Knoxville: Ridge-to-Waterfall Loop

This 12-miler hits the best of Bays Mountain Park: waterfalls, high ridges with fire-tower views, a lake, and lush forests frequented by deer.

Mapped by Collins Chew

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 17.6



Location: 36.508731842041, -82.6096572875976

From Nature Center, take 2nd R onto path, then R onto Lakeside Trail


Location: 36.5109901428223, -82.615592956543

R onto Firetower Trail, join road briefly, then back on trail for 500-ft. climb


Location: 36.5151901245117, -82.624397277832

Turn L onto crest of River Mtn. Rd. near fire tower (follow white blazes from here); climb tower for views of Kingsport and the park. To continue, head along spine of Holston River Mtn. to Y and go R onto Indian Pipes Trail


Location: 36.5111198425293, -82.6346664428711

Turn L from crest to continue ridgeline descent on Indian Pipes Trail


Location: 36.498851776123, -82.6461868286133

Turn R onto Kiner Hollow Trail @ 4-way and drop into draw to join stream


Location: 36.4938316345215, -82.661018371582

Turn R onto Laurel Run Trail for 2.2-mi. side trip to falls


Location: 36.4847984313965, -82.6731109619141

Laurel Run?s ledges form a 2-tiered cascade. Retrace to WPT 6; turn R onto Kiner Hollow Trail. Cross creek, then climb


Location: 36.4910697937012, -82.6577835083008

At crest, go L onto Pretty Ridge Trail and return to WPT 5; turn R, follow trail on long switchback down into Back Hollow


Location: 36.4977989196777, -82.6427688598633

Turn L in Back Hollow; follow old road/trail upstream


Location: 36.5064392089844, -82.631233215332

Feagins Gap: Straight @ 4-way onto gravel Lake Rd.; descend into valley


Location: 36.5094985961914, -82.6214065551758

Turn R onto Sweetgum Trail, then R again onto Lakeside Trail; cross beaver pond on boardwalk and parallel shoreline


Location: 36.5054473876953, -82.6176071166992

Cross floating bridge over back inlet and continue on Lakeside Trail to cross dam; close loop @ Nature Center


Location: 36.4850654602051, -82.6740264892578

©Collins Chew

Valley and ridge.

Location: 36.5152473449707, -82.6244201660156

View northeast of Holston River Valley and Kingsport, Tennessee. Clinch Mountain of Virginia on horizon. ©Collins Chew


Location: 36.5150413513184, -82.6243133544922

View south across Cherry Knobs and Bays Mountain. Chimney Top is highest peak in distance (3,118 ft). © Collins Chew.

View west

Location: 36.5150413513184, -82.6241073608398

Valley of Holston River unfurls in the distance. © Collins Chew


Location: 36.4893531799316, -82.6660995483398

©Collins Chew

Old barn

Location: 36.4981231689453, -82.6426773071289

Old barn near trail intersection. © Collins Chew.

Old house

Location: 36.4981231689453, -82.6426773071289

Old house near trail intersection. © Collins Chew

Lake view

Location: 36.506477355957, -82.6182327270508

View of length of lake.Dam is to the right in the distance. © Collins Chew.

Floating bridge

Location: 36.5055503845215, -82.6169891357422

Jan, Olin, and Dave on floating bridge. © Collins Chew.


Location: 36.5057563781738, -82.6165771484375

Dam in Kingsport Reservoir. © Collins Chew