The city of Elizabethton epitomizes the southern charm culture, but its hospitality is not just limited to the human population. This enchanting mountain town is very open-hearted to fur people as well, with three dog-friendly eateries and two veterinarians to keep pups fit as a fiddle!
Fluffy historians looking to write their own adventure will paw-ticularly enjoy the Sycamore Shoals Historic Area. This 70-acre state park is nestled against the Watauga River and has a past equally as rich as its natural beauty. The park boasts miles of trails for leashed pets and their parents to blaze. One favorite being the Mountain River trail, which is dotted with signs that detail the historical significance of various waypoints. All this knowledge is sure to make your little trailblazer hungry, so make sure you pack a lunch to enjoy at the park picnic area!
If your fur family isn’t in the mood for sandwiches and potato salad, there are several local spots that dish out dog-friendly delights. Jiggy Ray’s Downtown Pizzeria is a great spot to enjoy a "pupperoni" pie with your favorite companion. This unique eatery describes its fixin’s as “Itappalachian cuisine” with a signature barbecue pork pizza called the “Hillbilly Pit Pie”. No matter what you order, your pup will be in hog heaven!
The Appalachian Caverns in Blountville is a fantastic
starting place for pups looking for a fresh adventure. The history of this
cave system dates back 1,300 years; experts who have studied the caves believe they were first used
by Native Americans for shelter. The caverns have also been linked to famous
explorers such as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone! The staff love greeting dogs that come along on the tours; just make sure your pup stays leashed at all times. For
pets looking to extend their stay, the facility also manages a fur-friendly campground!
This is not an excursion to be missed!
In need of some cool mountain air? The High Bluff and Rhododendron Gardens Trails are just the place for daring doggy duos looking to reconnect with nature. These trails are absolutely breathtaking all year round, but are best viewed in mid-to-late June when the Rhododendrons are in bloom. Your pup will love that the trails do not require leashes (except in developed areas and in the picnic grounds). It is important for Fido's safety that he remain under voice recall at all times. The Garden Trail is open to the public from April to November, which will give your pup plenty of time to make his mark on this picturesque preserve!
Situated at the north end of Charlie Robinette Park is the lovely Bristol city Bark Park! This quaint dog run was the first of its kind in the area and has quickly become a favorite for the area’s pups. The park is totally free for public use and welcomes dogs of any size, with separate spaces for small and large breeds to play. Small dogs relish in having their own private watering area and large enclosure to rule over (but don’t worry, big guys — you have your own, too!). The paw park even has its own separate parking lot and walking trail! Your fur babies will be yapping about this spot for weeks to come!
Thirteen miles southwest of Elizabethton is a very pupular park that drives the locals wild! Johnson City Dog Park is a 1.8-acre, members-only dog run that truly cares about it’s furry regulars. All dogs must be up-to-date on vaccinations to keep their membership active. Membership costs $35 a year for the first dog and $20 more for additional pooches, but it is well worth the price when you consider that you will never have to worry about your pup catching a preventable illness here! If you aren’t interested in signing up for a membership, there are plenty of things to explore outside of the dog run that are free, including a scenic walking trail that your leashed pup will surely love. Feeling hungry? Check out one of the 23 dog-friendly eateries Johnson City has to offer, two of which are just 5 minutes from the park!
Need to get your pups “all aboard” a new exercise regimen? Leash up and chug along the Tweesie Rail Trail, a gorgeous walking path that currently extends from Sycamore Shoals in Elizabethton to Johnson City. Some of the path is still under construction, but upon completion, it will traverse over 10 miles of beautiful Tennessee countryside! You may be thinking “What a peculiar name for a railroad!”, but its origins are honest, earning the name from the sound the locomotives make when they blow their whistle! Pups love “conducting” their business on this charming trail!