History on display along Lenoir City greenway
Ben Pounds knoxnews.com
There are many greenways in Knoxville. Yet, people wanting a paved trail through the woods need not head all the way to downtown for it. Beyond Knox County's southwest border, there's a paved path that's scenic. Or to quote my girlfriend and frequent hiking partner, Yvonne Rogers, "ideal."
Town Creek Greenway in Lenoir City is great on foot as well as on bicycles and scooters. None of it is industrial at present, but it has ruins of Lenoir City's industrial past, a time when two small stone dams stopped the creek's flow and Town Creek itself powered mills.
Town Creek Greenway starts at Highway 11, also known as Broadway, at a clearly marked sign across from a Pilot gas station. From there, it curves downhill to meet with Town Creek, for which it is named.
The path from here goes upstream along Town Creek, allowing walkers to see its eddies and hear its chatter. Early on, the stream flows below the well-arranged stones of a dam, overgrown with moss and shrubs, but still recognizably sturdy after all its years. Over the years, the water gradually made its way to the right side of the dam. According to Steve Harrelson of the Lenoir City Department of Parks and Recreation, this dam's reservoir was a popular place for swimming in the 1950s and '60s.
After passing a playground across the street, the path brings hikers to another old stone wall, this one supporting an embankment above a broad stretch of the creek. It's perfect as a place for stopping and looking down. This particular old dam was near the site of an old flour mill.
The trail crosses a park with a basketball court and several white structures that look like children's soccer goals, although I've only ever seen them being used as structures for passers-by who hang off of them. A skate park is also nearby.
When we walked here, recently, the white skin of tulip poplars shined against the bright blue of the sky. Trees leaned out above the stream. Robins fluttered between branches.
Kudzu overwhelms both sides of the bank along the next section, its winter brown vines making the forest a tangle of covered shapes.
Town Creek continues over mossy terraces of rock, before ending at 1.7 miles in the parking lot of Kingston Pike Baptist Church. Lenoir City Middle School is also nearby.
Because of its route connecting a highway to a middle school, the greenway seems well-traveled. We saw dog-walkers, joggers and parents with children in scooters and strollers. It's definitely worth checking out if you're in the area.
Town Creek Greenway
Location: Lenoir City
Length: 1.75 miles one way
Difficulty: some hills. Wideness of the trail allows for easy passing