.
- Step off the trail if you need to stop.