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Betheny Keller

The TVA South Holston dam is a perfect place to enjoy beautiful views and spend time in nature. There is a place to put in kayaks, canoes, or stand up paddle boards. There are picnic areas. There are trails on the TVA property with incredible views. There are areas to walk around on top of and below the dam to take in the mountain views and beautiful water. This is a place everyone in the Tri-Cities needs to see.

This is not an overly difficult hike. There are sections with a bit of an incline that could be challenging. The trail is narrow, but well maintained. The fire tower is sturdy, but a steep climb to get up. There are 360 views from atop the tower. You can see all of Kingsport from the top. Parking inside Bay’s Mountain is usually pretty easy, but there are busy days when it can be a bit more difficult to find open spots, especially near the trailhead. There is also an entrance fee to get into Bay’s Mountain.

This trail goes along a section of untouched sandy dunes and pools. There are so many birds and sea life that can be seen through here. There are dunes you can walk over and have a bit of an elevated view upon. You get a secluded feel when going for a stroll on this trail. I’d highly recommend anyone staying nearby to take the time to visit this park and trail.

This is a relatively easy trail that comes off a parking area at the top of Carver’s Gap. The trail winds through a forrest of evergreens and has multiple places that are cleared with an overlook. The views from the overlooks are astounding. All that can be seen (in the summertime) are miles and miles of rolling green forresty hills leading into and even larger expanse of Blue Ridge mountains. The trail itself is mostly flat and well maintained. There is a large amount of parking at the trailhead as well as bathrooms.

This is one of the best caves in the Tri-Cities for spelunking. It is much more untouched than Appalachian or Bristol Caverns. The cave has so much room to explore and traverse. There is a pretty well traveled trail through the cave, but it should not be relied upon as the only guidance. Going with someone who knows their way around would be advised for the first few adventures. There is a creek that runs through the cave so sections can get really muddy when it has rained. There is a porta-potty at the parking area and an admission fee charged.

This big loop trail has some interesting variation. Depending upon where you begin, the beginning is a flat gravel trail that is well maintained. The other half of the trail is a dirt trail that from my experience is well maintained. The dirt trail section has more incline in places. This trail is accessible from multiple places in Steele Creek park, but really only one in Rooster Front. This is a nice trail to walk/hike or trail run. Parking is not an issue on either side (but costs $2 at Steele Creek).

This series of waterfalls is astounding, but getting there is not an easy task. There is not much parking along the road at the trailhead, however the two times I’ve been there have not been more than one other person there. The trail down to the creek is quite easy, but once you get there it’s more difficult. The trail down to the the falls is on the opposite side of the creek and there’s no way to cross except walking through. Once you get across the creek, to the left there is a narrow trail across a very steep hill along the creek. There are multiple small waterfalls along the trail that you can stop and admire along the way to the biggest. Once you get to the top of the falls the trail down to the bottom is incredibly steep. You have to climb down roots and rock to get down. There is a large semi flat rock at the bottom you can go out onto, but it can be slippery. If you continue down there is one more smaller waterfall with a pool down at the bottom that is calm enough to swim in. There is another smaller creek that runs into this pool. You can climb up along the hill at the edge of this creek as well. The rocks are quite slippery though and it is easy to fall. There is just one 8 foot waterfall with a rock slide above it. This waterfall series is astounding to look at, but it is quite a challenge to get to. There are multiple places it is slippery and you could quite easily fall a long distance with grave consequences. This adventure would only be for those capable of traversing an uneven trail and climbing down and then back up a steep section.

The White Rock loop trail is the best way to experience all Buffalo Mountain has to offer. This trail takes you around the mountain and while White Rock has the best overlook, there are multiple places with a view. The trail is steeper and more uneven through sections so it’s not optimal for small children. The trail is rather well maintained for the most part. There are multiple creek crossings. Some crossings have bridges and others you’re just left on your own. Parking at the park has never been an issue for me. There is ample room to park along the paved road. This trail is a great option for a hike with a view not far from Johnson City.

The views of the Linville Gorge from atop this mountain are fabulous. The Gorge looks tiny from this high up perspective. The hike up to the top is not long, but it’s difficult. The trail is uneven and a steep incline. Once on top, there is a large area of rock that can be explored and climbed to experience views from different perspectives. Parking was a bit of a nightmare. There was not enough parking so people made their own parking spots, which made it even more difficult to drive around looking for parking. The parking situation is a headache, but the views from the top make it worth it.

This park has a perfect piece of secluded forrest right in the city. While hiking the loop it has the feel of being out in the middle of nowhere. There are sections where the terrain is a bit more challenging. Along the trail there are large rocks at the edge of the water that can be explored. There is lot of graffiti on the rocks that can be admired. The loop trail is not optimal for small children or those who cannot handle rougher terrain. The highlight of the trail is the overlook of the lake.

As long as you have a 4x4 vehicle, this fire tower is accessible with little challenge. The drive along the gravel mountain road is not for the faint of heart. Once you get up to the parking area it is a short walk up a steeper hill to get to the fire tower. The views from the top of the tower are great. You can see rolling Blue Ridge Mountains in all directions. The view is one of the beat in the area as you are above everything.

