Biking Along South Holston in Bristol

The South Holston Dam area of Bristol has four new mountain biking trails thanks to the Tennessee Valley Authority. The trail system includes six miles of terrain that even the newest level of rider can comfortably handle.

The trails are multi-use but bike-optimized, offering an easy ride with some optional features for more advanced mountain bikers. Located only six miles from downtown Bristol, the trails are a perfect addition to the South Holston Dam Reservation and Weir Dam areas that are already known for fishing, boating, skiing, kayaking, and other multi-use trails.

Photo Credit : Explore Bristol

The Trails

With names that pay tribute to the terrain, location, history and landmarks found along the way, the four trails are noted as easy with the longest trail spanning 3.1 miles, and the shortest covering 0.5 miles. Pets are welcome but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet. Over the course of three years, TVA has invested $125,000 to build the trail system and worked with local partners such as the King University Cycling Team which will maintain the trails.

Dam Builders Trail – easy; 3.1 miles
Powerflite Trail – easy; 0.5 miles
Pemberton Loop – easy; 1.3 miles
Yelling Trail – easy; 1.1 miles

The History

These family-friendly trails wind through pine and hardwood forests which are steeped in local history. The 1.1-mile Yelling and 1.3-mile Pemberton Trails get their names from Revolutionary War events and figures. The Yelling Trail name originated from American Revolutionary War soldiers who were known for shouting during battle, while the Pemberton Trail is named after Col. John Pemberton, a Revolutionary War hero who lived not far from the trail location. Soldiers gathered (mustered) at Col. Pemberton’s property before meeting other troops at Sycamore Shoals and then marching to Kings Mountain, SC. The longer 3.1 mile Dam Builders trail is located on land that was excavated for materials (dirt and rock) to build the earthen South Holston Dam. Last but not least, the .5 mile Powerflite Trail is a connector trail linking the Pemberton and Yelling trails. This trail was named after a relic of the past which you will encounter along the trail – an antique car. Use your imagination and be taken back through history while enjoying this trail system. All trails are multi-use but bike-optimized, offering an easy ride with some optional features for more advanced mountain bikers.

Photo Credit : Explore Bristol

How to Get There

To get there take South Holston Dam Road off Hwy. 421 south of Bristol to 364 South Holston Dam Road (the trail entrance is across from the water plant).

Leave No Trace

Remember to leave our trails with no trace, so adventures can last a lifetime. Find out how you can make a difference with our leaders for litter-free Tennessee efforts.