Elizabethton, TN – Riverfront Linear Trail

Time for me to play some catchup and post what we’ve been up to. It’s kind of hard to just take some time out to sit down and prepare these. But, taking a couple of days off work and I’m bound and determined to get caught up. This post is the 2nd part of our day on January 27th.

I wasn’t sure at all if I was going to post anything from this little trail. But, I was like, what the heck. After we left Sycamore Shoals State Park, we drove over to get a little more exercise on this trail I’ve always wanted to give a try. I always drive by the north end of the trail in the Blackbottom community of Elizabethton, and it’s really nice. But, when we parked in the little parking area, we noticed that the trail also went south. I hate to say I was disappointed. I mean, it’s a nice / wide / flat paved trail. But, where it’s not really cleaned up through here (trees / bushes / couple of old run-down buildings), really no good photo opportunities. But, you know what? It’s more about the exercise. I would definitely recommend this as a trail to go for a nice walk.

One thing I was excited to see on the trail is this fenced off area that is the proposed site of the Elizabethton Fish Hatchery. I kind of feel that once they get this fish hatchery in there, that there will be some clean-up. So, here are a few photos from our walk in this section of Elizabethton. As usual, place your cursor over each photo for a brief description.

Directions from Sycamore Shoals State Park: As you leave the parking lot, turn left onto Elk Avenue. At 1.3 miles, turn left onto Holly Ln. Holly Ln. will curve to the right and become W. Mill St. Once this road becomes W. Mill St., take a left onto Ashe St. Go to the end of Ashe St., and take a left onto W. Riverside Dr., and the parking lot will be on your right.

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Elizabethton, TN – Sycamore Shoals State Park

It was a chilly day, tomorrow is a work day, so decided to stay close to home. We’ve done this short / easy trail before, but decided to take a nice walk on the two trails at the park, again.

The first trail is the Mountain River Trail. You spend most of your time walking along the Watauga River. With all of the precipitation that we’ve been having, the river was really raging. Like I said, the trail is easy, and this trail is just 1 mile round trip. Quite a few places to stop and sit along the way. It’s also set up as a fitness trail with stops along the way where you can stretch and so forth.

The second trail just has a sign that says “Trail”. Unlike the Mountain River Trail which is nice / flat / gravel trail, the “Trail” just takes you on a dirt / leafy path through the woods and back around to the visitors center. The interesting thing about this trail, is as you are walking along the trail, there are a lot of tree roots in the trail. But, they have sprayed the roots orange so you won’t trip along the way.

But, both trails ends up being approximately 2 miles in all. Just a nice place to go and take a leisurely walk.

Here are a few pictures from the area. As usual, click on the picture for a brief description.

Directions from Bluff City, TN: Take Hwy 19E towards Elizabethton. After approximately 8 1/2 miles, take a right onto W Elk Ave (Hwys 67 / 321 / 91). After approximately 2 1/2 miles, you arrive at your destination of 1651 E Elk Ave, on the right.

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Morristown, TN – Panther Creek State Park

Today we were looking for an area to take a walk that was warmer than it was at home. According to the weather site, it was time to head south.We headed to Morristown, TN / Panther Creek State Park.

We were hoping to walk the Point Lookout Trail. But, the road was closed past the picnic area. So, we decided to do the 2 mile loop that connects the Old Wagon Trail and Panther Path. This is a very easy trail. We parked and had a little picnic at Spoone Shelter. We then crossed the road and started on Old Wagon Trail. Even though we were south of home, it will still pretty cool. There was still a little ice / snow on the trail. There were a couple of some downed tree that you had to climb over / walk around.

Eventually we converted from the Old Wagon Trail to Panther Path. The trail passes pretty close to the visitors centers. Stop in and visit the employees in the visitors center. They are very nice and helpful. Purchase a t-shirt while you are there.

You eventually come through an area where there are a lot of birds. Kind of like a bird sanctuary. You then turn and head north, and the rest of the trail you are pretty much walking beside of a large creek. Nice walk! Hope you enjoy the photos. Remember, put your cursor over the picture for a description.

Directions from Bristol, TN: Take Interstate 81 South, approximately 62 miles. Get off the interstate on Exit 12, then take a right onto TN 160W. Travel approximately 11 miles and turn right onto W Andrew Johnson Hwy. Travel approximately 1/2 mile and take a left onto St. Johns Rd. Travel another 1/2 mile and take a right onto Old Stage Rd. Almost immediately take a right onto Panther Creek Rd. After approximately 2 miles, you will arrive at the entrance to the park on the right.