Access to the beauty spot is not difficult and so worth it. Parking is a very short distance from the mountain top so it is the perfect place for those physically unable to hike a further distance. A short walk up a hill and you you have plenty of space to take a seat, walk around and explore, or you can continue along the trail. The Beauty Spot is a very short section. If you continue along the trail, it goes back into thicker woods where there is not as much of a view for miles. The Beauty Spot is an excellent place to watch the sunrise and is the perfect place for small children or pets who can’t go on longer hikes.

This is not an overly difficult hike, but the views from the top of the ridge make it 100x worth it. There are lots of rocks to climb over and explore once you’ve reached the top. You have 360 views from the top, which makes it a perfect place to watch the sun rise or set. The trail is easily accessible and well maintained.

This trail is rather easy to traverse. It is a dirt trail, but it’s not difficult to hike. The trail itself is well maintained. There are wide open spaces along the trail that are rather majestic when paired with the layers upon layers of Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail itself has a bit of incline, but nothing overly steep. Along the trail you can see a variety of shrubbery and wildflowers as well as wild horses and wild cows. This trail is perfect to backpack along or go a shorter distance for a day hike. It would be suitable for older children (or super experienced little hikers) as well as dogs that are up for a bit of a challenge.

Hands down this is one of the most beautiful places on earth. This section of the Appalachian Trail leads to balds with lush green grass in the summertime that overlooks miles and miles of blue ridge mountains in all directions. The trail is well maintained. There is a small incline to get to the first bald, then there are sections with a higher incline the further you go. On the first bald there is ample space to roam around and explore (and run around singing “Sound of Music). There are some sections of trees hammocks can be placed in. There are also places to camp and have fires. Generally, there is not usually much wildlife. If you go early summer you can see the blooming Rhododendron and later summer you can forage for some wild blueberries. This is a place everyone should try to visit.

This is one of the largest waterfalls in a short drive from the Tri-Cities area. The trailhead is relatively easy to access. The trail is very well maintained and a rather simple hike. For the most part the trail is flat, however the final section leading down to the falls is rather steep making it more of a challenge. Once down at the water there is space to set bags and towels down. The water can have a bit of a strong current, but there is room to just wade around as well as to swim for those who feel comfortable. Overall, the falls is well worth the walk to get there.

This is really a series of 3 waterfalls. The first one you come to in the parking area is the more popular because it’s the easiest to access. The first falls is the tallest and has the largest pool at the bottom. The water at the bottom of the falls is pristine, but a little chilly. If you are feeling adventurous, there are places at the base of the falls you can climb up on to jump in. You can also attempt to slide down a certain section if you don’t mind a bit of a rough ride down. Along the edge of the falls there is a rather steep trail leading up the next tier of falls. There is not as much of a pool at the bottom of the second falls, but it is pretty to look at. If you’re feeling really gutsy you can climb up the edge of the falls to get to the final and smallest waterfall. The third falls is minuscule in comparison to the other two and the creek becomes really small. Overall, this is a fun area to explore on a hot summer day and it offers a cool refreshment.

This is a great easy trail with views of a secluded mountain lake. It is a very simple walk with no difficult features. If you’re lucky you may get to see some wildlife.

The lakeside loop trail is the perfect place to bike or run, but the power line trail is much more difficult and would be more for a hike. The lakeside trail is gravel with no incline so it is perfect for families and pets. The power line trail, however is a steep dirt hiking trail with subpar views. If you want an easy relaxing walk with nice views of the lake, go for the lakeside trail. If you want a semi difficult hike with little reward, head for the power line trail.

This trail is very conveniently located just outside the heart of downtown Johnson City. Sections of the trail are quite peaceful and have a nice view of the countryside and distant mountains. There are also sections where you are riding right by housing that sometimes is not the prettiest. Overall, I would recommend this trail because it is a nice little escape from the noise of Johnson City without having to go too far.

This trail is perfect for a short simple walk through the woods. The field and view of the lake and mountains at the end of the trail are out there and away from the sounds of Bristol. The field is a perfect place to sit a relax for a while or have a picnic. This trail is a wonderful place to admire the changing leaves during the fall months.

Buffalo Mountain has many trails and overlooks for day hikes. Most are simpler trails great for kids and families. There are certain sections that are steeper and may take a little more time to traverse. The views from the top overlooking Johnson City and Unicoi are like no other.

I have hiked along the AT in this area numerous times and love it. I wanted to camp for just a night on the top of the mountain for so long and finally was able to and it was a little disappointing. It may have just been the weather the day we went, but as soon as the sun set there was dense fog that rolled in. We tried sleeping in hammocks and after just an hour or two the fog had everything soaking wet. We were cold, wet, and unable to sleep. One of the things I had been looking forward to was watching the sunrise, but there was not one. The fog was so thick it just kind of lit up with no pretty sunrise. The only good thing about the experience was the people I was with. I would do it again, but would plan for a night it was forecasted to be clear and not foggy in the slightest.

The parking area off Rt. 80 and the trail are well maintained. The hike is not overly difficult, and my 5 year old sister was able to walk the entire way. The top has so much to explore from the rocks to the view. I would recommend this hike to anyone. This is one of the few trails I don’t get tired of and am always down to hike again.