It’s that time of year, you know the one. When the mornings get a little chilly, and you catch yourself wearing boots instead of slip ons. When a warm cup of coffee sounds more wholesome than an iced latte, and you find yourself crunching leaves and seeing colors start to shimmer in the treetops. It’s leaf changing season in Northeast Tennessee, and here are some of the best stops to catch fall views this season.
Johnson City’s own treetop mountain bike bark is a great place to view the leaves changing. With over 40 acres of combined biking and hiking trails, Tannery Knobs offers wonderful views overlooking the TVA Credit Union Ballpark and pristine Buffalo Mountain. Take in the fall views over a picnic from the bench up top or strap on your helmet and hit the trails, ready for all skill levels. There is a bonus pump track up top to hone in your skills, and nothing beats fall biking weather.
The Beauty Spot
Driving up from the quaint town of Erwin, enjoy peaceful wooded views around Rock Creek Recreation Area where you can park for the day and hike or stay overnight at the campground. As you climb the road higher into the trees, you will find gorgeous vistas of the Unaka Mountain Range. Drive the gravel road to the trailhead of Beauty Spot with the option to hike the Appalachian Trail in either direction and capture colorful leaf views aplenty.
The Roan Highlands are a leaf viewer’s paradise. There is simply no place like Roan, and the panoramic views of the surrounding colorful mountains is like nothing you’ve ever seen. Catch peak views up here a little sooner than the lower elevations and bring a jacket, as it’s usually 10 degrees colder and windy. There are a few pull-offs along the drive to stop and take in the views and the ever popular hike along the balds to Grassy Ridge.
Take a drive from Johnson City, Tenn., up to Grandfather Mountain, NC. Witness beautiful mountain and countryside scenery as you climb over 4,000 feet in elevation along the ride. You will capture the essence of fall without ever leaving the comfort of your car on those chilly mornings. However, you will also be surrounded by ample access to hiking and mountain biking along this route, if you wish to get a little closer to the autumn leaves. Check out the Grandfather Loop Trail for a moderate 1 mile hike, or extend your hike out to the stunning Calloway Peak.
Leave No Trace
Article & Photography By:
Alicia Bynum, AdventurePickle.com