Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area is 331 acres of open space with urban wilderness trails adjacent to iJams Nature Center. Bicyclists, runners and hiking enthusiasts enjoy challenging trails and views of the Tennessee River any given day of the year, but the summer months are something special. July brings out wildflowers, bees and field upon field of giant sunflowers.
The sunflowers are truly spectacular and they also serve a purpose. TWRA managers annually plant crops for wildlife management. The sunflower fields are beneficial for attracting Mourning Doves, Gold Finches, Northern Cardinals, Indigo Buntings and other songbirds. In addition to songbirds, visitors should keep an eye out for deer and turkey.
But by far, the golden display itself offers a memorable visit for those in-the-know.
You can access the area from a cedar-lined dirt road off McClure Lane, from Burnett Creek Road or via iJams Nature Center. A portion of the City of Knoxville’s 3.5-mile Will Skelton Greenway, which begins at Island Home Park, also runs through the Forks of the River Wildlife Managment Area.
Forks of the River WMA is managed for hunting and habitat conservation by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency. That means nature lovers should be aware that the interior trails will be closed to non-hunters during hunting season (Sept.-Feb./April-May).