Second Annual Outdoor KnoxFest Kicks Off a New Season of Outdoor Recreation

The Legacy Parks Foundation is so determined to get you outdoors to play that they're willing to take you by the hand and show you all the wild places that are literally less than a hop, skip and a jump away from downtown. That's why they're teaming up with a whole host of urban adventure-minded volunteers and businesses to bring you Outdoor Knoxfest 2013. Starting on April 20, this two-day event celebrates Knoxville's unique access to an incredibly diverse array of open-air recreation. It's a signature event of the Dogwood Arts Festival, and it's all about getting you onto a different sort of trail.

The fun stuff gets started at the Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center at Volunteer Landing. It's a great place to know because once Outdoor Knoxfest gives you a taste of all of the recreational opportunities within your reach, you'll want to make use of the center's resources to help plan your staycations, long weekends in town, or active afternoons in the sun. But the Adventure Center is just the starting point for a whole bunch of activities on land and sea—er, lake—that you can enjoy with a Frisbee, a fishing rod, a bike, a canoe or just a good pair of walking shoes.

The event is an inclusive one, with activities for everybody from folks who already know their way around Knoxville's Urban Wilderness to people who are just getting acquainted with this civic resource. And just in case you've gotten too grown up and your playground skills are rusty, the festival will host clinics to introduce or reacquaint you with some basics of outdoor fun. After all, once you've done something, the second time around is a heck of a lot easier.

Did you know that Knoxville has a disc golf course? Well, it does—and there's a clinic that will help you rediscover the joy of your Frisbee past and help you get up to speed for the Sunday singles tournament in Morningside Park. Or, if you're more interested in wading through the Knoxville area and the rivers that run through it, Fly Fishing 101 is an opportunity to learn both basic technique and how to choose the right gear. Bike riders of all ages can appreciate the basic Bicycle Maintenance class at the Outdoor Adventure Center and a complementary clinic taught on the trail under the very conditions where those skills come in handy. And if you've ever been tempted to climb a rock just because it's there, Rock Climbing 101 is just the ticket to assuage that longing. The clinics are free—all you have to do is pre-register and show up.

Many of the activities are de facto introductory courses and they're all hosted and supported by folks who love the outdoors and are almost chomping at the bit to pick you for their team. Carol Evans, the Executive Director of Legacy Parks, promises, "There'll be lots of experts around, but zero intimidation. These are folks who love the outdoors and they really want to meet you and introduce you to what they love."

Still, even the experts need to have some fun. While the South Knoxville Mountain Bike Checkpoint Race isn't much of a spectator sport, if you're up for 40+ miles of maps, checkpoints, and stiff competition, you and a partner will want to pre-register for this bipedal take on a scavenger hunt.

And there's still more on the agenda for a jam-packed weekend in the great outdoors. From Knoxville's Urban Wilderness in the south part of the city to a new singletrack trail in North Knoxville's Sharp's Ridge Memorial Park and beyond, there's no shortage of things to do. So check it out: a few of the events in Outdoor Knoxfest ask participants to pre-register, a handful of them have registration fees, but mostly it's free fun in the sun. And as you reflect on this introduction to one of Knoxville's finest civic amenities, you'll realize that the folks at Legacy Parks Foundation are really only echoing the good advice that your momma used to offer: "Hey! You kids go outside and play!"

Schedule of Events

Saturday, April 20

9 a.m. Pickel Road Rides — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

9 a.m. Urban Wilderness Trail Run — Knoxville Urban Wilderness

10 a.m. Bike Maintenance Clinic — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

10 a.m. Rock Climbing 101 Clinic — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

11 a.m. Fly Fishing 101 — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

11 a.m. Urban Wilderness Hike — Knoxville Urban Wilderness

11-4 p.m. Get Out & Play Activities — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

12 p.m. "First Time in the Woods" Mountain Bike Ride — Knoxville Urban Wilderness

1 p.m. "Where's the Trail?" South Knox Mountain Bike Ride — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

2 p.m. Disc Golf Clinic — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

2 p.m. Urban Wilderness Hike — Fort Dickerson Park

3 p.m. Fly Fishing 101 — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

3 p.m. "Bikes ‘N Blooms" Scenic Bike Ride — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

3 p.m. Advanced Mountain Bike Ride — Knoxville's Urban Wilderness

4 p.m. Get on the Greenway Runs — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

4 p.m. Group Paddle on the River — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

4-10 p.m. Twilight Criterium Road Race — CANCELLED DUE TO CONFLICT

Sunday, April 21

9 a.m. Bike Maintenance Clinic on the Trail — Knoxville's Urban Wilderness

11-4 p.m. Mountain Bike Checkpoint Race — Knoxville's Urban Wilderness

2 p.m. Sunday Singles Disc Golf Tournament — Morningside Park

2 p.m. "Where's the Trail?" North Knox Mountain Bike Ride — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

2 p.m. Urban Wilderness Scramble — Knoxville's Urban Wilderness

2 p.m. Group Paddle on the River — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center

3 p.m. "Bikes ‘N Blooms" Scenic Bike Ride — Outdoor Knoxville Adventure Center