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FRIDAY FEATURE: Hit the hiking trails after Thanksgiving

Story and photo by Susan Campbell, for Thunder Radio


Thanksgiving is best described as a holiday for “family, football and feasting.” According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American will consume 3,000 calories at the meal alone, plus drinks, desserts and appetizers, which brings total calorie count to 4,500!

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To help work off the hefty caloric intake that often accompanies Thanksgiving Day, Tennessee’s 56 state parks are offering a chance to #optoutside on Friday, Nov. 27 with guided hikes in all of the parks. The hikes are for all ages and abilities, and range from easy peaceful strolls to rugged ramblings.

More information and registration for the hikes can be found on Twitter at #thankful4hiking, or at Pre-registration is required for most hikes.

A Sampling of Middle Tennessee Hikes

Old Stone Fort State Archaeological Park in Manchester will host a hike lead by Park Manager Keith Wimberley. Details will be published soon on the website at

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South Cumberland State Park in Tracy City will host a hike lead by Park Ranger Jessie DeRight from 1-3 p.m. at the Grundy Forest Natural Area, 131 Fiery Gizzard Road, Tracy City. DeRight will share information with hikers about the plants and animals of the Grundy Forest, as well as the history of the area. This hike is 2 miles in length and is rated as moderate due to rocky terrain, exposed roots and some minor elevation change.

Burgess Falls State Park will host a hike from 9-10:30 a.m. on Nov. 27 at the head of the trail in the main parking lot, located at 4000 Burgess Falls Dr. in Sparta. The trail is about 1.5 miles round trip, and is moderately strenuous with elevation changes. Hikers will see the cascades at the head of the trail, and three waterfalls. Email to register.

Edgar Evins State Park, located at 1630 Edgar Evins State Park Road in Silver Point, will host a hike on the Millennium Trail from 9 a.m. to noon. Hikers will meet at the Millennium Trail Parking area for this 2.5-mile hike to discover the fall wonders of the park.

Fall Creek Falls State Park, 2009 Village Camp Road in Spencer, will host a Turkey Trot After Thanksgiving from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Hikers are asked to meet at the snack bar parking area in the village for a 2-mile hike to see the Fall Creek Falls waterfall.

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Rock Island State Park, located at 82 Beech Road in Rock Island, will host a hike beginning at 10 a.m. Hikers are asked to meet at the Collins River Trail parking Lot.

How to burn calories

According to estimates from, a 160-pound adult burns between 430 and 440 calories per hour of hiking. A 200-pound hiker can burn 550 calories per hour. To increase your caloric burn, add a gallon of water or another heavy object to your backpack. Hikers can also increase caloric burn by sprinting or lunging up hills, use tree branches for pull-ups, jump over logs, or turn a hike into a trail run. But, ultimately, the best part of hiking is just being outside in nature, especially with friends and family.

Ranger Jessie DeRight will lead hikers through the Grundy Forest in the South Cumberland State Park during the park’s day-after-Thanksgiving hikes. To learn more about other hikes planned, visit Twitter at #thankful4hiking, or visit Pre-registration is required for most hikes. – Photo by Susan Campbell

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