outdoor adventures

Adventure Rides

The Southern Dozen are twelve rides based in Johnson City that travel all around the region. Each one is an adventure in itself that will take you through winding curves, breathtaking natural scenery, historic landmarks, local points of interest, and fun attractions. Whether you feel like exploring caves, seeing wolves, touring historic sites, leaning into heart-pounding curves or just taking in the views, you’ll find a ride that’s exactly what you’re looking for.

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Appalachian Caverns

Take a timeless stroll through the ever-changing caverns and learn their amazing history. There is also room to enjoy a picnic or stay a while in the campground.

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Appalachian Trail

Though it hugs the North Carolina border for nearly 200 miles, the Appalachian Trail doesn’t officially cross into Tennessee until it reaches the Nolichucky River at the Nantahala Outdoor Center (about four miles outside Erwin). On this section, elevations frequently exceed 5,000 feet.

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Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium

A 3,550-acre nature preserve with planetarium located 3 miles off I-26. Live animal habitats, hiking, biking and public programs weekends and daily during the summer.

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Blackthorn Club

Welcome! Blackthorn Club is a golf, tennis, dining and social sanctuary nestled in the foothills of northeast Tennessee. A golf course designed by Arthur Hills, twice named Golf Digest “Architect of the Year”, is only the beginning of what makes Blackthorn Club a first class club. Blackthorn Club is committed to providing world-class recreation and entertainment along with the finest club service. With some of the most extraordinary scenic views the Mountain Empire has to offer, Blackthorn Club offers an incomparable club experience.

 

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Blue Hole Falls, Carter County

Take Highway 91 east (NE) out of Elizabethton, TN about 10 miles. Turn left onto Panhandle Road at the brown national forest sign for "Blue Hole."

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Boone Lake

Supports white, striped, hybrid, smallmouth and largemouth bass, bluegill and crappie.

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Bristol Caverns

A journey through the caverns will take you through millions of years of timeless beauty. Largest and most beautiful in the Smoky Mountain region. Guided tours about every 20 minutes, a year-round attraction.

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Buffalo Mountain Park

The developed paths are reached from the south side of Johnson City by the road leading to the radio and TV towers atop the mountain. From I-26 take 321 west into Johnson City, left on Cherokee Road, immediate left on Buffalo Road, right on Rolling Hills, right on High Ridge Road. Offers 8.2 miles of moderate hiking trails; a 1,500-foot rise from picnic area to the top can be strenuous. White Rock Trail is a very strenuous, three-mile hike. All mileage is measured from picnic area.

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Carver Park

Established in 1958, Carver Park is a 6-acre neighborhood park. Amenities include two basketball courts, fitness trail, multi-use court, pavilion, playground, and recreation center. The recreation center is equipped with a gymnasium, weight room, library, meeting space, teen room, community room, arts and crafts area, and kitchen. A new recreation facility was dedicated in 2005.

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Civitan Park

The paved walking/jogging track joins Lions Park and Civitan Park and measures 1.57 miles.

Civitan Park was established in 1963 on the site of a former landfill. This 33-acre community park has undergone a total renovation for primary use as a soccer facility in a park setting. The development includes five lighted soccer fields, concession area with restrooms, volleyball court, playground and a walking trail connecting Civitan to Lions and Rotary parks.

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Cool Rides

Top of the Roan, Spelunker Tour

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Davy Crockett Birthplace

 

The celebrated frontiersman, warrior and backwoods statesman was born on the banks of the Nolichucky River in Limestone, Tennessee. Visit the restored cabin, which is furnished in the style of the late 1700s.

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Easy Rides

Places of the Past, The Vinegar Pie, Music to Your Ears

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ETSU Recreation Fitness Trail

The track offers 0.64 mile per lap.

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Founders Park

With an amphitheater for live music and entertainment, a manmade river rock stream, sculptures, art displays and more, Founders Park is one of Johnson City's newest and most popular outdoor attractions.

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Historical Rides

Mountain Ribbons, Howling Wolves, Stars & History, East Tennessee History Tour, Two Rivers, One Mountain and Ten Million Trout Eggs

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Johnson City Country Club

Known for its personalized service and friendliness, the environment at Johnson City Country Club is comfortable, casual, and inviting.

One of our greatest assets is the beautiful clubhouse. From the sweeping verandas, the fireplaces in our massive ballroom, to our intimate private dining rooms to our 19th Hole, the clubhouse accommodates all desires. Dine on daily menu specialties prepared at JCCC.  Enjoy both unique casual and gourmet dining events in one of the areas warmest and friendliest dining atmosphere.  JCCC also offers a full range of Banquet and Dining Services.  Our formal Ballroom has a capacity of more than 300 persons and includes a large wrap-around Terrace featuring breathtaking views of the golf course and surrounding mountains.

