Published: October 2009Best Adventure Towns

Knoxville, Tennessee

Plan a long weekend getaway with our Knoxville adventure guide, featuring great outdoor escapes, where to stay, and where to eat. Then chime in with your picks.

Pop. 184,802
GPS: 36°00'N, 83°57'W

Knoxville sits just northwest of the crest of the Appalachian Mountains, on the banks of the Tennessee River, within easy driving distance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest. The University of Tennessee campus here lends the city a youthful energy and helps fuel a lively and largely undiscovered local music scene.

Your Turn: Tell us about your favorite Knoxville adventures, restaurants, and hotels in the comments section below.

PLAY
Though it sounds more like Six Flags than a mountain bike trail, The Screamer at Hall Ridge dips into a ravine and out again before you can catch your breath. In the Smoky Mountains, hike down the ridge from Clingmans Dome to Silers Bald and see Tennessee lakes on one side and South Carolina peaks on the other (nps.gov/grsm). And with 750 miles of fishable streams in the Smokies, it’s best to ask an expert; a Little River Outfitters guide will show you the best trout flyfishing, and improve your technique along the way (littleriveroutfitters.com).

EAT
Grab a beer and listen to live tunes at the Preservation Pub (preservationpub.com). Calhoun's on the Tennessee River batters fresh caught catfish in cornmeal and serves a baked creamed corn casserole—Tennessee Corn Puddin'—on the side (calhouns.com).

SLEEP
The Brimer House Inn offers mahogany poster rice beds in the historic Old North Knoxville neighborhood (doubles from $125; brimerhouseinn.com).

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  • Play: Road cycling in the Townsend area, ride up to the Y and then over to Cades Cove and back. Da…
  • EATS: Just down the square from Preservation Pub is "the Tomato Head" and next to that is "Cafe 4" …
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