Hailing from an old rock quarry turned into a nature conservatory, the Ijams Nature Center is a petite but potent package for mountain biking in Knoxville. The singletracks on Hickory and Amber trails provide an ideal playground for bikers craving technical sections and decent climbs. While the core trails sum up to 2.2 miles, Ijams expands its offerings with another mile of wide, gravel road biking and an interconnection with the city's greenway system.
The advised route commences from the Meade's Quarry parking lot, using Imerys Trail to access Hickory and Amber trails. Hickory culminates at a "T" junction intersecting Amber. A sharp left unveils Amber's top side, which loops back to Hickory. Running this trail in reverse promises faster times, as reported by seasoned riders.
From Downtown Knoxville, cross the Gay Street bridge heading south. A left turn onto Island Home Avenue after almost a mile on Seviere Avenue will get you there. The Ijams Nature Center's main office is the first entrance on your left, but keep an eye out for the biking trails a bit farther up the road on your right.
Feedback highlights the trails' good marking but advises caution due to some confusing signage. A GPS or a small map can be a valuable asset. Despite its modest size, Ijams manages to pack a punch by being part of a larger network of trails that cater to all levels of riders.
For those pinched for time, Ijams Nature Center provides a condensed yet satisfying ride. Ideally suited for after-work rides or quick weekend jaunts, this trail system boasts fast and flowy singletracks, moderate climbs, and opportunities to dive deeper into the 'Dirty South' trail system for a more rigorous day out.So, if you're around Knoxville and are in the mood for a quick yet invigorating ride, don't overlook this modest MTB locale. It may not be life-changing, but it surely is a must-visit for both newbie and veteran riders alike.