The Ultimate Guide to Meeting the Mountains


Whether you live in Northeast Tennessee or you’re planning a vacation filled with outdoor fun, the Meet the Mountains Festival is not to be missed. The Festival is dedicated to all things outdoors and is an annual event held in Johnson City each August, organized by Visit Johnson City. Kayaking, rock climbing, and hiking are just a few of the things you’ll find.

It’s no secret that Northeast Tennessee is a hub for outdoor fun and adventure. If you’re not naturally an outdoor enthusiast, it can be difficult to try something totally new. It can also be really daunting to figure out what gear you’ll need and how to stay safe when you hit the trail, lake, or mountains.

This event gives visitors a chance to try things like rock climbing, axe throwing, kayaking, ziplining, and mountain biking entirely for free. Festival grounds are divided into Air, Earth and Water Zones based on the activities offered. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at slinging an axe towards a target, casting a flyrod, or navigating rough terrain on a mountain bike, here’s your chance. Experts will be there to guide you, and you’ll be surrounded by folks just as new to the sport as you. The festival also hosts a local vendor market, workshops with experts, a variety of food trucks, music and craft beer.

In order to get the most out of your time, here are some things you should keep in mind.

1.   Don’t Bring: Fear

Don’t limit yourself to things that are familiar. The coolest part of the festival is that you get the opportunity to experience things you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to try. Maybe you don’t picture yourself as a mountain climber. That’s completely fine! The beauty of Meet the Mountains is that it’s open to all ages and all experience levels.

Never been in a kayak before? Stop by the festival’s demo pool, where guests can try kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Want to try ziplining? They’ve got one set up on festival grounds too.

Ditch the fear of trying something new and get ready to have a great time. You might find a new hobby. Meet the Mountains Festival provides visitors a chance to introduce themselves to outdoor culture in an environment that’s safe and welcoming. Where else in Northeast Tennessee can people try so many activities, all in one place, completely for free?

2.  Bring: Comfy Clothes, Shoes, and Sunscreen

Wear something you can move around in, like athletic wear. Northeast Tennessee in August can get pretty hot, and you’re going to want to be able to move around freely so you can enjoy all of the activities! Closed-toed shoes are another good idea depending on the type of activities you want to participate in. You’re going to want them for the mountain bike course and the rock climbing wall. Sunscreen is a must and a reusable water bottle is also a good idea.

3.   Bring: A Bag

Not only will a bag be helpful to put your phone in while you participate in all of the outdoorsy fun, you’ll need it for all of the ino and free stuff you pick up from the vendors. Expect a variety of vendors selling adventure supplies, and booths with free information, maps, and goodies.

Once you’ve tried all of the outdoor fun, you’ll be able to learn about organizations and places in the area where you can put your newfound skills to use. For those looking for even more in-depth information on specialized topics, the festival also has several expert speakers throughout the weekend. You won’t have any shortage of valuable info, and there are plenty of people to ask if you have any questions about exploring the outdoors.

Meet the Mountains Festival is something that can be enjoyed by practically anybody! With a variety of different activities, chatting with local vendors, and walking through the plethora of food trucks and craft beer options. If you’ve been looking for a way to ease into outdoor adventure, you’ll want to put this summer festival on your list.

For more information about Meet the Mountains, visit MtmFest.com.

Written by Makenna Arnold for Northeast Tennessee Tourism.