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Knoxville Urban Wilderness Trail System - South Loop

Consensus:    (details)
 4.6 from 12 votes
  Intermediate from 1 vote
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Rank: #1 in the Knoxville area
#2 in Tennessee
#65 Overall
Featured Ride near Knoxville,  area, 
“The "main loop" for Knoxville's Urban Wilderness, just a couple of miles from downtown Knoxville.”
Randy Conner on Dec 1, 2012
Getting There     GPX File     Print
10.216.4 milesKilometers 1,293’394 m Ascent 1,132’345 m High 4.5% Avg Grade
65% Singletrack -1,294’-394 m Descent 815’248 m Low 8.7% Max Grade
Restrictions
Parts of the Forks of the River Wildlife Mgmt. is closed periodically in winter for hunting.
Overview
1:17 average ride time for 11.0 miles. Details

This is the shortest version of the Urban Wilderness loop in Knoxville, TN. This loop gives a taste of the over 30 miles of trails in the system. All trails are only 2-4 miles from downtown Knoxville.

The trails offer something for everyone. There are rock gardens, buff singletrack, paved greenways, and gravel doubletrack.
Need To Know
Ride the trails then head downtown for craft brews and great food.
Be mindful of weather. Rain makes sloppy conditions in the clay soil for a couple of days.

For more information and local rides and maps go to www.ambc-sorba.org/
Description
There are several trailheads for this ride. There are many side trails that can be a little confusing, but the signage is pretty good and getting better. There are trail maps posted at all trailheads. Don't be afraid to check out some of the side trails. Most of the side trails are a little to a lot more technical.

This ride starts at Anderson School. From the school, head west on Centeroak Dr. Cross Sevierville Pk (careful), turn right onto Redwood. Take Redwood to the top of the hill. Keep going uphill and singletrack starts at the end of the road.

As you descend the Redwood trail there will be several left turns to a more technical section. Continue straight downhill to the old Margaret Road doubletrack. Turn left then take first right onto Hard Labor. After a mile or so on Hard Labor - it's mostly a descent down rocky sections mixed with buff singletrack, then trail changes names to Yellow Jacket.

About a hundred yards into Yellow Jacket you will hop a couple of rocks and hit a short, steep section then it is all smooth flowing, tight trail to the 5 way intersection. Right is Rock Ledge, straight is View Park, slight left is an unnamed doubletrack straight up the ridge and finally, a hard left connects to Marg McClean Trail. This is the one you want. You have just completed the William Hastie Natural Area portion of the loop.

At the top of the ridge, the Marg McClean Trail intersects with View Park Drive. Turn right, down the hill. Go about 150 feet and look for the sign and bamboo grove on the left. Enter the Victor Ashe Trail. The 250' elevation lost in next two miles are some of the most fun you will have riding the loop.

At the bottom cross a long bridge and follow the trail to intersection with Sevierville Pike. Cross carefully. You just completed the Marie Myers section. Locally this trail is often mistakenly called Marie Myers. Head straight on Southside Drive to a left at the sign for Turnbuckle Trail.

You are now entering the Ijams Nature Park (Meades Quarry section). The Turnbuckle Trail has rocks, bridges, switchbacks and short steep climbs, some along small bluffs. Follow Turnbuckle through a short uphill with switchbacks. You will soon cross a bridge that hugs a cliff. There are flowing sections mixed with more technical sections mostly downhill. Experienced riders will love it, beginners may have to walk some sections. Stay to the right until Turnbuckle makes you enter onto the gravel road, Imerys. In about 100 feet Turnbuckle goes straight and you will go left staying on the gravel. Follow the gravel all the way to the Meade's Quarry parking lot. You are now leaving the Ijams Section of the loop.

Go straight across Island Home Pike, then take a right onto the Will Skelton Greenway. The next mile or so stays on this paved greenway. Look for the sign for the Urban Wilderness Loop and the Dozer Trail.

You are now entering the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area. The Dozer Trail bisects the 600 acre management area. Dozer is well marked. There are many side trails that are fun. For this loop stay on Dozer. There are a couple of confusing spots. Dozer takes a hard right at the intersection with Bluff both times. Just watch the signs. At the end of Dozer go around the gate and turn right on Burnett Creek Road. This is the end of the Forks of the River WMA.

The next section goes thru private property. Easements and agreements cover all these trails. Please be respectful of the land owners and their generosity and stay on marked trails. About 100 yards up Burnett Creek Road turn left onto gravel. After a couple hundred yards on the gravel you will cross Johnson Creek. In another 30 ft. turn rt. onto Lost Chromesome. Watch for the left onto a short section of doubletrack then a quick rt turns to stay on course. Follow Lost Chromesome back to Anderson School.
History & Background
Knoxville's Urban Wilderness came about by way of partnering of The Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, Legacy Parks Foundation, City of Knoxville, Knox County, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and private landowners. The trails pass by old marble quarrys, failed housing developments from the 1982 World's Fair, a wildlife management area managed for hunting and private properties. The junction of the Holston and French Broad Rivers form the Tennessee River next to the greenway. Much of the land was purchased by the Legacy Parks Foundation explicitly to complete the Urban Wilderness Loop.

Some of the trails were old hiking, motorcycle, hunters or access roads. Most of the trails were built by The Appalachian Mountain Bike Club starting in 2007.
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Recent Conditions
Mar 31
Dry with a few puddles in low run-off areas
Dec 1
dry
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COMMENTS
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PHOTOS of Knoxville Urban Wilderness Trail System - South Loop
 4.0 from 1 vote
This 4' wide bridge spans about 150'. This is the lowest point on the V... (Knoxville, TN)
 3.5 from 2 votes
Bamboo entrance off View Park Dr. (Knoxville, TN)
 3.0 from 2 votes
Typical trail signage at trailheads. (Knoxville, TN)
 3.0 from 2 votes
Urban Wilderness signage (Knoxville, TN)
 2.7 from 3 votes
Greenway section of South Loop (Knoxville, TN)
 2.3 from 3 votes
One of eight bridges on this trail. (Knoxville, TN)
 2.0 from 1 vote
The Marie Myers section (Knoxville, TN)
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