Fall weather gives us a great excuse to get outside without dealing with excessive heat or humidity. And while one can certainly hike to take in the fall foliage, mountain biking provides a little more for the thrill seeker. But if you want to find out more about your regional backyard, you’ll want to explore the epic trails found when you go biking in eastern Tennessee.
As a short aside, we always encourage all riders to seek out local officials or websites that can give them updates on trail conditions or park closures. Mountain Bike Project is always a great resource, but local visitors’ centers or tourist bureaus are also great resources for the most up-to-date information on park conditions and changes due to weather, seasonal runoff, and other environmental factors.
Bauxite Mountain is a hidden Tennessee gem not too far from the city of Chattanooga. It offers terrain for bikers of all skill levels with several manageable climbs and some fun flowy sections with pumps and jumps. For more experienced mountain bikers, there’s also tree-lined singletrack and a super-fast downhill section.
If you’re riding here for the first time, don’t be surprised by a few steep grades at the start of the ride. You do have to make it up to fly back down, of course! But also be aware that the trails on the mountain are open to two-way traffic. The park is outfit with “call out” signs that recommend when to shout ahead to notify other riders of your presence. Be careful to use them scrupulously to avoid collisions!
Warriors Path is a full Tennessee State Park that’s located close to Johnson City and Kingsport. It offers great intermediate and expert biking terrain. There’s quite a bit to choose from at this park, and that’s primarily because it was designed and built by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. Stacked trails give you a wide variety of alternate lines or challenge levels to choose from.
Because of this variety, however, it’s a good idea to stop at the park’s visitors’ center before proceeding to any trailheads. This is where you can pick up a detailed trail map (yes, having a paper map is always a good backup!) and get the most up-to-date information on trail conditions and any closures that could impact your chosen route.
I.C. King Park
I.C. King Park provides more than 8.25 miles of trails that loop and wind throughout this park that sits just outside of Knoxville. But the most predominantly used trail is a 5.6-mile loop along the Tennessee River and through the forest along its banks. This trail is rated easy, which makes it a great choice for the kids or even older RVers.
With a total of just 613 feet of elevation gain, this trail isn’t very strenuous and you’ll also be able to bring dogs along the trail as long as they remain on a leash. In addition, the park also offers a fishing pier, a two-acre dog park, and water access for paddling.
Another great biking trail area near Chattanooga is Raccoon Mountain. This area features biking trails for all skill levels, but one of our favorites is called Tesla’s Revenge. This trail is rated difficult because it covers a total of 19.2 miles and it traverses some of the most challenging, but also breathtaking, singletrack on the mountain.
With a nearly equal 4,200+ feet of elevation gain and loss, this loop definitely requires stamina and preparedness. It will challenge you with an average 8% grade, but you’ll be rewarded with a five-mile technical and rocky descent on your way down. If you do stop at the right moments for a break, you’ll also be able to enjoy views of the Tennessee River meandering its way through the gorge almost 1,000 feet below you.
Baker Creek Preserve
Baker Creek Preserve is located outside of the city of Knoxville and visitors will be able to choose from five multi-use trails and three more designated mountain bike downhill trails. In total, there are more than seven miles of biking trails for riders of all skill levels winding through the preserve, but one of the best-rated trails is called, simply, the Best of Baker Creek Preserve.
This trail is just over five miles long and it features 90% singletrack riding. You’ll only need to climb less than 650 feet to enjoy an equal descent and there is a family-friendly play area at the bottom of the trail system. This makes it a great choice for families with kids of multiple ages. So Mom or Dad can take one of the older kids out for a bike loop while the other plays with the younger ones at the play area.
Eastern Tennessee Good Sam Campgrounds
In order to explore some of these epic biking trails in Eastern Tennessee, you may choose to pack up your RV for a little regional staycation. So here are a few Good Sam RV parks that are conveniently located in Eastern Tennessee for access to these biking trails.
Volunteer Park Family Campground
The Volunteer Park Family Campground is located in the city of Heiskell and close to a number of great biking trails, including I.C. King Park and Curry Mountain. The park features a total of 125 spaces and 73 of them offer full hookups. They also accommodate RVs, travel trailers, and 5th wheels up to 50 feet long and have 35 pull-thru sites for lengthy rigs.
Chattanooga Holiday Travel Park
The Chattanooga Holiday Travel Park provides a total of 140 spaces, but 60 of them provide RVers with full hookups. They can accommodate rigs up to 60 feet long and provide a maximum of 50-amp electrical service. Located in the city of Chattanooga, this RV park is close to Bauxite Mountain, Raccoon Mountain, and other mounting biking trailheads.
Rocky Top Campground & RV Park
Rocky Top Campground & RV Park offers 35 spaces with full hookups and it can accommodate RVs, travel trailers and fifth-wheels up to 65 feet long. It’s located in the city of Blountville and provides close proximity to Warriors Path, Buffalo Mountain, and other great biking trails.