Five-Star Trails Tri-Cities of Tennessee and Virginia  by Johnny Molloy

Five-Star Trails: Tri-Cities of Tennessee and Virginia Guide Book

by Johnny Molloy (Menasha Ridge Press)
Five-Star Trails Tri-Cities of Tennessee and Virginia  by Johnny Molloy
Encompassing the Cherokee, Jefferson, and Pisgah National Forests, this region features hundreds of miles of trails to explore. Plus, state parks preserve special and historic places to visit via their pathways, and urban parks provide quick, easy nature escapes. And don’t forget about the Appalachian Trail, the most heralded and hiked footpath in our country, which curves within range of the Tri-Cities for nearly 70 miles and enhances the stature and quality of area hikes. From convenient suburban greenways to wilderness treks of 6,000 feet in elevation, the wide variety of trails in this guide will suit any hiker’s mood and ability. Without this book you might miss the hidden hiking treasures of the TriCities. But with the expert guidance of author and local resident Johnny Molloy, you’ll discover 40 of the region’s best hikes. Molloy’s vivid hike descriptions give insight to the history, fl ora, and fauna of the routes, and his concise, accurate

© 2014 Johnny Molloy/Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Five-Star Trails: Tri-Cities of Tennessee and Virginia" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 40.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 40.

This short hike packs a lot of punch. Start at Backbone Rock, a historic recreation area developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Walk hand-laid stone steps to Backbone Falls, a slender spiller tumbling into a rock gorge. Return to the trailhead; then climb the actual Backbone Rock, a slender sandstone spine where views open. Finally, drop to visit Beaverdam Creek, a classic mountain stream.
Bristol, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 1
This classic Tri-Cities family day hike circles a ridge-rimmed lake at Bays Mountain Park. Th ough you are in woods most of the time, views open of Kingsport Reservoir and adjacent hills. Th ough mostly level, it does have some undulations. This large preserve has not only miles and miles of hiking trails but also a kid-friendly nature center and animal habitat that enhance your hike.
Kingsport, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.9
This hike starts in the heart of Bays Mountain Park then heads for the hinterlands, fi rst traveling along cliff s to reach a lookout tower. From there, it heads for the tip of Bays Mountain, passing numerous communications towers before turning southwest to reach a historic fi re tower presenting stellar 360-degree panoramas. It is all downhill from there. Skirt the waters and marshes of Kingsport Reservoir before looping back to the trailhead.
Kingsport, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.2
Steele Creek Park presents some challenging and lovely terrain for hikers. This circuit starts along playful Steele Creek, passing near the park lake before taking off among the Beaver Creek Knobs. You traverse sharply sloped hillsides, atop slender ridges and down steep hollows, all giving the appearance of wilderness, despite being in the city limits of Bristol, Tennessee.
Bristol, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.9
This short but occasionally steep hike is an excellent complement to the many features of Roan Mountain State Park, an East Tennessee outdoor icon. Start near the park campground, walking the banks of the Doe River in a cool mountain vale. Steeply climb the east slope of Strawberry Mountain in prototypical Southern Appalachian woods. Wind in and out of drainages before returning to the Doe River. Enjoy more waterside walking before completing the loop.
Johnson City, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
This loop is set in the Shelton Laurel Backcountry of the Pisgah National Forest. Th e Jerry Miller Trail takes you to a 100-foot waterslide before opening onto Whiteoak Flats meadow. Ascend to the Appalachian Trail. Walk the stony knife-edge delineating North Carolina and Tennessee. Incredible 360-degree views appear from atop Big Firescald Knob, a half mile of continuous outcrops opening into the Tar Heel State and the Volunteer State. A steep trip down Fork Ridge takes you back to the trailhead.
Johnson City, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.2
This hike—the most challenging in this entire guide—takes you to Buckeye Falls, which holds distinction as the highest waterfall in the East. Start the trek with the fi rst of several fords of Clark Creek, entering Sampson Mountain Wilderness. A rough, unmaintained trail gets rougher and rougher. Finally, head straight up a tributary of Clark Creek to reach a high cliff and Buckeye Falls, with its sloping height of more than 475 feet.
Johnson City, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
This hike loops Johnson City’s signature peak, Buff alo Mountain, which looms above the town. Th e view-rich circuit fi rst visits Huckleberry Knob, providing unobstructed panoramas of Johnson City. Work uphill, passing a modest cascade before topping out on Buff alo Mountain. Next cruise the crest, reaching White Rock, with views as far as the clarity of the sky allows. From there, walk the mountain edge before turning to cross a couple of creeks along which wildfl owers proliferate.
Johnson City, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.5
This Appalachian Trail hike starts above bucolic Shady Valley. Th e highlights come early as you trace the AT across the open fi elds of the old Osborne Farm. Here, far-reaching views extend to Holston Mountain into Shady Valley and Iron Mountain then beyond into the Virginia Highlands. Th e gently rising track enters woods after a mile, roaming Cross Mountain. Make your way to Double Spring Shelter, an AT accommodation set in a hollow on Holston Mountain, before backtracking.
