Maryville, Tennessee, is located in the foothills of the Great Smoky mountains and just southwest from Knoxville. This region of the country is full of outdoor hiking and backpacking opportunities. With the Great Smoky Mountain National Park just a few minutes away from town, Maryville is visited by tourists and outdoor enthusiasts year round. This area is home to a few of the regions most active hiking clubs with members from all over the United States.
Great Smokies 900 Miler Club
The 900 Miler club, founded in 1995 by Lou Murray is an association of hikers and backpackers from the local Maryville community and across the country. Individuals have the opportunity to join the club if they have hiked all 900 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. The park's visitors' center sells a map of the park and its 900 trails for $1.0; however, well more than 900 miles of trail have been hiked in the park. In fact, all of the 900 Miler club members have hiked no less than 1,092 miles, and most members average 1,500 miles of trail before turning in their maps for membership. Members pay an initial fee of $15 and are given a certificate, patch and T-shirts.
Great Smoky Mountain Hiking and Adventure Group
The Great Smoky Mountain Hiking and Adventure Group is a hiking club available to anyone who can participate in two Sunday or Saturday hikes per month in eastern Tennessee. Based out of Maryville and nearby Knoxville, members live all over the state of Tennessee and some from as far away as Florida. The club meets two to thrr times per year for camping and hiking events and offers backcountry camping outings as well. Hiking and meetings take place throughout eastern Tennessee's parks and national forests and the club also offers First Aid and CPR classes. To join, you must first join Meetup.com and then fill out an application and pay a small fee.
Founded in 1981 by a group of Maryville College students in Maryville, the Foothill Striders are a hiking, running and biking club with members ranging from senior citizens to young pre-teenagers. This club is a local non-profit organization and holds many special events, monthly meetings and sends out a monthly newsletter for members. The organization is dedicated to increasing awareness of natural resources and promoting a healthy style of living. The proceeds from events are usually given to charity or to help fund local community projects and schools. In fact, two scholarships of $1,250 each are given annually from the proceeds of the Scholars Run.
Article Written By Jeremiah Blanchard
Jeremiah Blanchard has been writing professionally since 2006, specializing in topics related to nature, the environment, conservation and philosophy. His work has appeared in activist columns on Socyberty and Authspot. Blanchard studied art at William Carey College and history at the University of Southern Mississippi.