Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park and Elizabethton Linear Trail
Site Directions: Sycamore Shoals Park is located in the western portion of Elizabethton on the right side of Hwy 67 / 321 (W. Elk Ave.), just west of the Sycamore Shoals Hospital. If coming from Johnson City on Hwy 67 / 321, the park is on the left, 1.5 mile east of the intersection with West G Street (traffic light).
To reach the Linear Trail, exit Sycamore Shoals Park, turn left onto Hwy 67 / 321 (W. Elk Ave.), go 1.1 mile and turn left onto W. Mill St., go 3 blocks and turn left onto Ash St., go 1 block and turn left onto W. Riverside Dr., go 1 block to a parking lot on the right.
Lat-Long: 36.34284, -82.25361
Hours: daylight hours
Seasonality: year round, although spring and fall migration seasons are the best
Site Description: Both of these sites are located on the banks of the Watauga River near one another and are easily combined. Sycamore Shoals is a small, but prominent, historic site with paths through a narrow wooded strip beside the river. Restrooms are available in the visitor center. The Linear Trail is a paved walkway through wooded and shrubby edge. The trail runs for just a short distance upstream beside the river, but for nearly a mile downstream, continuing past the block building with a mural painted on it. The trail may eventually connect to the park.
Wildlife to Watch: At both Sycamore Shoals and the Linear Trail, spring and fall migration may produce a variety of warblers, vireos, flycatchers, thrushes, sparrows, and others. Yellow-crowned Night-Herons often nest at the park and may be seen anywhere along the river at both the park and linear trail; also watch for them around the swimming pool adjacent to the park (just east of the visitor center) on early summer mornings as they search for earthworms in the fenced-in grassy lawn. Wood Ducks, Spotted Sandpiper, Osprey, swallows, etc. may be seen along the river at either site in season. Baltimore and Orchard Orioles usually nest in sycamore trees at both sites. Warbling Vireos may sometimes nest along the upper portion of the Linear Trail. A few Buffleheads spend the winter on the river at the park. Otters or mink may be seen in the river at either site.
For more information:
Submit your data to eBird and help us build a list of birds seen at this site
Information for this site page was generously provided by Rick Knight.
Be sure to check out our Safety Tips page for important information regarding viewing wildlife in these areas.