The Place: Bays Mountain Park, Kingsport
The Hike: From the dam to the floating bridge, roughly 1 mile roundtrip
Bays Mountain is one of my favorite places to go for fall colors. It helps it’s so easily accessible. Plus – it’s another excuse for me to go up to Kingsport.
Mochi and I decided to drive up to Bays one overcast October Sunday just to check out how the colors were coming along. After walking around by the animal enclosures and down by the lake, we headed across the dam and took off toward the floating bridge.
If you haven’t been to the floating bridge, this is a super easy and scenic hike. After you cross the dam (check out the Kingsport Self Trail spots on it!), you’ll see a couple trailhead branching from the point. Bays Mountain does it right — trails are clearly marked. Take off along the waterfront.
What’s nice about this trail is its relatively flat. While that’s true, it’s also rooty and does have some rocks you’ll need to watch out for.
Along this entire route is opportunity for pics of the lake and the trees. If you pick a less windy day, there’s a nice reflection to capture double the fall colors. There’s also a couple benches you can relax on to watch any wildlife or enjoy the beauty of the area. Also – don’t forget to look for fall bloomers. I spotted some hearts-a-burstin’, minus its berries.
At the bridge, you get a chance to take even more lake photos. It’s a very picturesque area, no matter the season.
From there, it’s super easy to just go back the way you came. There’s also the option to go across the bridge to explore more of the trail system out that way. There’s also a more uphill and longer route from the bridge toward the main area you can take back.