Healthy Living, Fitness

Knoxville Greenways - Pathway to Fitness and Fun

Knox TN
Published on November 25, 2014

Top 25 Best Bang for the Buck Cities - Forbes Magazine

Biking is not only a great way to get and keep in shape, but it is also a healthy and exhilarating way to explore what it’s like living in Knoxville Tennessee. With one of the most sophisticated biking systems in the country, the “Knoxville Greenways” project has developed a state-of-the-art network of greenways and natural trails for the citizens and also has become one of the top tourist attractions in Knoxville

GO KNOXVILLE…Knoxville has just been awarded their second “Bronze Bicycle Friendly Community” (BFC) award by the League of American Bicyclists.  Knox TN, one of the 326 communities within the (BFC), was first recognized in 2010, and received its second award this month for 2014.  The honor is bestowed upon communities who are transforming their neighborhoods and waterfront retirement communities and encouraging biking amongst their residents.

In total, the city of Knoxville currently has 86 miles of paved greenway and trails throughout the community.  Often following along natural preserves, parks, waterways, and historic sites, the greenways link these sites to each other and to neighborhoods through its aggressively planned development.  Bicycling between the Tennessee River and various creeks along the Great Smoky Mountains, the multiple greenways provide amazing views of this picturesque region and provide accessibility to the multiple cultural events held here annually.

Living in Knoxville, residents enjoy events such as is the 8th Annual “Tour de Lights” which will be held on Friday, December 19 at 7pm at Market Square.  This free gathering is a parade of bikes through downtown between 4th & Gill and Old North Knoxville.  The route is about 5 miles in Knox TN and will be completely closed to traffic for the event. Riders are encouraged to decorate their bikes with lights and festive decorations as well as costumes for this casual ride making it a top tourist attraction in Knoxville during the holiday season.  Hot cocoa and treats will be available compliments of Mast General Store and Three Rivers Markets.  Helmets, a white front light and red rear reflector are required as well as compliance with ride guidelines.  There will also be free safety checks for the bikes. Judging for the decorating contest will begin at 6pm. 

If new to biking the waterfront retirement communities, there is a wealth of information regarding this program at the City of Knoxville's website along with information about accessing the greenways and the many parks you can visit while enjoying this incredible resource.  The Knoxville Regional Bicycle Program also offers many freebies for bike commuting and bicycling in general, including a map, commute guide, classes, and guidance on the best route to your workplace or school.  Also, folks living in Knoxville who don’t own their own bikes, there is a Knoxville bike rental program located at the “Outdoor Adventure Center” (900 Volunteer Landing Lane) and also at the “Visitors Center” (301 S. Gay Street).  Rentals are available on site at both Centers.

While biking throughout this beautiful city and waterfront retirement communities, riders might want to check out one of the 81 parks that can be found here.  Covering over 1854 acres of green space, this region has many options through its greenways to explore many of the pristine parks found in and around Knoxville.  With such a wide array of choices, here are a few parks and top tourist attractions in Knoxville to consider visiting:

WORLD'S FAIR PARK - 1060 World’s Fair Park Drive

Once the site of the 1982 World's Fair, this incredible park includes miles of lawn, acres of flowers, cascading waterfalls, placid streams, and many more gifts of natural beauty create an inviting environment for festivals, performances, meetings, conferences, or a quiet moment for personal reflection. The park is also the home of the Knoxville Convention Center and amphitheater.   Attractions include The Candy Factory, a collection of Victorian homes hosting arts and crafts shops, and Fort Kid, which is a large playground. The world-class Knoxville Museum of Art is also located here, as is the memorable symbol of the World's Fair, the 26-story Sunsphere. Take the elevator up for sweeping views of the city and the amphitheater below. 


Located 50 miles southeast of Knoxville, this vast 625,000-acre national is the largest tract of public land in Tennessee and adjoins other national forests in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. This is a hikers and photographer's paradise, with more than 105 well-marked trails that lead to some incredible vistas. Trails are also available for horseback riders and mountain bikers. Visitors may camp in tents or several cabins, or hunt, swim, fish, and even pan for gold. In the winter it is virtually untouched, making it ideal for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. 


This historic park covers 21,000 acres, making it the largest National Historic Park in the country. Located 60 miles north of downtown, this is still a popular destination because of its numerous offerings, such as scenic picnic areas and trails for running, biking, and horseback riding. This park also features numerous examples of Native American history along with the famous mile-long tunnel through a mountain, which must be traversed to reach the park.  At the Hensley Settlement, visitors can wander back in time as they stroll down fence-lined lanes, peek into the blacksmith's shop, or sit in the one room school.  There is plenty to do for all.


Located in West Knoxville, is an 87-acre park situated in a quiet, residential neighborhood.  There is easy access as the park has 3 different entrances.  Bikers will also find a 1,000-year old Indian mound and classic historic homes from the 1920’s.  There are also 3 baseball/softball fields, jogging trails, two blueways, concession stands and picnic tables when folks are ready to relax along this riverfront park.

For a complete listing of parks and locations, visit the Knox TN website.

Folks who happen to visit the greenways in Knoxville are being tracked by automatic infrared “counters” located throughout the city since 2009.  The data collected is used for planning purposes, grant applications and academic research.  It is quite obvious that the trend is growing and that usage of the many greenways measured hourly is rising.  Statistically, the greenway usage is at its peak in warmer months and on weekends.  While the counters cannot distinguish between bikers, hikers and runners, it does discreetly keep accurate records of the greenway usage.

Another bonus for Knoxvillians who like to bike, the Knoxville Area Transit (KAT) buses allow bicycles for free.  For information on fares and schedules for the KAT to greenways program visit the city of Knoxville's website and click on the desired greenway.

There are also plenty of groups and organizations that support the biking community that enthusiasts may want to join in Knoxville.  Here are a few of the groups:

  • Appalachian Mountain Bike Club
  • Bike Walk Knoxville
  • Bike Walk Tennessee
  • Club VIBES
  • Foothill Striders
  • Jeff Roth Cycling Foundation
  • Kickstand 
  • Knox Revolution
  • KnoxVelo
  • Legacy Parks/Outdoor Knoxville 
  • Recumbent Riders International, Knoxville Chapter
  • Safe Routes to School Partnership 
  • Smoky Mountain Wheelmen
  • Southern Cycling Operations  

Staying fit and enjoying this beautiful mountain community is easy with the Knoxville Greenway program.  Folks looking for urban living in a health conscious city will want to check out Knox TN.

To learn more about the area, request free Knoxville Tennessee relocation information