Hiking Trails: Norris Dam State Park

Near: Knoxville, TN (north)

Trails: There are two trail systems (east and west). At this point, I’ve hiked parts of the west system:

  • Andrews Ridge Trail (2 miles): Connects most of the north part of the trail system. Has a backcountry campsite. There’s a small cemetery towards the back of the trail, and I caught a few glimpses of the lake through the bare trees. I’d recommend taking this in, then following the Sinkhole and Rock Creek trails back.
  • Sinkhole Trail (1 mile): Loops off of Andrews Ridge Trail. Has a few more elevation changes and gets you a bit closer to the lake, but it’s also more of a wooded trail.
  • Rock Creek Loop (1 mile): Descends off the ridge, connecting to the Elkins loop. Has a short spur that takes you to a small cove on the shore of Norris Lake; at low water levels, you can do a bit of exploring here. There’s also a few creeks running through the valley.
  • Harmon Trail and Fitness Trail (about 1.5 miles): Both trails connect to the picnic area at the entrance of the western part of the park, and form a loop. When I hiked them, there were a couple of trees across the trail, but nothing that was difficult to work around.
  • Chuckmore Trail (2.3 miles): The eastern end of the trail is a short hike from the picnic area; it isn’t obvious from the road, but if you walk up to it you can see it. The trail works its way up and then across the top of a ridge. I didn’t hike the whole thing, as it passes through a field with some tall grass, and I was wearing shorts.

Trailhead: The park itself is off 441 in Rocky Top, TN. You’ll probably want to check a map depending on which trail(s) you want to hike.

The west system connects to the western campground (if you’re camping). There’s a few parking spaces at the dumping station, near where a few of the trails connect (the park happened to be empty in January, but it might not be a viable option in warmer months). Otherwise, it’s a bit of a walk along the road from the fishing cove or picnic area.

More information: https://tnstateparks.com/parks/norris-dam

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dylan_wolf/albums/72157676272238497

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