Ijams 3

Ijams Nature Center provides a slew of opportunities for outdoor recreation just minutes outside of downtown Knoxville.

As the weather gets warmer and COVID-19 restrictions lessen, we’re all wanting to get outside and enjoy all of the natural parks and outdoor activities that Knoxville has to offer. Here are some of the best outdoor activities to enjoy in Knoxville when you arrive at UT -- but most are also great year-round.

Ijams Nature Center

No list of outdoor activities in Knoxville would be complete without mentioning Ijams. Located in South Knoxville, this nature center features miles and miles of running and hiking trails, a wildlife sanctuary and an abandoned quarry. Visitors can swim, kayak or paddleboard.

Navitat at Ijams Nature Center

Located in Ijams Nature Center, Navitat is an adventure park that combines activities such as ziplining, hiking and various climbing exercises into trails through the trees. For two hours, participants can guide themselves through the trails, which are accessible by zipline. An outdoor activity that involves nature, exercise and creativity, it’s easy to see why Navitat has many positive reviews.

Fort Dickerson Quarry

One of the most refreshing things to do when the weather is warm in Knoxville is to take a swim in the quarry. This quarry is a great place to swim or kayak during the hot summer months. There are also overlooks to see a view of the quarry, picnic areas and hiking or walking paths around the lake.

EG_Dickerson Quarry

Dickerson Quarry is a perfect place for relaxing and swimming in the warm months. 

Lakeshore Park

According to their website, Lakeshore Park is the most visited outdoor park in Knoxville. The park is located across the Tennessee River, and boasts almost 185 acres of walking paths and green sprawling lawns. Visitors are welcome to sit and have picnics on the grass or walk along the river.

Victor Ashe Park

Victor Ashe Park is a park that has it all. Located in West Knoxville, visitors can play soccer or football on the fields, volleyball on the sand courts, play a round of disc golf, let their dogs play in the off-leash dog park or use the multiple trails to run, bike or walk.

Plumb Creek Park

Located in West Knoxville, the crowning jewel of this park is the dog park, which is a seven-acre, fenced-in area where dogs and their owners can enjoy walking paths through the park. The outer park also features a disc golf course, as well as two walking trails.

Zoo Knoxville

Just around a 15 minute drive from campus off of I-40 lies Zoo Knoxville, one of the best outdoor attractions in Knoxville. A visit to the zoo is a great way to spend a couple hours or a full day, and is only $15 for college students.

Market Square and World’s Fair Park


World's Fair park is a popular outdoor spot located only a few minutes walk away from UT's campus. 

Of course, downtown Knoxville includes Market Square and World’s Fair Park, two of the best outdoor activities in the downtown area. 

In World’s Fair Park, the Sunsphere is a great (and free) way to see the sights of central Knoxville, especially during sunset. Market Square is home to a multitude of restaurants and shopping, including the Farmer’s Market, which is open every Wednesday morning.

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