Tweetsie Trail


23 Reviews

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Tweetsie Trail Facts

States: Tennessee
Counties: Carter, Washington
Length: 10 miles
Trail end points: Alabama St. and Legion St. (Johnson City) and Stateline Road and Blue Ridge Drive (Elizabethton)
Trail surfaces: Crushed Stone
Trail category: Rail-Trail
ID: 8034439

Tweetsie Trail Description

Nestled into the recreational playground of northeastern Tennessee, a homespun pathway connects two charming towns in the Appalachian foothills. The Tweetsie Trail links Johnson City, home to East Tennessee State University, and quaint Elizabethton, one of Tennessee’s oldest towns and host to attractions like the Sabine Hill State Historic Site and Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park, both located just off the trail. Views along the route include picturesque pastures, hardwoods that put on autumnal color shows, and photo-worthy overlooks of Happy Valley.

The rail-trail follows a railroad corridor that once snaked through the mountains and crossed into North Carolina. It’s been nearly two decades since trains rumbled down the narrow tracks and emitted the high-pitched whistles that gave the rail line—and later the Tweetsie Trail—its affectionate moniker. And it’s fitting that the route of the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad—once known as the “Railroad with a Heart” for its above-and-beyond service and heart-shaped ticket punches—is now the home of a beloved community amenity.

At mile-marker zero on the east end of Johnson City, the journey forward begins with a look back. Trail goers are greeted with a broad “Tweetsie Trail” sign arching overhead on metal scaffolding designed to resemble a railroad trestle. At their feet, a segment of the original track, dating back to the early 1880s, lies inlaid in the trail. Continuing down its firm, crushed-stone surface, the trail is bedecked with interpretative signage about the local history, geology and ecology. At either end, the trail goes through two urban communities with access to many restaurants and shops (including bike rentals in Johnson City).

Parking and Trail Access

On the west end of the trail, parking is available at the Johnson City trailhead at Alabama and Legion Streets. Additional trail parking is offered a half-mile northwest of the trailhead at the TVA Credit Union Ballpark (510 Bert St., Johnson City) and at the parking lot kitty-corner from the ballpark at Legion Street and East State of Franklin Road.

On the east end of the trail, parking is available in Elizabethton at Lion’s Field (off Elk Avenue) and at the trailhead at Stateline Road and Blue Ridge Drive.

Tweetsie Trail Reviews

Johnson City to Elizabethton is 5 stars!

But going through Elizabethton is noisy next to the main thoroughfare. The trail is well maintained over the full 10 miles. If you go and the Johnson City Trailhead lot is full, there is a second parking lot a 1/4 mile away on the other side of Legion Street.

Very pretty & gorgeous rock tunnel !!

This trail was just gorgeous, well kept, & clean. The first half was very wooded and scenic. The second half was thru the town congested and had lots of streets and lights to go thru. We enjoyed it because we wanted to see what the town had business wise.

First 4m is Pretty but that’s it

We are visitors in Asheville and have been trying out different Greenway bike trails over the past week and decided to drive to TN to try this one. The crushed gravel is very fine so isn’t too difficult to ride on with a road bike. The first 4 miles are pretty but after that it runs parallel to a very busy street full of truckers and much traffic and goes by strip malls, many street crossings, etc.. We turned around about 3/4 way into the ride as the street was so unpleasant to ride next to. Was nice to experience it but wouldn’t make the drive to go back. The Thermal Belt Trail in NC was nicer than this for a longer Greenway that’s more scenic. We met some locals there who said there’s a really pretty paved greenway in Kingston TN but we didn’t get a chance to try that one out.

upper 1/2

I left from the Johnson City end and the first 4 miles were really beautiful; the 5th mile began to go through more development and then by the 6th mile, you are riding along a busy highway with lots of shops and “driveway” / road crossings that are busier than the crossings in the first 4 miles. Next time I would only go to the Sycamore Shoals State Park entrance and then turn around....I prefer woods and open scenery to buildings and strip malls


A Real Gem

My husband and I experienced this trail today for the first time and it was great! Beautiful scenery, plenty of space and a great surface. We did all 10 miles in and then came back to where we had parked our car. Wonderful!

tweetsy apr 2020.

Johnson city has several large lots for parking. As well as several other access points with parking. Light traffic on trail. 12 pm- 3 pm. Maybe 20 people Over the 20 mile. 10 in. 10 out ride. Trail very well maintained. Has many static signs at various points of interest. We added this as a midway stop during drive. Great decision. Easy ride. Great surface. Sm gravel packed. Easy ride both ways with leg easy grade Will check it out agin next time we pass by

Tweetsie Ride

Started at Johnson City entrance and rode to Sycamore Shoals near Elizabethton. Excellent surface and very wide. Next day, started in Elizabethton. Narrower trail with lots or barriers because trail crosses city streets.

The first 4-5 miles from Johnson City is some of the prettiest trail I've ridden on, the second half is nothing special. Slight up and down the whole time and very well maintained.

