If you’re into fishing and boating, the lakes are nothing short of spectacular. There are multiple parks for picnicking and play, awe-inspiring Bristol Caverns and Appalachian Caverns, golf courses, 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 golf course. Sugar Hollow Park, just a few miles away, also boasts lovely walking trails, picnic areas, disc golf, single-track mountain biking, camping, and a sports complex.

The Mendota Trail is a 12.5-mile rails-to-trails project designed for walking and biking. The former Southern railroad corridor between Bristol, VA, and Mendota, VA, spans tranquil countryside and forests on gentle grades.

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. Campsites and boat ramps for the lake are available at Observation Knob Park.

Cherokee National Forest

The 640,000-acre Cherokee National Forest forms the largest tract of public land in Tennessee. It offers an endless supply of opportunities for camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, rafting, and hiking. Enjoy a scenic drive through the mountains, the pursuit of wildlife, the thrill of whitewater, a night under the stars, or solitude on a backcountry trail.

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 open at The Pinnacle.

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)!

South Holston Lake

Hundreds of miles of lake shoreline and water await the fisherman, boating enthusiast, skier and nature lover. South Holston Lake, a Tennessee Valley Authority reservoir covering 7,580 acres, is considered one of the top two lakes in Tennessee and among the best in the Southeast for smallmouth bass fishing and also is well known as a fly fisherman’s paradise. The lake also provides many other recreational opportunities for residents, with 60% of its shoreline bordered by the Cherokee National Forest.

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