Image credit by @keely_bee
While there have been some gloomy days lately, spring is officially here and it is a perfect time to enjoy a little bit of nature. You can still get outside for some fresh air, but it’s recommended you practice social distancing. In Oak Ridge, there are public parks, greenways, biking and walking trails, so, needless to say, there are a lot of ways to get outdoors that allow you to stay safe at the same time.
Explore more than 85 miles of walking, running, and biking trails that wind through the Secret City. Oak Ridge, Tennessee is home to 13 distinct greenways that weave through natural corridors and showcase century-old hardwoods, assorted wildlife, and pristine shorelines. If you’re looking for secluded but accessible Tennessee hiking locations or mountain bike trails outside of the Smokies, Oak Ridge delivers.
Oak Ridge has 48 greenbelt districts comprising approximately 1,566 acres of forested greenbelts that serve as buffers between neighborhoods and offer miles of shaded walking trails. Greenways provide a quiet, pristine atmosphere to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.
Get out and explore these other great locations around town:
A.K. Bissell Park has a total of 38 acres and features a paved 1.25 mile loop. The park is also home to The Friendship Bell, an 8,000-lb. bronze bell that commemorates the workers of the Manhattan Project and celebrates peace and friendship between Oak Ridge and our sister city Naka Shi, Japan.
The UT Arboretum is a project of the University of Tennessee Forest Resources Ag Research and Education Center. This 250 acre field research laboratory that is home to more than 25,000 varieties of native and exotic plants. The Arboretum also boasts several lush greenways, features interpretive nature trails and ecological points of interest. This is a great time of year to get out and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.
Hawridge Park is a 780-acre park situated on a scenic peninsula along the Clinch River between Knoxville and Oak Ridge. With more than 30 miles of single-track and dirt trails to explore, this destination is known for its mountain bike trails, which are also perfect for hikers, trail runners, and equestrians. Geocachers will also discover plenty of bounty scattered throughout Haw Ridge Park’s lush trails. If you’re searching for an adventure on the water, board a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board (SUP) and venture across five miles of stunning shorelines that ripple along the park’s parameter.
Melton Lake Park is available, so if you want to take a break from the water, there is a peaceful 5.6-mile waterfront greenway great for walking, running, and biking. Other family-friendly amenities include an outdoor volleyball court, playground, and pavilion.
Windrock Bike Park is the Southeast’s premier mountain bike park. Riders catch a lift to the top of the mountain on one of the bike park shuttles, than descend one of the 16 trails. Windrock now has it’s own fleet of rental bikes and 2 beginner trails, making it accessible to beginner riders.
If you enjoy fishing, Melton Lake, is a 5,700-acre reservoir, with over 170 miles of shoreline there are plenty of places to drop a line – from the shore or from a boat. Warm water discharge from the Bull Run Steam Plant keeps this area warm throughout the year, extending the growing season for many species making Melton Hill Lake a popular fishing destination. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) annually stocks fish into the reservoir making Melton Hill Lake the perfect location for fishing.
So take some time to get outside and go for a walk down by the lake or around a park and breathe a little fresh spring air to start feeling a little more like normal again.