Beautiful scenery and fascinating adventures await in McMinn County. It’s prime location offers some of the best recreation in Tennessee. Whether it’s a peaceful walk through the rambling parks such as Athens City Parks, cheering on the local baseball team at one of the many ballparks, hiking the Eureka Trail, playing a round of golf at one of the lush golf courses, or whitewater rafting on the river at the foothills of the sublime Smoky Mountains, adventure is waiting for you!

For a weekend getaway, a quick two and a half hour drive from Atlanta and Nashville, the sprawling region offers an abundance of outdoor excursions unique to the area. Plan a thrilling trip whitewater rafting the Ocoee River at the foothills of the majestic Smoky Mountains as the Olympians of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics did. 

There are a multitude of options for a weekend stroll with your family or favorite furry friend. McMinn County boasts a hearty parks system, offering park amenities unique to the region. Athens City Parks offers over four parks with outdoor activities for everyone. The largest park, Athens Regional Park is host to numerous baseball tournaments. Other amenities include a splash pad for hot days, a large playground, conference center and expo.

Diverse hiking and walking trails run through McMinn County, giving full access to the breathtaking natural landscaping and nature. Try a walk down the Storybook Trail with friends and family to read an engaging book while immersed in nature. 

Dog Parks

Athens has amenities for everyone, including your furry four-legged friends with numerous off-leash dog parks to play fetch. 

Prof Park Dog Park

The pup-friendly park is a favorite of families and dogs in Athens, and provides the perfect play area to play fetch and run.

Eureka Rail Trail

Both you and your dog will enjoy leisure walks along the shaded Eureka Rail Trail, through five miles of rural landscapes and woodlands. 


The lush landscape of McMinn County offers ample resources for excellent golf courses. Private and public courses dot the landscape, offering golf opportunities for all.  

Ridgewood Golf Course

An intriguing course, Ridgewood Golf Course features over 6,000 yards of golf amidst thick forestry and wildlife. The par 72 course is located in Athens, for easy accessibility from Knoxville and Chattanooga. 

White Oaks Golf Course

The serene and beautifully maintained public golf course provides 18 holes of fun for golfers of all abilities. The golf course supports the Athens community with a variety of tournaments and fundraisers.

Springbrook Golf & Country Club

Springbrook Golf & Country Club offers an ultimate golf experience for golfers of all skill levels. Golfing along rolling hills, wooded landscape and glistening ponds, members receive a premium experience, whether you are on the fairways or warming up on the chipping and putting greens. Throughout the year, Springbrook hosts a variety of tournaments, including the Invitational and the Member-Guest.


Outdoor enthusiasts are treated to a number of maintained hiking trails in McMinn County and the surrounding area. 

Eureka Trail

The Eureka Trail winds through Englewood and Athens and provides 4.6 miles of hiking bliss, along with horseback riding and mountain biking trails. The trail is ideal for nature enthusiasts with quaint bridges and tree covered paths. 

Storybook Trail

Enjoy a great book while walking along the creek bank on the inclusive Storybook Trail at Athens Regional Park. The trail appears to have twigs and leaves on it. But a closer glance shows it is actually made of recycled tires and is easily accessible by wheelchairs and strollers.  

Hiwassee Meadowlands Park

The alluring park in Calhoun provides amazing weekend activities for large or small groups. Adjacent to an Original Trail of Tears Route of 1838, the park offers numerous walking trails to appreciate the wildlife and landscape. A playground, picnic areas, and an outdoor pavilion to seat 250 people awaits you. The park accommodates numerous festivals including the annual Christmas display of lights. 

Denso Eco Park, Prof Powers Park, and Veterans Park

Offers quiet walks down meandering trails with sites unique to the area, including ponds filled with local fish, memorials and monuments and a blossoming orchard.


Within approximately 30 minutes from McMinn County, three tranquil lakes can be found, Tellico Lake, Watts Bar Lake and Melton Hill Lake. Optimal for fishing, swimming, boating and wildlife sightseeing, each lake offers the convenient escape from home without driving too far. 

Loch Low-Minn Scuba Diving Resort

Interested in scuba diving but cannot make it to the ocean? Try Loch Low-Minn Scuba Diving Resort in Athens. Located around a ten acre quarry lake, the resort provides ultimate scuba diving experiences to view the area’s well-known paddlefish and other wildlife. 


McMinn County is within an easy drive to natural areas that offer fun and relaxing day trips to longer natural immersion excursions.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Endless forests line the border between Tennessee and North Carolina in the famous Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visited by thousands each year, the park shines with diverse plant and animal life amongst the enchanting ancient mountains and remnants of Southern Appalachian mountain culture. 

Cherokee National Forest

The Cherokee National Forest is divided into northern and southern sections by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With more than 650,000 acres of deep forest, Cherokee National Forest is the largest expanse of public land in Tennessee and your destination for prime outdoor recreation. Create memories while whitewater rafting on one of the many rivers, scenic drives through the mountains in search of wildlife and hiking on a backcountry trail.

Athens Regional Park

Look no further for some of the most delightful hiking trails, ball fields and playgrounds within McMinn County. Athens Regional Park offers outdoor leisure for everyone! As the largest park in McMinn County, the park offers numerous walking and biking trails, the all-inclusive Storybook Trail, a multitude of baseball, softball and soccer fields and an 18-hole disc golf course. Bring your fishing rods for time at the lake or cool off at the splash pad before eating lunch at the pavilion, complete with kitchen. The Southeast Tennessee Trade and Conference Center is available for receptions, business meetings and conventions.

Rail Trips

Hop on board the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure scenic rail to journey along the serene Hiwassee River and through the Cherokee National Forest. Your experience will take you along the amazing Great Hiwassee Loop between picturesque rivers and hillsides. Memorable train rides offer seasonal gems, including bursts of autumn-colored leaves and drifting kayaks, rafts and tubes in the summer months.  

Whitewater Rafting

The Ocoee Whitewater Center is just minutes from the Ocoee Adventure Center which was constructed to host the whitewater slalom events of the 1996 Summer Olympics games. Travel the path of an olympian and joy an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip down the Ocoee River in McMinn County with a group of friends for an unforgettable afternoon. 

Ocoee River

Smoky Mountain Whitewater Rafting


As a community filled with supportive neighbors, the Athens-McMinn Family YMCA cultivates youth development while promoting healthy living for all ages. Individuals have access to resources to support learning and growth. Pickleball courts, a full size pool, an array of exercise classes, and youth sports give each community member many healthy options.