This was a great stop for us–fantastic camping, rewarding hiking, good beer and delicious tacos. One activity we missed was exploring historic Jonesborough, which looks quaint and lovely, but we prioritized enjoying our sweet campsite over driving more. We’ll just have to go back!
We stayed at Riverpark Campground (it’s just past River View Campground; don’t get confused and fret about where you can turn your giant trailer around) in a waterfront spot on the Nolichucky River, and absolutely loved it. We could sit in our “yard” and watch the kayakers go by, or climb down the slightly rocky bank into the chilly river and play with Bugsy, then warm up by the campfire. Our site had full hookups, and the laundry room was clean. We were about a 20 minute drive from surprisingly cosmopolitan Johnson City.
On our first afternoon in Jonesborough, we didn’t have a ton of time but wanted to get into the woods for a quick hike close to home. We chose the Lone Oak to Tip Top route, only a few miles long and a few minutes’ drive from the campground, in Buffalo Mountain Park, a natural resource area owned by Johnson City. It gave us pretty views from the top, but most of the climb up was an overgrown jungle. Still, it was awfully convenient, and we were happy to be back on a trail.
The next day we hiked a lovely 6.5 miles (the hike as designed is 5.5 miles, but we took a wrong turn…) to the impressive Laurel Falls, in the Cherokee National Forest, from Hampton, TN. Bugsy the water dog especially enjoyed herself and entertained the other hikers with her antics in the pool beneath the falls (^can you spot her in the second falls picture?). On a weekday in early June, we saw several other groups on the trail, but didn’t have much company as we relaxed by the falls. This hike was a winner.
Eating and Drinking
Super exciting surprise–Johnson City has a White Duck Taco Shop!!!!!! We loved it moons ago in Asheville at the start of the trip and we still loved it here–so much so that we ate there twice during our two day stay in the area.
And it gets better: White Duck in Johnson City is connected to Yeehaw Brewing Co, so we could sample Yeehaw’s beer while gorging on tacos. All of this amazingness happened on a dog-friendly patio, with Bugsy waiting patiently under the table for bits of unwanted taco (there were none).
J, per usual, wrote an excellent summary of our brewery findings on the Johnson City brewery page.
Yeehaw had the tacos going for it, but we preferred JRH Brewing for the better (to us) beers and chatting with the friendly proprietors in the dog-friendly taproom. They offered a neat (gimmicky, perhaps) extra I hadn’t seen before: for a dollar or two (I don’t remember exactly) you can get a tea infuser-full of the hops of your choice, to steep in your beer and give it an extra kick.
Finally, we hit reliably pleasant and healthy Earth Fare market for groceries to cook at home while enjoying our fabulous campsite.