Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ijams Nature Center

North Cove Trail
River Trail
Toll Creek Loop
Tharp Trace 1.1
Pink Marble Trail 0.4
Imerys Trail 0.75
Ross Marble Quarry Loop 0.25
Hayworth Hollow 0.1
Amber Trail 1.4
Hickory Trail 0.75
South Cove Trail
Beech Trail
Universal Trail

Lora and I decided to do a little hiking, so downtown Knoxville we went. Where else would you go to see some good nature? We went to the seed swap at Ijams Nature Center. Once a year they get together and do a wildflower seed swap at the visitor center. They also have cookies and apple juice.

Ijams Nature Center was started by the Ijams family who started with just their house. Now it has grown to a 275 acre natural area with hiking trails, a museum / zoo, shop, and class rooms. They have a Red Tail Hawk and Turkey Buzzard in cages too. The Will Skelton Greenway passes through it along Island Home Ave.

After we went to the seed swap and collected the goods, we hit the trail. We took the North Cove Trail to the River trail, which goes through the woods to a board walk that is along a bluff wall on the Tennessee River. We took a side loop trail along Toll Creek and then headed to the Mead's Quarry Lake. This is a 25 acre lake which fills in the old rock quarry. They have a trail that goes all the way around it. There is one overlook that you can see Mt. LaConte over in the Smokey's. From there we took the Pink Marble Trail that leads down to the lake and a observation deck and cave.

After that we hiked the Imerys Trail, which is a gravel road, to the Ross Marble Quarry. Here they have a large rock bridge with a key hole at the bottom that you can go through and down to the bottom of the quarry. Then we hiked the Hayworth Hollow trail down into a Quarry gorge to some caves.

The Amber Trail and Hickory Trail wrap back and forth though the woods and wetlands. These trails were built by the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club. We hiked back on the South Cove Trail and Beech Trail to the Universal Trail.

This park is very popular and is dog friendly. We saw more different types of dogs that you would see at a dog show. We had a great day and enjoyed the trails. When we got back to the visitor center, they had the Red Tail Hawk out and were giving a class about it so we stopped and listened.


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