Norris Dam State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts with its stunning natural beauty and varied terrain. With miles of hiking trails, it can be hard to decide where to start. Check out these three trails at Norris Dam State Park, listed from easiest to hardest. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced hiker, these trails offer something for everyone.
Easy Trail: An easy trail in Norris Dam State Park is the Story Book Trail. The trail is half a mile one way and runs parallel with Norris Lake for stunning views. The trail also features panels of a children’s storybook, so it’s a great trail for families or those hiking with younger ages. The trailhead is next to Norris Dam, so its easy to find and offers plenty of parking. Picnic tables are available all around the park, so we recommend packing a lunch and making an afternoon of it.
Moderate Trail: The Elkins Trail is the perfect option for those looking for something a little more moderate. Located atop the park’s highest point near the rim of the West campground, the trail is 2.25 miles and makes a loop, starting and ending off of the Chuckmore Trail. This trail gradually descends down to the back of a cove on Norris Lake and then ascends back up to the rim. The beginning of the trail system is across from the Canteen on the West side of the park (see map here). The Elkins Trail is also a bicycle-friendly trail, so be on the lookout for riders.
Difficult Trail: If you’re looking for a challenging trail, check out the Lake View Trail. It is 4.75 miles one way. It follows along Norris Lake and has two backcountry sites off of it. Along the trail are remnants of the many old homesteads that once rested on the ridges before Norris Dam was built and the valley below was flooded. The best place to access Lakeview is at the Storybook Trailhead by the dam, and hike Storybook, Christmas Fern, and Tall Timbers to start on Lakeview. Be aware that Lake View is a multi-use trail that allows horses and bicycles.
A few things to keep in mind: the trails are well maintained and well-marked throughout the park, but we always recommend stopping by the park office and picking up a trail map.
Along the way you may see a variety of wildlife including deer, fox, birds and possibly some wild turkeys so have your camera ready.
If you want to make it an overnight stay or weekend get-a-way, Norris Dam State Park offers two full campgrounds, back country sites for tent camping and has a variety of cabins to choose from. Find out more about lodging at the park here.
In conclusion, Norris Dam State Park offers some of the best hiking trails in the area, with options for hikers of all levels of experience. Whether you're looking for a leisurely stroll through the woods or a challenging hike with stunning views, Anderson County has something for everyone.