By Alli Hill
There’s nothing quite like a good hike to get your heart pumping while you take in the sights and sounds of Mother Nature. As a bonus, a good hike can be as energizing for your mind as it is for your body, helping you clear your head and escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. If you’re looking for more than a walk in the woods and want to challenge yourself just enough to get a good workout, skip the treadmill and embark on these five energizing hikes in Tennessee.
This scenic hike travels nearly eight miles up to the summit of Mount Le Conte and is fairly difficult, but the first leg of the trip to famed Arch Rock is just challenging enough to get your blood racing. This portion of the out-and-back trail parallels beautiful babbling creeks and features a shady canopy. You’ll traverse a gentle grade all the way to Arch Rock, where the trail winds its way under the rock up a steep set of steps. Enjoy the views, then make your way back down the often-slippery steps and enjoy a mostly downhill trek back to the to the trailhead.
Located in scenic Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains, Abrams Falls takes you five miles round-trip. The trail features moderately difficult terrain. Given its location within Cades Cove, this hike is arguably one of the most scenic in the area, especially with the rewarding views of Abrams Falls at the turnaround point.
If you want an energizing hike but don’t have much time, the .8-mile River Trail at Burgess Falls is calling your name. This gorgeous trail is one of the state’s most popular, given its breathtaking views of four lovely waterfalls along the way. It’s also a well-known birding spot so you’ll have plenty of company on your trek.
Views of the waterfalls and gorge are reason enough to make a trip here, but it’s also a prime spot for a somewhat challenging hike. There are two routes to take you down into the gorge, a one-mile trail and a 1.5-mile trail. Each one has steep descents, raised tree roots, boulders, and other challenges to put your muscles to the test.
Located in Percy Warner Park, this 4.5-mile loop is a favorite among hikes and runners alike. Set against a wooded backdrop, there’s little to distract you from enjoying a peaceful walk through the woods. There are plenty of scenic spots, steep ascents and descents, uneven terrain, and other challenges that make for an enjoyable yet productive hike.