The JCCC Golf Course, designed by world golf Architect, A.W. Tillinghast is lined with mature trees and is beautifully landscaped.  It is a challenging, fun course to play and is very walker friendly.  The Club also hosts some of East TN's premiere Golf Tournaments including The Tillinghast Invitational, Member-Guest Golf Classic and Raggedy Ann & Andy Tournament.

Our Tennis Facilities includes 5 outdoor courts (3 clay courts, 2 hard courts) and 2 beautiful indoor courts for year round play.

Of course, our Olympic size multi-lane pool, Diving pool with 3 diving boards and a kid's pool make this the social gathering place for the summer.  The pool side Snack Shack offers great food and beverages for all ages.

With all of these wonderful amenities and outstanding facilities, there's always something to do for everyone and every age.  We're confident you and your family will just love your time here.

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Lacy Trap and Laurel Fork Trails

These trails are a very strenuous 15-mile-loop hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Follow US/19E Bypass southeast from Elizabethton, Tennessee, toward Roan Mountain and Boone. At Hampton, the routes separate; turn left and follow US 321/67 to trail.

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Laurel Falls, Carter County

Drive east on U.S. 321 out of Hampton, TN for 0.8 mile. Turn right onto Dennis Cove Road, marked with a brown national forest campground sign. From U.S. 321 (4 miles), see small parking area on left for Appalachian Trail.

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Liberty Bell Recreation Trail

This 1.7 mile walking and jogging trail encircles the ball fields at the Liberty Bell Complex. Children on bikes and inline skates are welcome. Adult bikes are not allowed.

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Millstone Creek Falls, Washington County

I-26 to Erwin/Jonesborough Exit #37. At the end of the ramp, take Route 81/107 West for 4.1 miles. Before crossing the Nolichucky River, turn right on Arnold Road. Continue 0.9 mile to a small pulloff on left. Across the road, see a small, unmarked trail, heading into the woods, leading to the falls.

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Nolichucky River

A world-class, smallmouth bass fishing river, with some exceeding 4 pounds; also supports muskie, trout and catfish.

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Persimmon Ridge Disc Golf

This new course features 9 holes, winding through the majestic landscape of Persmission Ridge Park

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Pine Oaks Golf Course

Pine Oaks Golf Course, located in Johnson City and the mountains of East Tennessee, has been a favorite of locals for years. Quality course conditions, low rates, scenic mountain views and a course design suitable to golfers of all skill levels are but a few of the reasons for the continued popularity of Pine Oaks. Combine this with a convenient location, well-stocked pro shop and a friendly staff focused on meeting your needs, and you have all the essentials most people are looking for in their next round of golf.

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Piney Flats Loop

Distance 25.50 miles bike-ride

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Pinnacle Firetower Hike

The Pinnacle Mountain Trail serves as a destination trail to a rehabilitated fire tower. The trailhead, at the foot of Buffalo Mountain, provides convenient trail access from Interstate 26, Exit 32, in the Town of Unicoi. From this trailhead vantage point, Pinnacle Mountain Trail #25 winds its way up the mountain at grades the whole family can enjoy.

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Red Fork Falls, Unicoi County

I-26 to Exit #32 toward Town of Unicoi. Go 0.08 mile to Route 107. Turn left, go 7.6 miles, turn right on Unaka Mountain Road. Continue 0.7 miles to gravel road. Path to falls 100 feet ahead.

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Riding and Driving Adventures

If you're looking for a driving adventure like no other, then you've found it in our "Southern Dozen". If you're traveling by car or motorcycle, we have a ride that's perfect for you. Visit http://www.ridejohnsoncitytn.com to download GPS directions.

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Roan Mountain State Park

With breathtaking mountain views and plenty of plant and animal life, Roan Mountain is a nature lover's paradise and home to the world's largest natural Catawba Rhododendron garden.

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Rock Creek Park

Offering both day-use and extended stay opportunities, Rock Creek Park features short hiking trails, picnic tables, a natural swimming pool, a bike trail and an amphitheater.

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Rocky Fork Falls, Unicoi County

Take I-26 toward Flag Pond Exit #50. At stop sign, turn left on Higgins Creek Road. Drive 0.5 mile till you reach Rt. 23, turn right and travel 2.5 miles through Flag Pond. Turn left onto Rocky Fork Road. Park here, follow the gravel lane on foot into Rocky Fork. Falls are 0.25 mile on left.

