Panther Creek State Park is really one of the best destinations in eastern Tennessee. Not only does it have a long, interesting history involving Cherokee Indians and intrepid pioneers, but it's also extremely beautiful and offers a wide variety of recreational opportunities. Within its 1500 acres, you'll find 17 different hiking trails, 15 mountain biking trails, and plenty of open water for fishing and paddling.
What Makes It Great
First, the hiking trails.... The 17 different trails at Panther Creek add up to about 30 miles altogether. You'll find something as easy as the mile-long self-guided Road to Recycling Trail, to something as strenuous as the 1.9 mile Point Lookout Trail, which gains about 1,000 feet in elevation (and looks out on the islands below). Basically, you've got options, and you'll be able to find whatever suits your fancy on any given day- whether it's a tough trail run or a family stroll. If you're more interested in mountain biking, you've got options there as well. Though bikers are only offered half of what pedestrians get, there's still something to be had for riders of all skill levels. You can introduce the little ones to the sport along the easy Old Farm Loops or you can get in a solid workout on the 2-mile Trout Lilly Trail. If you don't want to bother with trails of any kind, then you can hit the open water on Cherokee Lake's 30,000 acres. You can fish for the annually stocked Striped Bass or you may even catch a 25 lb Rock Bass. Or you can take out your canoe, kayak, or stand up paddleboard and paddle out to one of the many islands that dot the water.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone! Whether you are looking for an adventure paddle to the islands on the lake, are looking for a nice trail run, or just want to get outside with family and friends, this park is for you.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are campgrounds within the park for around $20 a night and a site can be reserved here.