ABOUT Tweetsie Trail
The Tweetsie Trail is a rails-to-trails project traversing the former East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad right-of-way between Johnson City and Elizabethton. A gradual tread of packed rock, the 9.6-mile trail provides opportunities for walking, running, and biking in a beautiful, natural setting. The railroad was known as the “Tweetsie,” a reference to the sound of its steam whistles.
The Tweetsie Trail begins at the corner of Alabama and Legion streets in Johnson City. This trailhead includes paved parking, benches, water fountains, a bike repair station, and a portable restroom. Overflow parking can be found nearby at the TVA Credit Union Ballpark or the large asphalt lot on the corner of East State of Franklin Road and Legion Street. The Tweetsie Trail extension runs to both lots and connects with sidewalks that run into downtown Johnson City. These lots are also in close proximity to Tannery Knobs, the City’s mountain bike park. The trail’s terminus is at the intersection of Stateline Road and Blue Ridge Drive. There is a small parking lot and portable restroom at the 9.4 mile marker. A portable restroom is also available at the Quarry Overlook near mile marker 3.
OTHER TRAIL ACCESS
The trail also can be accessed from Happy Valley Road, off Milligan Highway across from Happy Valley Elementary School, at the 3.1 mile marker. Limited parking is available in this area. Another access point, at the 4.2 mile marker, is near the Elizabethton National Little League ballfields at 1808 W. Elk Ave. As the trail runs through the city of Elizabethton, it abuts a number of commercial properties allowing for easy access.
ON THE TRAIL
Nearly two dozen information markers have been installed along the trail, providing passersby with an education about the history of the area, the regional railroad, geology, tree biology, and birding.
NEARBY SITES OF INTEREST
Within a half mile of the official trailhead, at the Sinking Creek Bridge, there is an opportunity to take a small detour from the trail and follow signage to Jacob’s Nature Park at Sinking Creek. This 28-acre park is open to the public and offers several hiking trails, a wetland area and an abundance of wildlife. It is a certified wildlife habitat and also includes within its boundaries a native tree arboretum.
At mile marker 2.5 is the Milligan Depot, a replica of the original train station that once served the area. Just off the trail at mile 4.4 is the Sabine Hill State Historic Site, the former home of Mary Patton Taylor, widow of Brigadier General Nathaniel Taylor, and described as one of the finest examples of wood framed Federal architecture in the state. The site is managed by Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, which is easily accessible from the trail at the 5.8 mile marker. This historic area was the site of several important events in the Revolutionary War and includes its own 2-mile trail.
For information about parking, mile markers, historical sites along the trail, and more, click on our interactive map below.