JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Located in the heart of both Johnson City and Elizabethton, the Tweetsie Trail takes visitors on an easy stroll, run or bike down a well-paved path. As of 2019, the trail stretches from Johnson City to Sycamore Shoals Park in Elizabethton.
Once completed though, the trail will reach the Betsytowne Shopping Center and will be around 10-miles long. Once it reaches that length, the Tweetsie Trail will be the longest rails-to-trails project in Tennessee.
This rails-to-trails project traverses the former ET&WNC railroad right-of-way between Johnson City and Elizabethton. Once helping provide great economic growth to the region as a rail line, the trail is now helping the areas around Johnson City and Elizabethton grow. According to Phil Pindzola, the Johnson City Public Works Director, “There’s close to 1,000 people on the trail each day, and obviously a little more on weekends,” he explains. “And we’ve seen a business start-up here at the trailhead, Elizabethton has seen a few businesses start-up since the trail runs right through the middle of its town, so it’s been a real big bonus for Johnson City.”
One very unique part of this trail is the fact that it was built without any federal or state funding. Pindzola says the trail was constructed thanks to donations from individuals, businesses, and local governments. Another unique aspect of the trail is its’ name. The Tweetsie Trail is known as the Tweetsie because of the sound of the locomotive whistle, the railroad, and the trains.
This hike is open to the public from dawn to dusk. All pets are asked to be kept on a leash.