The first 4-5 miles from Johnson City is some of the prettiest trail I've ridden on, the second half is nothing special. Slight up and down the whole time and very well maintained.

Worth the trip !

My wife and I travel the country to ride rails to trails.
This trails has it all , scenery, friendly people and a nice wide
trail great for hybrid bikes. Elizabethton has a cover bridge and
a small town fill. Johnson City is the place to stay and downtown
is up and coming with restaurant and breweries. The trail even has a BBQ
restaurant on the trail. The trail could use restrooms is stead of
porta johns. Other then that you will enjoy the ride ! Lattie Dockery

Half of it is good

First half gets 4 stars, second half gets 1.

Starting in Johnson City, the first 4 1/2 or 5 miles are good, with the kind of scenery and environment you want on a trail. But then you come out of the trees and the trail runs besides a very busy highway and you're surrounded by traffic and businesses and I believe it stays that way more or less for the rest of the trail. The second half would be good for locals commuting, but hardly my idea of an enjoyable recreational trail. Go five miles and then turn around.

just wonderful bike trail

We went 4.8 out and back. Nice combo of up and down gentle incline decline. Light packed gravel. I have Trek Dual sport and good for this since little wider tire. Good wide trail.

Nice and Casual

Once you get out of the many street crossings the trail is very enjoyable. My wife and I rode it with our hybrids which was the perfect bike choice. The trail is wide and easy to navigate. Nice gradual climb from Elizabethton to Johnson City. The trail has that hard packed, sandy surface. That's the reason for four stars instead of five. I shouldn't be so picky. I plan to ride it again with some friends.

Lots of Potential

Started riding the trail when it first opened and loved it overall. However, we would love to see it extended to Roan Mountain. Also, people need to clean up after their pets and the trail is not as well maintained as it was in the beginning. On our last ride, there was quite a bit of storm related debris along the trail and it had washed the trail in several areas. Despite these issues, the trail is a great addition to our community and looking forward to future expansion (great potential for tourism growth and improved health of our region). Keep the trail safe & clean! Take some tips from Chattanooga's Riverpark Trail - AMAZING TRAIL - Extremely well maintained with great design & a sense of permanence - A Must See Trail!

Beatiful Trail

I love rails-to-trails and this one is a beauty. I run instead of bike so i did 7 miles that took you by creeks, mountains, and ponds. Awesome morning.

Nice Trail

My wife and I (in our 60s) rode the trail this summer. The reviews were spot on. We started in Johnson City since we were heading north on I-81. The end of the dedicated trail goes along a fairly busy highway and one does need to watch for vehicles pulling in and out. The part from JC to Elizabethton is mostly down-hill (but not so much we had to get off our bikes), in the woods, and has some stops/interpretive sites. Trail surface is fine packed gravel/dirt, no worries for hybrids. 4 stars for the busy part in Elizabethton.

One of my favorites in East TN

Beautiful surroundings

Great trail

Tweetsie trail is a great trail for bike riding. I had an enjoyable ride to Elizabethton and back.

Shorter Than I Expected

I tried this trail out on the recommendations from some people I met on the Linear Trail in Erwin, TN. They gave me a tip that I should start in Elizabethton, TN instead of Johnson City, TN, because of the steady grade up going to Johnson City, this made the ride back to Elizabethton a breeze.

I've never rode a trail that was packed gravel so I was surprised about the noise my tires made on the gravel. The trail was short but pleasant one once you got closer to the Johnson City end of it.

When you start in Elizabethton you will ride parallel to a busy highway with a lot of roads to cross. Trail then shifts away to a quieter area with plenty of shade trees.

The only real problem I and other bikers and I'm sure runners experienced were the spectators at a little league ball game that took over the trail. It was a little nerve racking to trying to maneuver around the people setting in the lawn chairs and unattended small children running all over the place. There should be large signs reading DO NOT BLOCK THE TRAIL, I've notice this type of signage on other trails I've road.

I used my road bike on this trail, but I think if I do go back I'll use my mountain bike instead.

Ok but short trail

Not a bad little trail. Did it on a weekday and it was somewhat busy at the JC trail head but thined out as we traveled on. We biked on into downtown Elizabethtown where there is a nice city park and covered bridge as well as some historic house and such but all that stuff is well after trails end but worth the extra effort.


Our area has needed this trail for a long time. The only thing lacking would be trash receptacles and restroom facilities. I'm told there are benches ready to be installed. All in all a very nice trail for folks to enjoy at their leisure.

Great Little Trail

After many years in the making, it's finally here and ready for all takers. I actually rode this trail on raw rail gravel well before opening. Beautiful!

Great trail to bike, walk & run

If you haven't been on the new Tweetsie Trail, you are missing out! Nice pathways through the woods, over creeks and alongside the Watauga river. So glad to have this in Elizabethton!!

Official Opening

August 30, 2014 is the official opening. It is a great trail for hybrid and mountain bikes.

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