I spend a lot of time promoting South Knoxville trails on this blog, and rightly so, since South Knoxville to most Knoxvillians is the Undiscovered Country. But the fact is, it isn’t the only place to walk in town. And it’s a good thing, because I am exiled to Northwest Knox County and I don’t have time for a thirty minute drive every time I want to take a walk. Nor do I enjoy the only safe non-driving option of walking up our very steep hill and around a couple of cul-de-sacs. (Knox County motto: We don’t need no stinkin’ sidewalks.)
Lucky for me, West Knoxville offers several greenways too, and I’ve written about some of them here and here. However, some of our very nice greenways have a drawback: they aren’t loops. When you are in a hurry and want to do some exercise walking, loops are what you want. I expect that’s why Lakeshore Park, with its 2.2 mile loop, is so popular.
I have found four loop trails within five minutes of my neighborhood. Lorelei and I go walking every Wednesday–gym for her, fitness for me! I walk with a friend every Friday. Emily and I try to walk during the week as well as on Sunday (even though some times it’s just up that despised hill!). And I do hope to start coaxing John on walks once it gets cooler. Below are some of the places we go.
1. Nicholas Ball Park
This is the closest park to our house. It’s on Ball Camp Pike, which if I thought about it at all when I was a child I assumed referred to the fact that the nearest baseball field was located on that road. You can read about the actual source of the name in the picture below:
As a park, this one is replete with every attribute: a bathroom, a picnic shelter, baseball and soccer fields, a small playground, and trails. There are two of these, one your basic loop around the soccer field, where people always seem to be having so much fun that I almost feel interested in soccer, and the other a short climb up and down a hill where you can see majestic cedar trees and a smattering of wildflowers.
We usually do the hill trail, then do as many loops as we have time or energy for, then do the hill trail one more time.
2. U.S. Cellular Trails
I hate to call them that, but anyway, if you park at the soccer field you can loop around the main trail and you can also shake it up by incorporating the sidewalks on the bisecting road to do some figure eights if you get bored. And you could easily get bored if you don’t bring a friend along to talk to, because there’s not a whole lot to see! I did catch some pretty sunset pictures there one evening:
And got pretty close to a bunny:
And then there’s this house which I have always loved and would pick up and move somewhere safe if I could. I remember when Lovell Road was two lanes and this was nestled in the woods. I dread the day when I drive by and it’s gone.
3. All Saints
As part of our religion curriculum, Lorelei and I attend Mass every Wednesday morning at All Saints Church, the closest Catholic church to our house, just three miles away. Afterwards, we walk around the trails and then I let her play on the playground. This trail offers special opportunities for prayer as well as exercise, plus flowers and interesting trees.
There’s a bench in the area below, where I usually take a break while Lorelei plays on the playground for a few minutes.
One section has the Stations of the Cross, which we plan to come back to pray during Lent.
The Marian Garden:
4. Fort Sanders West Trail
I don’t have any pictures of this one but want to mention it anyway. It’s a big loop that runs around the campus of Fort Sanders West. There’s plenty of parking, or course, and it’s ideal if you are feeling motivated to exercise after a visit to your doctor.
So there you have it! If you live in West Knoxville and thought South Knoxville was too far, what’s your excuse for not walking now?