Outdoor Activities

Rock Climbing

Throughout the mountains and nestled in the bottoms of valleys, the East Tennessee region provides opportunities for rock climbing year round. Climbers have access to more than 5,000 different climbing routes within a 3-hour drive of the Provision campus.

The Obed Wild and Scenic River Area is a local climbing spot often visited, and The Climbing Center at River Sports offers expeditions and instruction for individuals interested in trying to climb. Whether a sport climber or one who enjoys traditional climbing, the Knoxville region has several opportunities for you to enjoy.

Running & Walking

Grab some comfortable shoes and head out to some of the scenic greenways and trails the region has to offer. Local running and hiking clubs frequently join together, providing opportunities for visitors to explore the best walking and running locals in the region with a group of locals.

Enjoy the fresh air on one of our natural surface trails, from mulched paths to mowed grass routes. The local and state parks provide a variety of options for individuals hoping to run or walk in the open.

If you’re looking for an option close by, Knoxville’s paved greenways, many of which wind along rivers and streams, are a great option. There are more than 65 miles of walking trails, loops and greenways that wind in between neighborhoods and along the University of Tennessee campus.

Hiking

Looking for more of a walking challenge? East Tennessee is the place to be. With a variety of local hiking trails, including the beautiful Haw Ridge Park and Ijams Nature Center trails, just miles from Provision’s campus. There are regional trails within an hour’s drive of the city, including the Obed Wild and Scenic River and the Big Ridge State Park trails. Learn about all Knoxville has to offer regarding hiking trails and maps at Outdoor Knoxville's Urban Wilderness.

Cade’s Cove is a popular outdoor destination in the area, located just 50 miles from campus. A valley surrounded by mountains, it’s part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is a great spot for viewing wildlife, including white-tailed deer, turkey, ground hogs and coyotes. The cove has a rich history, with several historical buildings found there. It also features several trails, including lengthy hikes and a five-mile round trip trail to Abrams Falls.

Winter Sports

In Tennessee, we experience all four seasons, and the surrounding mountains provide opportunities for play during the winter months. In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you’ll have the chance to whip out the snowshoes or warm boots and walk through its scenic trails, taking in the woods blanketed with snow and the icicles hanging from waterfalls and boulders. If you’re hoping to hit the slopes for some skiing, head to Ober Gatlinburg, which offers nearly 10 ski trails open throughout the winter, the summit elevation reaching 3,300 feet.

Bicycling

Knoxville’s network of greenways provides the perfect opportunity for cyclists to enjoy an off-road riding experience, either on paved or natural surfaces. Often running near streams, rivers and hilltops, the 65 plus miles of greenway loops and trails connect natural areas in the city and are perfect for a leisurely ride on a nice day.

Interested in mountain biking? East Tennessee has various trails for off-road adventure that will fit your style and the terrain in which you thrive, from trails that are wide and relatively flat to twisting single-track options and open fields.

If you’re a fan of road cycling, Knoxville provides scenic country roads with little traffic and the challenge of hilly terrain. Local bicycle clubs meet to go on rides and explore the area, a great opportunity for individuals unfamiliar with the best and safest roads for cyclists.

Fishing

There are several places to bank fish within the city of Knoxville, including lakes, creeks and ponds, many of which are near our beautiful greenways. Common spots include Holston River, renowned for smallmouth bass, and Ned McWherter Park, with picnic tables, two docks and a view of the downtown skyline. Bluegill, catfish, and bass are common catches.  Fishing licenses are required for those 13 years old and older, with a one-year license just $9.

Canoeing and Kayaking

Home to some of the most beautiful scenery East Tennessee has to offer, the Knoxville area boasts several paddling options, from canoeing to kayaking. Some of these options include organized programs. For instance, the city of Knoxville has partnered with Ijams Nature Center to create a canoeing program that provides information about the local wildlife and nature in general.

However, there are opportunities for visitors to rent canoes at local bodies of water. View the surrounding wildlife by grabbing canoes at Cherokee, Norris, For Loudoun and Douglas Lakes or along Holston, Clinch and Tennessee Rivers. Individuals of all skills levels and ages can glide along our local waters.

Boating

East Tennessee is an enthusiastic boating community with over thousands of miles of shoreline framing the lakes, rivers and waterways. A favorite pastime of East Tennesseans is to get on the water in some form or fashion, refreshing the mind, body and soul! Rentals are available in the area for jet skis, pontoons, wave runners, runabouts or luxury houseboats, whether you want to get away for the day or the weekend. Visit the various marinas' websites below to learn more about boating opportunities.

Sailing

Spend time on the lake either watching the beautiful sailboats or learning how to sail first hand! Concord Yacht Club, a membership organization, offers instruction for sailing and sailboat racing.

Wildlife Watching

Witness the spectacular light show of the Synchronous Fireflies, one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns. Their light patterns are part of their mating display with peak flashing beginning late May through mid-June.  This popular attraction is a must see and is by reservation only.

Also, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency allows you to take full advantage of seeing wildlife in their natural habitat, whether it is bird watching, or watching mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish or insects.