Blue Springs Loop plus Watauga Overlook, 25.3 miles, 1,782’ elevation gain
● start/end at Unaka H.S., 119 Robinson Lane, Elizabethton, TN
This outstanding route loops by family farms, country estates, rural residences, and rugged creekside woods. The house where President Andrew Johnson died is on Blue Springs Road. Cyclists have spotted deer, bear, wild turkey, fox, and other small mammals in this part of northeast Carter County. Cyclist follow the Watauga River up to Wilbur Lake (a small jewel often filled with waterfowl) and Watauga Campground. This river is paradise for fly fisherman, who catch trout twelve months of the year. A Cat 3 climb take cyclists across the Appalachian Trail, down to Watauga Overlook and a spectacular view of Watauga Lake, and then back. Careful on the descent – this little-traveled, shady road is always damp, and the pavement is not the best. May is the time “through hikers” pass through Carter County. Surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest, Watauga Lake is located in an area that TVA describes as being “some of the most beautiful country in the Tennessee River watershed.”
Cue Sheet: Blue Springs Loop plus Watauga Overlook
Miles Action and Landmark/Road
0.0 start at Unaka H.S. (left entrance)
0.1 left onto Stoney Creek (TN-91)
0.6 right onto Danner Rd.
1.1 left onto Price Road
1.6 left turn, continue on Price Rd.
2.0 right onto Stoney Creek (TN-91)
3.2 right onto Blue Springs Rd.
8.1 left onto Bishop Hollow Rd.
8.4 right onto C. Grindstaff Rd.
9.3 sharp left onto Wilbur Dam Rd.
9.4 cross Watauga River on bridge
10.5 bear right uphill, still on Wilbur Dam Rd.
12.1 Wilbur Lake (on right), continue on Wilbur Dam Rd.
12.4 cross bridge, bear right onto River Rd.
13.0 stop at top of hill by Watauga Campground
13.0 turn around, go back downhill on River Rd.
13.5 right onto Lookout Road (short steep hill)
13.6 bear right onto Wilbur Dam Rd.
15.0 still on Wilbur Dam Road, cross Appalachian Trail
15.8 descend on Wilbur Dam Rd. to Watauga Lake Overlook
18.0 veer right, stay on Wilbur Dam Road
21.0 cross bridge, go straight onto Steel Bridge Road
21.8 right onto Blue Springs Road
22.2 left onto Campbell Rash Road
22.8 continue with a left turn onto Campbell Rash Road
23.1 right onto Willow Springs
23.8 left onto Price Rd.
24.2 left onto Danner Road
24.7 left onto Stoney Creek (US-91)
25.3 right turn, end at Unaka H.S.