Local parks gearing up for National Trails Day

Holly Viers • May 28, 2019 at 9:30 AM

It’s almost time to lace up your hiking boots and enjoy the great outdoors during National Trails Day.

An annual event created by the American Hiking Society, National Trails Day gives people an opportunity to connect with nature and learn more about their local parks. This year’s event will be held Saturday, June 1, and two of the region’s state parks will offer special activities to celebrate.

Warriors Path State Park

From 8:30-11 a.m., Ranger Chelsea will lead a Natural Trails Day bird walk along a National Recreational Trail. Guests will travel through rich green meadows and woodlands and learn the names and habitats of the trail’s feathered inhabitants.

Participants should come dressed for the weather and for hiking over some rocky and uneven terrain. Wear good walking shoes and bring along some water, a snack and binoculars, if you have them. Meet at the park’s mountain bike trail parking lot.

The park will host several other trail-related activities throughout the day. For more information, call (423) 239-8531 or visit tnstateparks.com/parks/warriors-path.

Natural Tunnel State Park

Trails come in a variety of forms, whether they are blueways, underground trails or hiking trails. Paddle down the Clinch River or get low as you follow the path underground during one of the park’s wild cave tours.

8:30 a.m. — Cherokee Canoe Trip: Enjoy a five-and-a-half mile float down the scenic Clinch River and view a variety of aquatic life, from alligator gar to freshwater mussels. At the halfway point, cool off in the river with a swim. Participants must be at least 10 years old and wear appropriate footwear; no flip-flops, Crocs or sandals are allowed.

2 p.m. — Wild Cave Tour of Bowling Cave: Explore the underground world of caves and their magnificent features by crawling through crevasses and waddling through tunnels. Guests will be given a helmet with an LED light, along with gloves and knee pads. This program is open to anyone age 8 and over, and participants should expect to get dirty during exploration. Appropriate pants and close-toe shoes are required, and guests must use park gear.

The cost for each of these events is $15 per person or $12 per person for a group of four or more, and preregistration is required. Participants should meet at the Stock Creek Interpretive Center. To register or to learn more, call (276) 940-2674.