Three Autumn Adventures to Take Outside of Knoxville

Jeff Gunn
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Autumn is upon us, and with it comes a great range of potential weekend getaways that will keep you active and excited to explore the best the southeast has to offer.

1. Backpack Pisgah

If you are looking for a weekend getaway to push yourself and to see some fall color at the same time, check out the Art Loeb Trail in the Pisgah National Forest near Brevard, NC.  At 30.1 miles for a thru-hike, it makes quite the trip for the weekend warrior. However, because the trail is divided into several sections (with road crossings) it can be done in much shorter distances as well. The eastern end of the trail starts at the Davidson River right before the Davidson River Campground , and the western end starts from the Daniel Boone Scout Camp on the Little East Fork Road. Whether you decide to start at one of these ends and hike the entire 30 miles or simply to do an out and back on your favorite section, you will not want to miss out on this trail this fall.

2. Climb Chattanooga

Jake Wheeler

If you haven’t given Chattanooga some serious climb time, you should. With tons of options for every style and experience level, Chattanooga holds some of the Southeast’s greatest stone treasures. If you have a full weekend, why not look into staying at the Crash Pad Hostel  after a long day at the crag. With bunks as low as $28, the Crash Pad makes the perfect adventure base camp for Chattanooga visitors. Check out the RootsRated Chattanooga climbing page for all the best climbing options, but make sure not to miss out on  Tennessee Wall for some classic trad routes with a river gorge view, and Little Rock City for some of the best bouldering this side of Hueco Tanks. If the weather takes a turn for the worst, load up the car and head to one of Chattanooga’s excellent climbing gyms ( there are several to pick from ).

3. Bike Cades Cove

Lee Coursey

Cades Cove is one of the most famous tourist locations in the Smoky Mountain National Park. With expansive views of the mountains across wide animal-filled fields, the only flaw to find with Cades Cove is the traffic. With only a single-lane road (about 11 miles) taking visitors around the valley, it's no surprise that the resulting line of cars is slow moving and seemingly never ending. However, each evening the road around the Cove is gated and open only to bikes and walkers, which allows for quite the adventure. By ditching your car at the gate and riding along the road at night with a headlamp/bike light- there is no telling what you will see. Riders can either complete the 11 mile loop or simply do a short out-and-back trip. Either way, the solitude of this trip is worth experiencing. Just remember, camping in the Cove is not allowed.

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