A Little Late to the Party

river

As the seasons moved on to spring, I was looking for a new hike. After looking through some of the hikes listed in Outdoor Knoxville, I saw the River Bluff Trail, which winds along the western side of the Clinch River, just south of Norris Dam. The description mentioned this as a great opportunity to see spring wildflowers. Wildflowers are always good subjects for photographs, so that seemed like a perfect idea.

However, my spring weekends became full of equally fun activities and events, leaving little room for hiking. So, by the time I got the opportunity, it was already well into May. By this point, the chances were that the time of the wildflowers had come and gone.

I saw no reason to decide not to go, however. I just went ahead one Saturday morning and headed up towards Norris Dam. I had tried to do some hiking around there before, but had been stopped by a particularly rainy day. The road to the trailhead could have been a bit tricky to find, but in this case, Google Maps was my friend. I got to the trailhead and parked with no problems. The parking lot is not very big, so I'd recommend going early or off-season to be sure you have a place to park. I was fortunate in that there was only one other vehicle present.

I followed the loop trail, which is about 3.2 miles overall. I was correct in that the wildflowers had already bloomed, but the trail was very very green. There were ferns aplenty along most of the trail, and the overall foliage was extremely thick. It was a beautiful and easy trail leading along the upper banks of the river, and then looping back along the riverside.

The only major event on the trip was a siren that went off a couple of times. I had been listening to a podcast at the time, and I had wondered what that sound meant in the context of the podcast, until I realized that it was coming from outside my headphones. I'm still not sure what it was, but I assume that it was an alert from the dam for some reason.

I'll try this again next year, a bit earlier in March or April, to see if I can catch the wildflowers. But, it's still a quick hike in nice surroundings.

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