Tennessee State Parks to host Day After Thanksgiving hikes

Published 11:40 am Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Tennessee State Parks offer a great alternative to the frenzy of shopping on Black Friday by hosting the annual Day After Thanksgiving hikes at parks across the state.
The guided or self-directed hikes on Nov. 24 are for all ages and abilities and range from easy strolls to rugged excursions.
Among the many options are a Nature’s Thanksgiving Hike at Hampton Creek Cove. The hike will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m., and those participating will meet at the park visitor center. The three-mile moderate to difficult hike will be along the Shell Hollow Loop Trail at Hampton Cove Creek Natural Area located only 10 minutes from Roan Mountain State Park.
Park Ranger Phil Hylen will lead the hike through some of the region’s most beautiful terrain that is teaming with late fall/early winter nature. On the trail, hikers will explore the vestiges of late 1800s and early 1900s community structures and orchards, wander through mature forests adjacent to early succession fields, maybe witness the majesty of wintering Golden Eagle on the ridges of surrounding mountains. Finally, the path will cross every so briefly with the famous Over Mountain Victory Trail where militiamen of the Watauga settlements in the 18th century marched across Yellow Mountain Gap on their way to the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.
At Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, Ranger Taylor will lead a special guided walk through the ground of Sycamore Shoals and along portions of the walking path. Hikers will meet in the picnic area beside the Visitors Center at 10 a.m. The hike will take approximately one hour.
Other state park hikes include Crystal Falls at Pickett CCC Memorial State Park. Hikers can learn about Red Clay’s role in the story of the Cherokee people and the Trail of Tears at Red Clay State Historic Park or hikers can take a two-mile hike at Bledsoe Creek State Park with multiple stops that highlight the impactful wetland, fossils, and wildlife. A vigorous hike is planned through ancient oak forests of the Woodland Ridge Trail at Warrior’s Path State Park. Hikers are urged to bring sturdy hiking shoes, a daypack, water, and snacks to eat on the trail. Parks staff will hand out granola bars, which have been donated.
Hikers may also want to support the state parks’ Trail Pack program. Each $25 Trail Pack donation provides direct funding to the Tennessee State Parks trails program.

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