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Rocky Fork State Park

Rocky Fork inhabits 2,036 acres of scenic wilderness in Unicoi County and features steep, rugged terrain that is drained by cool mountain streams. Ranger-led and group hikes are available.

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Sonny’s Marina, Boat Rental

Sonny's is the oldest continuously operating marina on Boone Lake, offering a certified service department; boat and trailer storage; boat cleaning/detailing; lake calls; covered, uncovered and lift slips; a fueling station; pontoon rentals; a marina store complete with a Parts Department; and Sonny's Cafe, offering food and live music.

 

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Spivey Falls, Unicoi County

I-26 to Erwin, take Temple Hill Road Exit #43. Go south on US 19W for 1.1 miles. Turn left, stay on 19W for 3 miles to unmarked paved road on right. Take narrow road to falls.

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State of Franklin Multi-Use Trail

Open to all users, 2.3 miles in length. It starts at the intersection of Greenline Road and extends to Sunset Drive.

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Steele Creek Park

 

Walking and bicycle trails.

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Tipton-Haynes State Historic Site

The historic physical features are the Buffalo Trail and the caves where tradition says Daniel Boone camped; and the wooded area contains many flowers and plants of the earlier period.

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Tweetsie Trail

The Tweetsie Trail is a rails-to-trails project traversing the former ET&WNC (“Tweetsie”) railroad right-of-way between Johnson City and Elizabethton. The trail provides opportunities for walking, hiking, running, biking, etc. on a relatively flat grade in a beautiful, natural setting. When complete, the 10-mile trail will be the longest rails-to-trails project in Tennessee!

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Upper Rock Creek Falls, Unicoi County

Take I-26 to Erwin, take Main Street Exit #36. At light, turn right, go 0.2 mile then right on Rock Creek Road. Continue 3.1 miles to Rock Creek Park and take camping loop C to trailhead.

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USA Raft: Nolichucky River Whitewater Rafting

The Nolichucky River Gorge is one of the most adventurous and scenic rivers in the entire Southeast. The Upper Nolichucky has over 25 named class II, III and IV rapids along nine miles of pristine wilderness. USA Raft offers full-day trips with lunch (4-5 hours on the river), half-day trips (3-4 hours) and overnight trips that include riverside dinner and breakfast.

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Virginia Creeper Trail

 

There are 35 biking trails with bike rental and shuttles, plus a cafe and coffeehouse.

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Warriors’ Path State Park

Hiking, biking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, picnicking, playing—the opportunities for adventure are endless at Warriors' Path! The park is located around the Fort Patrick Henry Reservoir and Duck Island on the South Fork Holston River.

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Watauga Lakeshore Marina

Lakeshore Resort on beautiful Watauga Lake offers a full-service marina, boat rentals, cabin rentals, motel units and the Captain's Table restaurant, offering breathtaking views of one of the country's most scenic lakes. Enjoy fishing in the clean waters of Watauga Lake, or treat yourself to a picturesque ride in a rental ski or pontoon boat. Mooring services, live bait, dry docking and fishing licenses are all available.

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Watauga/South Holston Rivers

Two of the best trout fisheries in the Southeast.

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Willow Springs Park

Features 1.8 miles of paved walking surface that encircles the park.

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Winged Deer Park

An 18-hole course designed for recreational play, augmented by optional advanced and professional tees.

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Winged Deer Park

Established in 1991, Winged Deer Park is a 200-acre district park. The J. Norton Arney family previously owned and operated the farm where Winged Deer now sits from the 1940s through the early ‘70s. Mr. Arney was a noted car dealer and raised and trained show horses in the area. The farm was used primarily to grow hay and had several large stables on the lakefront property. The city purchased the property in 1985. The original farmhouse was converted into what is now the Parks and Recreation Administration Office, which includes a meeting room, working offices and a landscaped patio area with small gazebo. Amenities include five lighted softball fields, scorer’s tower and restroom, three lighted soccer fields, Batter’s Up batting cages, an 18-hole disc golf course, playground area, soccer concession building with restroom, half-mile walking track and paved fitness trails, which wind through the forested section of the park. The lakefront area features two sand volleyball courts, picnic shelter with restroom, public boating access, green space, lighted handicap accessible boardwalk, amphitheatre, and a Festival Plaza multi-use area with restroom. The park’s historical area features the Robert Young Cabin – one of Johnson City’s oldest dwellings – the Massengil Monument, and the James H. Quillen Historical Tree Arboretum.

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