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.