Lamar Alexander Rocky Fork State Park, Exit 23, 501 Rocky Fork Road, Flag Pond, TN 37657.
No fee. I’m guessing this used to be just Rocky Fork Park and somebody wanted to change it to Lamar Alexander, but somebody else didn’t want to change it at all, so they compromised.
We hiked Rocky Fork Trail to Flint Creek Trail 1.5 miles out. Easy trail, used to be a road I’m guessing, dirt and gravel. We climbed roughly 350 feet in 1.5 miles, then we tried the Whitehouse Cliffs Trail only did .25 miles. We climbed about 300 feet in quarter mile on that trail! It was still going up, up, up, but the sun was setting so we turned around. Several other trails. Absolutely beautiful creek, and surprisingly green in early February due to abundant laurel or rhododendron; embarrassed to say I don’t know the difference between the two.
This is just outside Ashville, so you have plenty of places to choose from for roadside runs and hikes.
Seven Islands State Birding Park, Exit 402, 2809 Kelly Lane, Kodak, TN.
No fee. Ten-fifteen or so minutes off the highway. Pretty much flat, open country. It’s a bird watching preserve, so I’d bet there’s lots of different birds. I can tell the difference between a turkey, a pigeon, and turkey vulture, but that’s about it. Trails are fairly well marked. We took the Seven Islands Loop Trail and did about 3.5 miles.
UT Arboretum, Exit 117, Oak Ridge, 14.4 miles off highway, so it could take more than 15 minutes
Free. 8 am- dusk. This is a nice place. Seven miles of trails. Looks like it is just hiking.