The drive is short, the hike is swift and the view from the top is
House Mountain State Natural Area is a hiker's paradise this
time of year, bursting with fall splendor. Brilliant hues of amber, gold
and crimson decorate the trees and cover the five miles of trails and rock
outcroppings in a soft blanket.
Perhaps the best part about House Mountain
is that it boasts the same scenic beauty of the Smokies but is much closer
to home. "Since it's only 15 minutes from campus, House Mountain is a great
afternoon getaway and a beautiful place to check out the fall colors," said
Jennifer Rice, a senior in travel and tourism management.
has long remained a secret to most, but those who have discovered it return
time and time again. Patrick Mulroy, a '95 UT graduate in landscape design,
wished he had found House Mountain sooner. "It wasn't until my senior year
when a friend turned me on to this place," he said. "After that, my dog and
I came up here every morning for three months straight."
Hikers will find
the trail head well-marked, with pocket maps to help decipher the sometimes
confusing maze of trails ranging from easy to difficult. The House Mountain
experience is guaranteed to take one's breath away, first while hiking the
vertical one-mile trek to the mountain's crest and again when the
incredible 360-degree views from the overlooks reveal an intricate
patchwork of city, farmland, rivers and ridges. Mulroy recommends
completing the loop to take full advantage of the finest fall foliage. This
route takes the hiker to the old fire tower on the west overlook, offering
substantial views of the Smokies to the north and Knoxville to the west.
Continue along the crest following the rutted four-wheel drive track and
soak in the views of the Clinch and French Broad rivers at the east
"House Mountain is the perfect hiking alternative," said Jeremy
Keyser, an environmental studies senior. "The hike is easy, the views are
awesome, and it's so much closer than the Smokies." To get to the mountain
take I-40 East to the Rutledge Pike exit. Follow 11W North for 10 miles and
look for signs on the left. House Mountain State Natural Area is open
Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to dusk.
House Mountain brings nature close to city limits
Published: Tue Nov 03, 1998 | Modified: Sat Aug 06, 2005 01:40 p.m.