The Washington County/Jonesborough/Johnson City area is the ideal setting for almost any type of outdoor activity. The natural beauty of the Appalachian Mountains is perfect for biking, hiking, running, camping or simply enjoying the scenic views.
In August 2015, Johnson City and Elizabethton opened a portion of the Tweetsie Trail, a former railway that undertook construction to become a new walking/biking/running trail. The trail takes its name from the locomotives of our railroading past whose high-pitched whistles led local residents to nickname them “Tweetsie.” Additional sections of the trail are scheduled for expansion over the next few years. www.tweetsietrail.com
Winged Deer Park
Area parks are quite popular in the Tri-Cities area. If one’s idea of a perfect afternoon includes a bike ride or walk, or even a picnic in the park, visit one of the area parks. Winged Deer Park, established in 1991, is a year-round, 200-acre park featuring athletic fields, batting cages, a playground area, and a lighted, paved fitness trail. Winged Deer also features an 18-hole disc golf course designed for recreational play.
Winged Deer Park also has a lakefront area featuring two sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and a public access boat ramp right on Boone Lake. Along with the wonderful activity amenities, there is a boardwalk where visitors can stroll along the shoreline while having plenty of room to fish. www.johnsoncitytn.org/parksrec/
Buffalo Mountain Park
Buffalo Mountain Park is a 725-acre natural resource area acquired in 1994 through a land swap with the U.S. Forest Service. The park is located on the north slope of Buffalo Mountain and consists of extreme topography and densely forested land. The park functions as a nature preserve primarily for hiking, picnicking, and nature programs. The park offers 8.2 miles of moderate hiking trails.
Downtown’s newest addition, Founder’s Park, was designed to address downtown flood control. This beautiful addition provides an outdoor venue for walking, picnics, outdoor recreation, and is host to the Founder’s After 5 concert series. The park also features a newly constructed covered farmer’s market. The Annual Blue Plum Festival in early June takes place in the park, offering music, food, and fun.
Those looking to be outside will find plenty of opportunities with area parks offering facilities for individual and team sports such as soccer, basketball, tennis, baseball, rugby, football and softball.
Golfers have several choices for area golf courses when tee time calls. Johnson City is home to two public courses, Buffalo Valley and Pine Oaks, and has two extraordinary private golf clubs, Johnson City Country Club and Blackthorn Club.
The Johnson City Country Club is celebrating its 103rd year in 2016. The beautifully landscaped club offers a challenging and fun course to play, while still being walker friendly. The Country Club hosts some of East Tennessee’s premier golf tournaments including The Tillinghast Invitational.
The Blackthorn Club at the Ridges is a private residential club. Designed by Arthur Hills, the Blackthorn is host to the Bank of Tennessee intercollegiate tournament, as well as for corporate outings for the region.
Willow Springs Dog Park
Don’t forget about furry friends! The city’s dog park, Willow Springs, is a 1.8 acre enclosed area for dogs to play and run without the restraint of a leash. Water fountains are available for both dogs and humans to enjoy. There is even a dog-shaped pool for dogs to keep cool during those hot summer months. The new Animal Shelter is a private public partnership providing more space and a better-suited location for choosing your next best friend.
For more information about local parks and outdoor recreation centers, visit www.johnsoncitytn.org/parksrec/