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Mills River, NC – Fall on Long Branch / Hendersonville Reservoir Dam / Fletcher Creek Falls

I’ve always had a hard time finding a place for Steve and I to go to around the vicinity of the North Mills River Recreation Area. We found a good waterfall book by Melissa Watson called “Hiking Waterfalls in North Carolina”. It had this waterfall hike that we decided to give a try. You have to drive into the North Mils River Recreation Area. You then take gravel forest roads, which of course we’re a little leery of. But, the roads were wide with enough room to pass another vehicle safely. We ended up at a pretty popular parking area in the middle of the Pisgah National Forest. Great hike! Pretty easy. It seems to be an old forest road that is now gated. So, it’s a nice / wide gravel road. Most of your walk in is descending. But, it’s very gradual, making it pretty easy ascension back out.

You first come to the Falls on Long Branch. Really hard to get good pictures. We ended up with some decent pictures of the lower part of the falls. But, a lot of the falls are obstructed by bushes. As we continued on, we eventually came to the reservoir dam. A little challenging to get really good photos because of the trees. Then, around the corner were the Fall on Fletcher Creek. Not real hard to photograph that waterfall.

Steve shocked me when he took off around the right hand side of the falls on this little steep trail. I was like “heck yeah”, and followed him. This brought you to a log bridge and we took a few pictures of the river. I wanted to have my pictures taken on the log bridge. But, that made Steve nervous, me getting on that bridge. So, I stood at the edge and he took my picture.

I hope I’m not repeating myself. But, if I start to do something that makes Steve nervous, and vice-versa, we have this agreement that we won’t worry the other, and we refrain from doing things that makes the other nervous.

When we were walking back out, as Steve was taking additional pictures at the Falls on Long Branch with another lens, I snuck up into the woods to see if I could get some good pictures of the upper portion of the falls. Nope! I only got so far and climbing became a little challenging, so I took some pictures from the side of the falls up in the bushes, and climbed back out. Steve was still taking pictures, so I climbed down on the other side of the road (the water goes under the road) in hopes of getting some good pictures of the falls where they flowed into the river. But, nope! Again, too many bushes.

Well, I hope you enjoy our photos. As usual, click on the photo for a description.

Direction from Mills River, NC: At junction of 191 / 280, drive North for 8/10 mile. Turn left onto North Mills River Rd at the sign for the North Mills River Recreation Area. Go 4.9 miles to Wash Creek Rd (Forest Road 5000). Turn right and travel 2 miles. Turn left on Hendersonville Reservoir Rd (Forest Road). Go 1/2 mile and the road will end at a nice / popular parking area. In and out, it’s approximately 3.2 miles.

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Bristol, TN – Weir Dam / Osceola Island

On Sunday, we wanted to do some shopping over in Bristol, VA. We wanted a place to walk before going to do our shopping. We were actually heading to Sugar Hollow, but decided to go check out Weir Dam / Osceola Island. We started off having a little picnic (after trying about 4 different picnic tables and having to move because of these flying bugs). We then check out the little dam system. Then, took off across the bridge to walk the 1.5 mile loop around Osceola Island. I was actually surprised when walking around the island that there was also the same dam system on the other side of the island. As you will see in our photos, there was a little snow lingering on the other side of the island where the sun doesn’t shine as much. This is a very easy 1.5 mile loop. I’d recommend this if you are just looking for something easy / quick / local. Hope you enjoy a few photos. Place your cursor over each photo for a short description.

Direction: From Bluff City, TN, take Hwy 394 East to Hwy 421. Turn right. Drive approximately 3 miles and take a right onto Emmet Rd. You will come to a fork in the road. Take the right fork. Follow the signs to South Holston Dam. Once you cross the bridge over the river, turn into the 2nd parking area on the right.

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Burnsville, NC – Roaring Fork Falls

We’re still on our trek for cool waterfalls. This is one of my favorite waterfalls. So, we decided to see what it would look like after some good rain. We were not disappointed. First, about the trail. This is a very easy trail. It’s a good wide trail. Probably had some vehicle traffic in the past. Now, it’s only foot travel. As you approach the falls, you start to see the creek getting closer to the trail on your left. When you get to the falls, you have to cross a little footbridge on the right. On this day, the footbridge was pretty darn slick. Had to be careful crossing the small bridge. But wow! The falls were amazing. We were very lucky and were able to take some photos without strangers in the photos. Eventually some other people showed up. But, let me tell you. Some people are just a little crazy. Those are the types of people that think nothing is going to happen to them. There were guys climbing around on the slick green moss rocks. I was so afraid that they were going to slip and fall into the falls. But, luckily this never happened. Thank goodness! I  hope you enjoy our waterfall pictures. Run your cursor over each picture for an description.

