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We Are Just Right for… Outdoor Enthusiasts

We Are Just Right for… Outdoor Enthusiasts

Northeast Tennessee is known for beautiful outdoor scenery and recreational opportunities.  Pack a picnic lunch and hit the trails, or bring a lawn chair and just kick back and relax.

The Tweetsie Trail is a hiking, biking, running, and walking trail located on the former East Tennessee & Western North Carolina railroad right-of-way. The first section of the trail was completed in 2014 and connects the former railroad trails between Johnson City and Sycamore Shoals State Park in nearby Elizabethton; when fully finished, the trail will cover 10 miles, making it the longest rails-to-rails project in the entire state. The Tweetsie Trail is a fitting part of Johnson City’s legacy, representing the city’s railroad heritage in a fun and exciting way.

Winged Deer Park offers outdoor activities for just about everyone. The 200-acre district park features soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, picnic and patio areas, paved fitness trails, public boating access, a disc golf course, a playground, and even more! Winged Deer is the perfect place to take the family if you’re looking for a little bit of everything.

Buffalo Mountain Park provides tenacious hikers with a worthy challenge. A densely forested 725-acre area located on the northern slope of Buffalo Mountain, the park functions primarily as a nature preserve but also features 8.2 miles of moderate hiking trails as well as various nature programs for kids and families.

Founders Park is a beautiful 5-acre space in the heart of downtown Johnson City that features a flat trail for walking or running, compelling sculptures by local artists, and a manmade river rock stream for relaxing ambiance. Be sure to visit the amphitheater in Founders Park on Friday nights during the warmer months to catch a free concert by local bands.

Tannery Knobs Mountain Bike Park and King Commons Park, are both new additions to downtown. Similar in design to a ski slope, Tannery Knobs will feature bunny, intermediate, and black diamond trails for cyclists of different levels. King Commons Park is located near Founders and provides another venue for musical entertainment as well as a path for walking or running.

If hiking our gorgeous, winding mountain trails by yourself sounds too daunting, join up with the Mid-
Appalachian Highlands Club, ( or the Johnson City Hiking Club ( for a more organized outdoor excursion. Both groups welcome hikers of all fitness levels, so you won’t have to worry about being left behind!

Regionally, there are many outdoor recreational options.  Investigate Bays Mountain, Roan Mountain State Park, Warriors Path State Park, and Rocky Fork State Park.  In late August 2018, come to Founders Park for the Inaugural Meet the Mountains Outdoor Festival, (, where you can get a feel for all things outdoors.

Hit the Course

You can also catch some rays and enjoy the wind on your face while traversing the greens at one of Johnson City’s top-notch golf courses. Owned and operated by the city, Pine Oaks Golf Course is open to the public, but we also have two extraordinary private golf clubs, the Johnson City Country Club and the Blackthorn Club.

Known for its personalized service, friendly atmosphere, and premiere golfing experience, the Johnson City Country Club offers a beautifully landscaped course in a comfortable, casual setting. The Country Club hosts some of East Tennessee’s premier annual golf tournaments, including the Tillinghast Invitational.

The Blackthorn Club at the Ridges is a private residential club that features exquisite dining in addition to golf and tennis amenities. Designed by Arthur Hills, twice named Golf Digest’s “Architect of the Year,” the golf course at the Blackthorn Club is one of the region’s most beloved golf courses.

Other Outdoor Excursions

Perhaps you’d rather just sit back and watch, rather than be a participant.  Enjoy a Johnson City Cardinals game at the renovated Knoxville TVA Ballpark or maybe an ETSU Football or Baseball game at state-of-the art stadiums.  In the region, you can catch the Kingsport Mets, Bristol Pirates, Greeneville Reds, or Elizabethton Twins.  Kick back and relax on your float as you maneuver the lazy river at Wetlands Water park in Jonesborough.  You can participate in organized sports as well – contact one of the area Parks & Recreation offices to see what they offer for all members of the family.

Are you feeling fishy?  On the Nolichucky and Watauga rivers, once you secure your fishing license, you can catch and release trout for hours.  Whitewater rafting is also available on both rivers if you’d prefer something a bit more exhilarating.

Need to just take a scenic drive?  Visit the Southern Dozen website, (, and learn more about the 13 rides developed to showcase the scenic, historic, and charming aspects of our area.  Each ride begins in Johnson City and varies in length.  Take the car or the motorcycle and enjoy the trip.

The Hands On Discovery Center, formerly Hands On! Museum, has moved to the Gray Fossil Site, offering an all ages destination dedicated to STEM education and serving as a premier family and tourism attraction.  It is the first and only all-ages science museum in the region and is a unique blend of natural history, interactive science exhibits, and art.  The Center features brand-new state of the art exhibits combined with classic favorites from the current location.