I grew up in Oak Ridge, so have ridden, hiked, kayaked, camped this area most of my life.
Recently moved back, after ten years in Atlanta/LA/New York, shooting film/video for documentaries and film. Almost forgot how much I enjoyed this area. I now live in Kingston area, on Watts Bar Lake (I'm a river rat) but have been riding Haw again, often for three hours, after I have dropped my Mom off at Sunday school.
The loop is great, and scenic. But you Mtn bikers especially, should consider exploring the primitive trails off the loop. You won't be disappointed!
Ride safe, ride happy. I may see you there!
You wouldn't expect trails like this to be so close to both Oak Ridge and Knoxville. I would definitely not rate these trails as "Hard" although there are some very steep (albeit short) climbs. There are a ton of great trails in the park other than this loop, but this one offers the best views in my opinion. Along the south edge (I forget exactly where) there are a couple picnic tables that make for an awesome lunch stop. If you go during the summer, make sure to bring some bug spray as certain sections can be pretty bad.
This was very lovely hike. We only spent about an hour and ten minutes out there due to time constraints. But it was quite beautiful. Lots of different trails to take, make it as easy or as hard as you like. My only complaint was the sound from the highway near by.
Great set of trails of varying difficulty and varied terrain. It's all here: steep rocky inclines, winding little paths flanked by wildflowers, views of lakes and mountains, bubbling brooks, lake-shore walks. Frequented by mountain bikers, but not overrun. Only downside is the highway noise from Rt 170 at start and finish. Once you get over or around the mountain, deeper into the park, its beautiful.
Melissa W. on Haw Ridge Lake Trail
This is my go-to place to cardio hike. Love it!
Great hike for tree and plant diversity! The trail runs through small wetlands, powerline right of ways, along the lake, and through some upland woods. Not much elevation change so you can really cruise on foot on this trail. Lots of ruts, roots and rocks to cause some pain to the feet if you don't have the right boots (I recommend over-the-ankle boots for stability). Mostly used by bikers but not what I would call busy on an 85 degree, sunny, beautiful Saturday in August (I'd say 15 people during the entire ~7 mile loop). A good bit of trash in the middle section of the trail along the water. Boats, cars, and train noise during most of the hike :( Would have loved more peace and quiet and less trash. Grab a trail map, lots of broken and missing signs. I really enjoyed the plant life, granting it a 4 star hike.