Just shy of Kentucky, northwest of Boone Lake and southeast of Kingsport, is Warriors’ Path State Park, a 940-acre park named after the Great Cherokee War and Trading Path. While it has just less than a mile of paved bike pathways and makes way for cyclists on all of its roads, the real gem for those visiting on two wheels is its mountain biking trails. Spanning 8.5 miles of obstacles, inclines and more, the MTB-oriented National Recreation Trail onsite is known far beyond the park’s perimeter, thanks to both its designation and its scenery.
What Makes It Great
The versatility of the park’s bikeways is a welcome feature given its small stature and remote location in far northeast Tennessee. Those who just want to ride a road bike around a tiny island (with no vehicles allowed) can do just that, while mountain bike enthusiasts can put themselves to the test on a nationally-recognized course built by mountain bikers. The stacked trails offer a range of experiences with fast drops, rock gardens, and tight lines in some places.
If you want to experience the entire run, start with Darwin’s Revenge, east of the parking lot, and then move on to Boneyard, which takes you quickly downhill toward the lake. Then, move over to Rock City, which lives up to its name with the trails’ highest concentration of rocks; next, cut a left onto Whitetail Loop and finish strong with a downhill descent through Zipline and Magic Carpet. You’ll definitely want a shower afterward, and luckily, the park happens to have bathhouses.
There are even plans to continue expanding the trails in the area to the other side of Highway 81, so if you visit once and love it, you’ll have even more of a reason to come back.
Who is Going to Love It
Experienced mountain bikers who want to test their mettle on an illustrious, medium-difficulty course will enjoy their time spent on the MTB trails, while casual cyclists can enjoy the park’s sights by cruising along its main roads and taking advantage of its hike-and-bike island path.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From Interstate 81, take exit 59 and head west/northwest on Fort Henry Drive, then turn right on Colonial Heights Road and in less than a mile, make another right onto Warrior Drive, which leads into the park. The mountain biking trails have their own parking lot and are located five miles from the park’s visitors center, with signs clearly marked along the way.
Written by Amy Lynch for RootsRated in partnership with BCBS of Tennessee.
Featured image provided by TN State Parks