There's so much explore in East Tennessee. Start with these unforgettable experiences.
Once you’ve moved to Blount County, you’ve got plenty of exploring to do. In addition to sampling the local restaurants, perusing boutiques and shops, and tasting whiskey at a local distillery, here are eight outdoor areas you need to check off your list before you tear the 12th month off your calendar. Consider these eight outdoor experiences a rite of passage to your Blount County residency.
1. Hike Abrams Falls Trail
The reward for this hike is a view of the picturesque Abrams Falls (shown above). It’s small in stature (only 20 feet high), but it makes a splash, thanks to the large volume of water that rushes down the falls into a deep pool at its base. The moderate hike is 5 miles round trip, and it meanders through a pine-oak forest, where a parallel creek provides a serene soundtrack.
2. Bike or Drive Foothills Parkway
If you’re up for a hilly ride, take to two wheels and bike a section of the Foothills Parkway, a scenic route with jaw-dropping views of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
3. Canoe Down the Little River
A good route to row your boat is from Perry’s Mill Dam to River John’s Island. The Little River starts in the Smokies and is surrounded by forests and fields. It’s a popular spot for fishing, tubing and wading. For another perspective, hike alongside the river.
4. Go Glamping at Little Arrow Outdoor Resort
For an unforgettable staycation, slip away to the Little Arrow Outdoor Resort, a glamping retreat at the foothills of the Smokies. You’ve got lodging choices, including glamping tents, RVs and cabins. The 24/7 on-site lodge serves local coffee, has a movie and book exchange, plus a kid’s playroom and games. The resort also has a pool with grottos, a splash pad, a hot tub and quiet hiking trails.
5. Spend an Afternoon at Pearson Springs Park
To really get this right, pack a picnic to enjoy in the shaded pavilion at this Maryville park. Blount County has more than two dozen parks and facilities, and Pearson Springs is an 8-acre park that connects to the city’s greenway.
6. Jog or Walk the Maryville-Alcoa Greenway
One of the best ways to get to know your neighborhood is by foot, especially if you take the Maryville-Alcoa Greenway. You may want to make this an after-work or weekend ritual: In all, there are 15 miles of paved trails to explore that wind through Alcoa and Maryville. The greenway connects to parks and is pet-friendly.
7. Take Your Dog to PetSafe Pistol Creek Dog Park
Help your pet get acquainted with your new neighborhood with a visit to PetSafe Pistol Creek Dog Park, which is near McCammon Avenue. The park features a one-acre area for large dogs to romp around in and a separate half-acre park for smaller pups. The area is fenced so Fido can go off-leash, and amenities like waste stations and water fountains for dogs are available.
8. Check Out Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend
Nicknamed the “Greatest Site Under the Smokies,” this cave that’s known for its onyx formations is open to the public, with tours along lighted pathways. The Tuckaleechee Caverns are estimated to be 20 to 30 million years old, and a must-see at this tourist attraction is the “Big Room,” which is more than 400 feet long, 300 feet wide, 150 feet deep and studded with stalagmites that are 24 feet long.