A nationally rated downhill mountain bike trail opened in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness this month, furthering Knoxville’s growing reputation as a significant mountain bike destination.
Devil’s Racetrack Downhill Trail is a professional designed and constructed 0.8 mile extreme downhill trail funded by a $100,000 Bell Helmet grant awarded to the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club (AMBC) through an online national vote. With more than 26,000 votes cast, Knoxville beat out Asheville and San Francisco to get the trail built in South Knoxville on the Baker Creek Preserve, property donated by the Wood family to Legacy Parks Foundation.
In addition to Devil’s Racetrack, two additional multi-use trails were officially opened — Best Medicine and Pappy’s Way. Those two trails — plus seven opened earlier this month — were funded by a $200,000 Recreational Trails Program grant from the Tennessee Department of Conservation. Five of the eight trails are for both hiking and biking and include a virtually flat beginner trail. The three dedicated downhill mountain bike trails introduce a different style of trail into the Urban Wilderness trail system.
Legacy Parks and AMBC have worked closely with the International Mountain Bike Association in developing trails and enthusiasm for mountain biking in the region. An IMBA grant to AMBC funded the design of the trail system on Baker Creek Preserve. The Bell Built grant continued the partnership with IMBA.
The opening Devil’s Racetrack brings the total number of trails to eight on Baker Creek Preserve, adding seven miles of trail to the existing 42 miles in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. Earlier this month Legacy Parks and AMBC opened the Red Bud Bridge connecting the Baker Creek Preserve to the existing Urban Wilderness South Loop system. The bridge was funded entirely by private dollars by Legacy Parks Foundation and the AMBC through a grant from REI and private donations.
Over the past year the 100-acre property donated to Legacy Parks Foundation by the Wood family has been transformed into an outdoor recreational destination with nearly seven miles of multi-use and downhill mountain bike trails, a bike pump track plus an adventure playground under construction.
Last month Legacy Parks opened the Cherokee and Baker Creek Trails across the street from Baker Creek Preserve connecting South Doyle Middle School into Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness. The trail construction was the legacy project for the Professional TrailBuilders Association when they held their national conference in Knoxville. These trails and boardwalk over Baker Creek create not only a recreational amenity for the students but also provide a safe walkway to the school.
Trail names at Baker Creek Preserve reflect the terrain and history of the property. Devil’s Racetrack and Floyd Fox pay homage to the days of moonshine in south Knoxville. The Barn Burner Downhill trail terminates at the location of the old barn on the property. Sycamore Loop winds through some of the largest native trees in the area. Cruze Valley Run descends into the valley located in the heart of the property in the wide-open meadow between the two ridges. Pappy’s Way treks up to Pappy’s Point and pays thanks to the property donor.