Bristol, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.8
This fun and unusual hike incorporates the trail town of Damascus, Virginia, with national forest trails in its shadow. Leave Damascus Town Park on the Virginia Creeper Trail. Along the way, you see Damascus and the streams that fl ow through it. Leave the Creeper Trail for the Appalachian Trail. Take that famous footpath up through wooded ridges. Pass a rewarding view of adjacent mountains. Meet the Iron Mountain Trail. Dip into a hollow and return to Damascus, rejoining the AT as it parades directly through downtown.
Damascus, VA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.9
Hike through an incredible gorge where Devil’s Fork carves a canyon with boulder fields, cliffs, cataracts, and, of course, the Devil’s Bathtub, all shaded by an immense forest. However, to see this beauty you have to make more than a dozen stream fords, making it a warm-season destination. You are amply rewarded with not only the above mentioned beauty but also a deep swimming hole with aquamarine depths that chill to the bone.
Norton, VA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
This hike is a great way for hikers of any ability to soak in some special Southern Appalachian high country. Start high on a lesservisited segment of the Appalachian Trail. Head northbound on the shoulder of Unaka Mountain, making your way through varied forest environments. Th e AT rises to enter a deep, dark world of evergreen spruce trees. Top out on the mountain at nearly 5,200 feet, where the Emerald Forest displays an ecosystem not found elsewhere in the Tri-Cities region.
Johnson City, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 2
Enjoy woods, water in varied forms, and views at Warriors Path State Park. Start on the shores of Patrick Henry Lake, walking a surprisingly challenging track that rolls over a rocky bluff with views aplenty of the reservoir below and mountains beyond. Turn into the valley of Fall Creek, an alluring stream displaying plenty of noisy rapids. The loop portion of the hike climbs into former fields with more views. Look for evidence of farm life and old homesteads before returning to the lake and its impressive bluffs.
Kingsport, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
Th e rocky gorge of Laurel Run, on the north side of Bays Mountain, forms the backdrop for this rewarding hike. Tramp from fl atlands along the Holston River up a gorgeous, once-inhabited mountain valley, where you can view two attractive waterfalls, in addition to several rustic homesites and even intact log buildings. Add a picnic to your hike at the trailhead facilities.
Kingsport, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Take the Little Stony Creek National Recreation Trail up a gorgeous valley with waterslides, cascades, and pools in a deep gorge with stone bluff s, rock overhangs, and boulder fi elds. Wooden footbridges keep your feet dry en route to two signifi cant waterfalls, each dropping over stone precipices. Your return trip yields more creekside fi nery everywhere you look.
Norton, VA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5
Hike up a wild valley, making multiple fords to view a pair of lesservisited waterfalls. Start your trek at Dennis Cove Campground; then work your way deep into upper Laurel Fork. It won’t be long before you make the fi rst of 12 creek crossings. Th ese fords, doable at average summer water levels, keep the crowds out, allowing solitude not found on lower Laurel Fork. After a mile, reach Dennis Cove Falls, a two-tiered cataract with a big pool. Continuing up the valley, you pass through the open meadows of Frog Level. A fi nal push into the narrowing gorge brings you to Upper Laurel Fork Falls, a frothing torrent of whitewater crashing into a rocky defi le.
Johnson City, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
This loop travels varied forests at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. Leave Whitetop Laurel Valley on the Beech Grove Trail; then join the Appalachian Trail. Take it northbound; then follow Feathercamp Trail up a secluded stream valley to meet the Iron Mountain Trail with its pines and oaks. Soak in winter views before meeting the Beech Grove Trail. Descend back into the Whitetop Laurel Valley and return to the parking area. Th e climbs are never overly steep or long, making for a fun outing in this mosaic of Southern Appalachian environments.
Damascus, VA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.9
Start high on the Holston Mountain Trail. First, follow a fi re tower access road; then join a remote ridge-running footpath, dropping to Flint Mill Gap. Take the Flint Mill Trail to a high-elevation stream and bog before reaching Flint Rock, an open outcrop with stellar views of South Holston Lake and the mountain and ridges beyond. On the drive you pass the Blue Hole, one of the chilliest and most scenic swimming holes in the area.
Bristol, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 7
Two adjacent short hikes are paired together here, above 6,000 feet in elevation. First, trace an all-access sidewalk to visit the famed rhododendron gardens. Next, make an easy cruise out to Roan High Bluff , where an observation deck sits atop a rock outcrop from which you can see the state-line crest dividing Tennessee and North Carolina—and beyond.
Johnson City, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.5
This hike takes you through a remote valley of the Cherokee National Forest to a lesser-visited double-decker falls. From the trailhead, hike a wildfl ower-fi lled, rocky vale bordered by high ridges. It takes 13 stream crossings to make Gentry Falls. However, at low to normal water fl ows you will be able to dry-foot it over stones set at the crossings. At Gentry Creek Falls, view a two-tiered cataract tumbling over rock bluff s, spilling into a sea of rhododendron, in the depths of a northern hardwood forest.
Bristol, TN - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.8