Posted by Phil Rodgers in Sevierville
There's no doubt that enjoying recreational opportunities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a top priority among visitors to this neck of the woods. Hiking, bike riding, picnicking, fishing and camping are just a few of the fun outdoor activities that millions of visitors enjoy inside the park each year.
But if you're staying in Sevierville or Pigeon Forge (where you'll find us at Goats On The Roof), an adventure within the national park may be more of an endeavor than you're willing to take on. After all, heavy traffic might impede your journey to the park, not to mention the distances you have to travel just to get to any given destination within the park.
So what about those times when all you want to do is get outside and take a walk or go for a run or perhaps ride a bike, all while enjoying some fresh air and scenery? That's where the many local greenways you'll find in the Smoky Mountains can come to the rescue. Depending on where you're staying the Smokies, they can be a quick-and-easy solution for some quality outdoors time. Here are our picks for great greenway experiences.
NOTE – All greenway distances indicated are one-way measurements. If you do an out-and-back, you'll double that distance.
This is a popular route among both locals and visitors. Measuring two miles in length, this greenway trail runs from Sevierville City Park, along the west prong of the Little Pigeon River then northward to Main St. (aka Chapman Hwy.). Along the way, there are gorgeous views of the river and the mountains. At one point, you even cross a charming cantilevered bridge. In addition, there's a half-mile trail that circles the perimeter of the city park itself, adding to the distance you can travel when walking, running or biking.
Also located in Sevierville, this 1.5-mile route is located in the downtown area, starting at the city's municipal complex, running behind the intermediate and middle schools and then heading east until it terminates at Veteran's Parkway. There's also a path that runs .6 miles around the perimeter of the municipal complex, which adds a little bit of distance to your route.
This is the best route for those of you looking for a longer outing, both in terms of time and distance. It measures six miles in length, and it runs alongside Veteran's Parkway, beginning at Dolly Parton Parkway in Sevierville and ending at Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge. If you just want to go from DPP to the Sevierville city limits, it's only three miles. Of course, you can start anywhere you can find legal parking and take on as much or as little of the greenway as you wish. But if you were to do a full out and back, it would measure 12 miles. The terrain is rolling, and at times, you can catch some pretty cool views of the mountains.
In addition to the greenways located in and near Sevierville, there are other greenway options available to Smoky Mountain Visitors:
• Townsend, TN – This community is only about a 20-minute drive from Pigeon Forge, and is worth visiting in its own right. But if you happen to be there, keep in mind that they have the Townsend Historical Trail, a running/walking/bike trail that runs the entire length of Lamar Alexander Parkway (aka U.S. Hwy. 321), the main route through town. The five-mile path actual runs along both sides of the highway, so it's technically a loop that measures 10 miles in total length. It's level in places, rolling in others, and parts of it are closer to the main road than others. But it's still a great option.
• Maryville/Alcoa, TN – These twin communities are located not far from McGhee Tyson Airport in Blount County, the main air facility serving the Knoxville, TN, area. There's a great greenway that runs from Foothills Elementary School in Maryville all the way into the northern parts of Alcoa. They've recently expanded the original eight-mile stretch of greenway, so you can now rack up close to 11 miles just going in one direction.