The Cherokee National Forest is divided into northern and southern sections by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 650,000-acre forest is the largest tract of public land in Tennessee and adjoins other national forests in Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia. The forest is home to 30 developed campgrounds and numerous picnic areas, over 700 miles of trails, seven whitewater rivers, two Forest Service scenic byways where you can enjoy a scenic drive through the mountains, the pursuit of wildlife, the thrill of whitewater, a night under the stars, or solitude on a backcountry trail.
Hundreds of miles of lake shoreline and water await the fisherman, boating enthusiast, skier, and nature lover. South Holston Lake, a Tennessee Valley Authority reservoir covering 7,580 acres, is considered one of the top two lakes in Tennessee and among the best in the Southeast for smallmouth bass fishing and also is well known as a fly fisherman’s paradise. The lake also provides many other recreational opportunities for residents, with 60% of its shoreline bordered by the Cherokee National Forest.
Bristol is known for NASCAR as it is home to one of the world’s greatest and most popular racetracks. Bristol Motor Speedway, which seats in excess of 150,000, hosts NASCAR Sprint Cup events in April and August and both draw fans from all 50 states and more than a dozen countries.
Music also gives Bristol a universal appeal as the city holds the honor of being named the Birthplace of Country Music by U.S. Congress in 1998. In 1927, the legendary Bristol Sessions took place in the downtown area, giving birth to the “Big Bang” of modern country music with the likes of The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers taking part in the historic occasion.
The Twin Cities boast numerous parks, golf courses, spectacular caverns to go along with plenty of great restaurants – many of which are locally owned and operated – and wonderful shopping opportunities.
Bristol is also rich in theater and arts and is home to the historic Paramount Center for the Arts, as well as Theatre Bristol. Numerous fine art galleries and studios of local artists can also be found in the downtown area.
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