Directions: From Johnson City, TN, take I-26 towards Asheville, NC. Once you enter North Carolina, get off I-26 at Exit 9 and head towards Burnsville. After about 21 miles, you will be in Micaville. Take a right onto Route 80. Go approximately .6 miles, and 80 will take a right. Go approximately 15 miles. As soon as you pass Mount Mitchell Golf Course, take a right on South Toe River Rd. You will pretty much immediately come to a stop sign. Take a right. You’ll then almost immediately cross a bridge, where after crossing the bridge, you’ll turn left onto a Forest Service Road (if you’re hesitant, don’t worry). After about .2 miles, the road will end. Park in the gravel parking lot on the left. The trailhead will be very obvious. It will be across the road behind you. Go around the Forest Service Road gate, and it’s only approximately 1/2 mile to the falls Easy trail. ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Burnsville, NC – Setrock Creek Falls

When you visit Roaring Fork Falls, you cannot leave the area without visiting Setrock Creek Falls. It’s only a 5 to 10 minute drive from Roaring Fork Falls. You park right outside of the entrance to the Black Mountain Campground, and go into the campground to get to the falls. Once you enter the campground, you take the 1st left. You then take your 1st left onto the gravel trail. The trail will be marked as “Briar Bottom Bike” trail. It’s a nice / wide / easy / gravel trail. Most of your time is spent walking alongside the Toe River. You will eventually cross a bridge. You will then bear to the right away from the river and cross a road that comes out of the other side of the campground, and go up into the woods. The trail gets thinner and a little rougher. Lots of tree roots. But, it’s not bad at all. It’s only 1/2 mile to the falls.  Here are a few photos from our walk to Setrock Creek Falls. Place your cursor over the photo for a description.

Directions from Roaring Fork Falls: Leaving Roaring Fork Falls, when you come to the stop sign, take a left. You will be driving alongside Mount Mitchell Golf Course. The road will eventually turn to gravel. Don’t worry. This is a good / wide gravel road. A little over 2 miles, you will come to a fork. Go to the right. When you’ve gone a little over 1/2 mile, you’ll come across the parking area.

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Bristol, TN – Rooster Front Park

Thought with the bad weather and bad roads up in the mountains, that we’d stay close to home today. Our first of two walks for the day was at Rooster Front Park. We figured with the amount of rain / snow that we’ve had in the past week, that our walks should include waterfalls / creeks / rivers. There aren’t any significant waterfalls real close to home. The best we could do was head over to Rooster Front where there is the small waterfall where the lake at Steele’s Creek Park pours into the creek at Rooster Front. It was in the upper 30’s when we took this walk. With the sun, it wasn’t bad at all. It’s only 3/10 of a mile to the falls. Very easy walk. Other than crossing one bridge, the trail is pretty much flat. The trail was just a tad bit slushy. And, due to the amount of snow on the trees / bushes, there were spots in the trail where you had to move limbs just to walk on the trail. The creeks were really high. The wetlands were wetter than I’ve ever seen them. And, the little waterfall was absolutely amazing. A little muddy, but amazing. You can run your mouse over each photo for a description.

Directions to Rooster Front Park: I’ll make the starting point Bristol Motor Speedway. Head north on Volunteer parkway approximately 3.7 miles. Turn left on Vance Drive. Park will be on your left in approximately 7/10 of a mile.

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Hampton, TN – Doe River Gorge

The walk at Doe River Gorge is located at Doe River Gorge Ministries. A couple of tips. Check the internet, and if the ministry has a camp / retreat going on, please don’t go here to hike. Also, when you hike the gorge, make sure that you stop off at the office. There will be a little mailbox. Fill out the form so they will know what time you arrived / what time you plan on being back. This was probably our 5th time to the gorge. When we arrived, it was in the low 30’s. I knew that when we went through that 1st tunnel that it would be cold because the sun rarely hits in the gorge. Was it ever cold! We walked to the 2nd tunnel, and turned around and headed back out. It was getting late at this point anyway. Here are a few pictures from our trek into the gorge. You can run your mouse over each photo for a description.

Directions to Doe River Gorge / Ministries: From Elizabethton, head towards Hampton. At approximately 6 miles, turn left on Stevens Rd. You’ll shortly arrive at a little parking area on your right at the main office. Warning! Watch out of the unmarked speed humps. Especially that 1st one. It sneaks up on you!

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1/17/13 Snow

This wasn’t a hiking day. Was at work when it started snowing huge flakes. Figured I’d better get my rear end home before it got too bad. When our driveway gets covered with snow, we usually have to park at the bottom of our driveway and walk almost 1/2 mile to the house. The storm swooped through pretty quickly. Here at the house, still dumped about 5 inches. Thought I’d post a couple of pictures. You can run your mouse over each photo for a description.

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