The heavily forested, 3,687-acre park lies on the southern shore of TVA's Norris Reservoir approximately 25 miles north of Knoxville. Visitors to the park will find a wealth of activities to meet any interest from guided nature tours to backcountry camping.
This is one of my favorite hikes near Knoxville because of its close proximity, lack of traffic, and dog friendliness. The hike is fairly flat for most of the trip. You get to cross Big Ridge Dam, see a couple of old cemeteries, see an old grist mill replica, and hike through a valley along a creek and along Big Ridge Lake for much of the trip. There are many more trails at Big Ridge that allow you to vary the distance and sights in your hike as well.
Jason M. on Big Ridge State Park Five Mile Trai...
This is a great trail and I have hiked this many times. it has a few steep climbs but isn't too difficult. Spring is a great time for finding wildflower viewing along the trail and there are several good spots to sit, relax and take in the beauty of Norris lake. If you love backpacking, then there is even a good campsite along the trail to make a quick and easy overnight adventure.
Melissa W. on Big Ridge State Park Five Mile Trai...
One of my favorite places to hike! The mushrooms and frogs are amazing during late fall!
kimberly w. on Big Ridge State Park Five Mile Trai...
Giving this a 4 star at the moment. They have a new superintendent after ages with the old one . Improvements have already begun. Work on trails , very little trash , no trees down at the moment . Hopefully it will regain its former glory. One of my all time favorite family parks.
I did the hike today with my husband who is an experienced hiker (I am not). The 5 mile loop was very challenging for me. The trail was over grown once you got into it a bit (about a mile or so up), but it was not wet so I wasn't too worried. After a nice rain I would not be on this trail because some of the path is very narrow and steep. There was very little litter at all, Mostly it was found at a little overlook of lake & by the dam on West Dark Hollow. If I was to do this hike again and I plan on it. I will also wear a swim suit and pack some water shoes because the lake is easily accessible and looks so inviting! I love this park, it's not as well maintained as some in the Smoky's but there isn't nearly the traffic either.
Took a youth group out in the summer of 2012. I walked the trail 5 times that day with 5 separate groups. It was a great hike! Will do again, but alone. Big Ridge hasn't the money to keep up the trail all the time, and I think if we are to enjoy a trail, we should volunteer to help keep it up. Best time as with every hike is in the cool of the morning with the sun peeking through the leaves. So nice to have this close to home!
A disappointing hike. Trails are littered with trash. residents use trails for recreational drugs/drinking. I hiked this trail in 1994 & then again in 2010 hoping for improvement. The park has deterrated further. Hike can be a challenge and good opp to learn orientation for beginners. Bad trail for nature lovers. All litter & destruction located was reported.
On July 4, 2011, my father and I went hiking at Big Ridge State Park in Maynardville, TN (about 25 miles from my parents homes). The area of land and the creation of the park have an interesting history. Toward the end of the 18th century (1791), Henry Sharp, Nicholas Gibbs (the name sake of the high school I attended in Tennessee), Levi Hinds, and the Graves family settled in the region known as East Tennessee. The land of Big Ridge State Park was on land ceded to the United States by the Cherokee Nation in the Holston Treaty. At the foot of Big Ridge these families built Sharp's Station. Just off of the five mile Big Ridge loop trail is "Indian Rock." This is where Peter Graves was attacked and killed by Indians on 13 November 1794. Peter Graves was the first person buried in the Sharp's Station cemetery.
In the mid-1930s, the Tennessee Valley Authority purchased sections of land in East Tennessee. Included in the property purchase was what would become Big Ridge State Park, which was one of the five demonstration parts constructed by the TVA.
We hiked the five mile loop trail at Big Ridge. The loop trail is not a particular trail but pieces of other trails. In total, there are eleven trails at Big Ridge. We started on the Lake Trail (1.5 miles). This trail begins easy but has a moderate climb. Before crossing over the Big Ridge Dam, we hiked up to Loyston Lookout. This involved a climb of several hundred feet to a view of Loyston Sea (the widest part of Norris Lake), which flooded the city of Loyston, first settled in the early 1800s by John Loy, after the completion of Norris Dam in the mid-1930s. We then proceeded onto West Dark Hallow Trail (1.7 miles).This trail was once a country road along which settlers made their homes.
We came to the junction of West Dark Hallow, Big Valley, East Dark Hallow and Indian Rock Loop trails near the Langely Cemetery and headed back to the park entrance. All in all it is a good trail to hike.
This hike is one of my favorites because it's so close to home, but it really has something for everyone. Part of the trail follows and crosses the lake, another part follows a stream, at the top of the ridge are beautiful views, and no part is too steep for even a beginner to accomplish. Definitely get a map to make sure you follow the right turns to finish the loop. We've been having a lot of rain in East Tennessee lately so when I went the trails were pretty soggy (by that I mean, in some places I thought I lost the trail and started following the creek!), but it's still doable!