I have walked and biked this greenway a number of times, but have not taken many pictures yet, but do have a few. I will add more when I take them, hopefully soon.
The Melton Lake Greenway is about 5.6 miles long according to the greenway map/webpage. It is all paved and runs along Melton Lake which is used by many human rowers and many ducks, and a Heron, I believe.
The trail is paved and runs from the Oak Ridge Turnpike and Elza Gate Park to the western end of Haw Ridge Park.
Starting at Elza Gate, which I am told was the primary entrance to Oak Ridge, the Secret City, in the 1940s, there is a Worthington Cemetery trail which is about .5 miles and is more of a natural trail. I have done this short trail once and one time with my son. The last time the trail was overgrown in places, so some it we saw, some of it, we did not see. I will probably talk more about this trail later in time, but it is a nice, but unkept trail. The East Tennessee Wildflowers website has some pictures of the cemetery trail and some of the Melton Lake Greenway also. Do take a look at their pictures, as there is some of the rowing and a number of the Lake Melton area.
As you walk towards Emory Valley Road and the greenway there, you first walk along a subdivision and the Riverside Grill. For me the Riverside Grill, somewhat diminishes the view with their huge sign by the trail, but the Grill itself has a great view of the lake, if you go in for a bite to eat. I have been there once, by myself on my birthday, for a free birthday lunch, but will have to go back again to review it. The prices are a bit more expensive, but the menu looks reasonably good to me.
Next you will see the newly built playground at Melton Lake and the New China Palace restaurant which I have reviewed, and the area where many of the ducks hang out and the rowing competitions are held. My main complaint is I don’t understand how a city expects people to bring their young children to play in a park, where there is no bathroom other than a port-a-poty. The last time I used one of those port-a-poty bathrooms, there was no hand sanitizer, but luckily I keep some in my belt pouch, and I used the last little bit of toilet paper. Now understand, I moved here from Wisconsin, where our parks almost always had a small park structure with bathrooms, even if they didn’t have paper towels to dry your hands. They had running water and soap typically. Here, I can hardly even find a port-a-poty in the parks, but now most of them have such. Earlier in the year, many of the parks did not.
You can also now rent kayaks, paddle boats and bicycles from Adventure Outdoors Kayak & Bike Rentals. I see some standup paddle boarders on their facebook page. Haven’t seen that on Lake Melton yet. Where we moved from had an business that rented out canoes, kayaks and some unusual bicycles and we rented there a few times, but we have not done so yet here in TN. We intend to do that at some point, but they don’t have Sunday hours and we tend to either do Sunday or Saturday and Saturday afternoon is a music lesson in Turkey Creek. Here is a photo I took of where you rent the boats and such..
At this point in the trail, you will start seeing monkey bar style things along the trail. This is some exercise equipment for doing different stretches and strength training exercises. There is some stepping platforms, some bars for doing chin ups, some metal platforms for doing crunches/situps, some bars for doing pushups, etc. My son and I tried a few of these things and I am impressed that he can do some chin ups/pullups. He does a few in our basement on occasion now. Guess that is something 15 year old boys like to do, I sure don’t! I couldn’t do a pull up/chin up to save my life! But it is fun to try, if I don’t think about others watching me.
Then comes the Lake Melton hill, oh my gosh is that thing large when I am trying to bicycle up it. Yes, I can bicycle up it, but I put my bike in it’s lowest gear possible and I swear, I am biking slower than I can walk it by the time I reach the top viewing spot with bench. I love that they have a bench ontop of that long climb. If I want I can climb off my bike, sit for a minute and drink some of my water that I carry with me, or eat a granola bar or something. One time when I went up the hill, I saw a card from one of the rowers, I think it was, in an envelope and plastic bag to keep it from getting wet, as a cheer someone up kind of card. A very nice random act of kindness. I read it and put it back where I found it for someone else to find. Maybe someday I should leave one up there and say congratulations you made it up the hill and are still alive! 🙂 Hmmm, thought my son and I took a picture from up here of some of the really large spider webs, but not seeing it right now in my photo library, but we have a very large photo library.
Continuing on, as you near the power company across the river and Haw Ridge park, you come to a spot in the trail where the pavement is a bit different, but I can’t find an image online or in my pictures, as I am a much slower walker with the camera and don’t tend to make it this far with camera walking from my home. This is a very pretty area, one of my favorites. You have a bit of water on both sides of the trail with the pavement between and there are rocks between the trail and the water, which my son loves to pick up and throw out. Some are huge and he was more dropping them into the water as they were too big to toss and creating some huge splashes. One time while I was walking here, I saw two deer and they took off running and I heard one jump into the water as it ran away from me. We have also seen a turtle in the middle of the trail here and never could figure why that turtle seemed to panting and just laying in the middle of the trail. I was a bit worried someone on a bike would run him over and hurt him and themselves. In the end, I tried to give pour some of my water near him to drink, but he didn’t drink any. We moved him to the side of the trail and left him alone at that point.
From here you can keep on going until you reach the Haw Ridge trails, which I have only done a little bit of so far. I almost wish I could talk someone into going with me on the Haw Ridge trails, but we shall see. May talk my son into coming along again, but now that summer is over, we won’t have as much time to walk together. This summer, he was made to walk or exercise with me, most Tuesdays and Thursdays, as that was the days my schedule allowed and for a 15 year old boy he didn’t seem to mind much.
Overall, I really do like the Melton Lake Trail. It is very nice and tends to be quite clean, as this video shows you who does a fair amount of trash pickup along Lake Melton. I have done a little along Lake Melton, but tend to stick to the Emory Valley Greenway, for the same reason I don’t take as many pictures along Lake Melton, takes me awhile to pickup trash and walk that far. I have talked to this man a time or two, as he saw me picking up some trash along the trail, but he rather chastised me for not picking it up that day and I was walking some of the Haw Ridge trail, which by the way, had some trash along it and ugg, did I groan and frown. I am glad that the Haw Ridge parking lot did get a port-a-poty, as if I decide to walk from home, I can stop off at the one near the park and then say 3 miles later (maybe 4 miles, unsure) at the Haw Ridge parking lot bathroom. Part of what limits how long I walk, is bathrooms along the trails, so this rather bugs me.