The Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park is a pocket of Polk County. A county that has hundreds of miles of hiking trails. This year Tennessee State Parks are encouraging people to get outside and hike the day after Thanksgiving.

"And so at Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park we're going to be offering a hike on the John Muir Trail. So at 9:00 am if you meet at our office, we're all going to take a short drive over to the John Muir trail and hike alongside the majestic Hiwassee River," said Park Manager Angelo Giansante.

Giansante says anyone who shows up to the Gee Creek office at 9:00 a.m on November 29th is welcome to join the hike. 

"It's a three-mile hike, so we're expecting it to take between two and two and a half hours. We go at a leisurely pace and take breaks," said Giansante. 

He says the free hike is offered to inspire more people to come out and enjoy the park. 

"We want to cover everything to inspire you to get outdoors more," said Giansante. "So we're going to cover things such as water safety, we're going to talk about animals, the ecosystem." 

Giansante says the best part about these hikes is watching families come together and learn about the park.

"People believe that this park is their park, which is how it should be so they want to come show their relatives from far away what it's like at our park, they play on the playground, it's just nice to see people enjoying our resources," said Giansante.

If you want to find out about a hike in a park near you, click here


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You’re in luck. Tennessee’s state parks are offering free hikes on Friday, the day after the food-filled holiday.

Officials say all 56 state parks will offer a variety of hikes, in easy terrain or more rugged areas. Some are led by a guide.

The after-Thanksgiving hikes are part of a series of free hikes offered by the state’s parks.

Parks officials say more than 6,500 people have taken a free hike this year in Tennessee. That’s about double the number of participants from all of 2018.

For more information, visit the Tennessee state parks’ website at tnstateparks.com.

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