For those who love the outdoors, it doesn’t get much better than Bristol. The majestic mountains provide a beautiful background for what is considered one of the most beautiful areas in the Southeast.
If you’re into fishing and boating, the lakes are nothing short of spectacular and there are multiple parks for picnicking and for play, as well as awe inspiring Bristol Caverns and Appalachian Caverns, golf courses and miles and miles of trails for hiking, and much more.
If you’re into hiking, camping and biking Bristol has multiple city parks, including Steele Creek Park which encompasses more than 2,100 acres and features numerous hiking trails around the lake, along with paddleboats, a nature center and a gold course. Sugar Hollow Park, just a few miles away, also boasts wonderful walking trails, picnic areas, swimming, camping and a sports complex.
There are more than 40 square miles of inland lakes and freshwater streams nearby, including South Holston Lake. The 7,580 acre reservoir, known for its smallmouth bass fishing, features plenty of fishing holes and 60 percent of its shoreline borders the Cherokee National Forest. Camp sites and boat ramps for the lake are available at Observation Knob Park.
Adventure Mendota offers unguided kayak trips on the North Fork of the Holston River (15 miles from downtown Bristol). Our beautiful river and high quality Jackson sit-on-top kayaks make this a perfect recreational kayaking experience. The water’s gentle flow ensures your first trip will be as good as your next 10 and the best part? Anybody can do it — no experience is necessary!
The 640,000-acre Cherokee National Forest provides one of the world’s most natural diverse areas while the famed Appalachian Trail lies minutes east of the city. Additional outdoor opportunities include whitewater rafting on the nearby Nolichucky River or golf at one of our six public golf courses.
If you’re looking for outdoor gear Bass Pro Shops (Bristol, Tenn.) at The Pinnacle at Exit 74 has what you need. The 105,000-square foot hand-crafted store reflects the uniqueness of East Tennessee and welcomes visitors with a unique water feature in front of the store, as well as hand painted murals, an aquarium and Uncle Bucks Fish Bowl and Grill, a restaurant and bowling alley. Dick’s Sporting Goods, Marshall’s, Belk and 50+ other retail stores and 10+ restaurants are also is open at The Pinnacle.
Cabela’s at The Falls (Bristol, Va.) offers customers an immersive outdoor experience with log construction, stonework, a mountain replica, dozens of wildlife displays and museum-quality taxidermy mounts, vintage outdoor photos and memorabilia, hand-painted murals, an aquarium and an indoor archery range. In addition to thousands of quality outdoor products, the store will include a cafe, fudge shop, Gun Library, Bargain Cave, boat shop and service center. The Falls is a 120-acre development with over 1,000,000 square feet of proposed retail space with Lowes, Sheetz and Zaxby’s now open and Buffalo Wild Wings opening in 2016.
Mountain Sports, Ltd., a family-owned outdoor adventure store located in Bristol, Va. since 1981, also has plenty of gear. One of the region’s largest outdoor outfitter, Mountain Sports offers only the highest quality, dependable, and functional equipment, outerwear and classic clothing. Also, in downtown Bristol TN/VA, there’s TRISUP (Tri-Cities Stand Up Paddleboard Company), where you can learn to walk on water (so to speak)!