East Tennessee Outdoors: Top 10 Best Hikes in East Tennessee – Part 2

Published 12:33 am Monday, April 13, 2020



With COVID-19 on the rampage in our nation and most enjoyable activities violating Quarantine Laws, what can a person do to relieve some of the stress of the times? Try hiking one of this area’s scenic trails.

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East Tennessee has some of the best hiking in America. Just look at the number of trails in our immediate area.

Bristol Tennessee has 18 trails, Hampton has three trails, Johnson City has 7 trails, Elizabethton has 10 trails and Roan Mountain has two top-quality trails.

The best part of these trails is you will find one to meet your skill level just a short drive from home.

In my last column, we were counting down the best hiking trails in this area. We will continue this countdown today, and we will start at number five.

5.   Tweetsie Trail 

How could we make a list of this area’s best hiking trails and leave off the Tweetsie Trail? The Tweetsie Trail follows the original path taken by the ET&WNC Railroad and is one of the easiest trails in Tennessee.

Most of it is an enjoyable level walk, but if you start walking the trail in Johnson City and hike it to the end, you will have logged in over 10 miles of hiking.

This trail is perfect for the entire family and is even handicapped accessible. You will see a lot of people on the trail, so don’t expect a solitary walk.

The trail bisects both Johnson City and Elizabethton, so this is not a true wilderness experience. Walk any or all of it, and I guarantee you will have a good time. (Easy)


4. Devil’s Bathtub Loop Trail 

This trail is located in Virginia and is just a short drive from our area. Also, it is one of the more difficult of the trails we have listed.

Trust me, the walk is worth it once you see the “bathtub” of the Devil’s Bathtub. This trail is perfect for the skilled hiker who does not care to get his/her feet wet.

If you hike this one, prepare to climb over rocks and logs and expect to wade across streams.

Also, you may have a long walk. The trail can span from two miles to nine miles depending on the loop you choose to take. The left loop of the trail has a total of 13 creek crossings to the Devil’s Bathtub while the right loop is not as hard but is a longer walk.

The “bathtub” itself is breathtaking with the clearest blue water you will ever see. Though the creek is not large, it is one of the most beautiful streams in the area.

Prepare to see other hikers because this trail is well used and very popular in southwest Virginia. Because of this, the main parking area is often full. Be careful where you park because your car could be towed if you park where you should not park.

One more note, this trial will require good shoes and good equipment because the climb can be a challenge. Just last year three people got lost in this area and had to be rescued, and another hiker broke his ankle and had to be carried out.

Also, a few years ago, a death occurred on this trail when a hiker fell and hit his head on a rock. Overall, this trail is a challenge for most hikers, but it is well worth it. (Hard)

Whether you are young or old, our area has a hike for you. Get out and explore some of these, and you may find a trail to suit you just a short distance from your home. It is the perfect cure for Cabin Fever.

Next on East Tennessee Outdoors, we will list the best three hikes in our area.