Adventures in the Southern Appalachians & Beyond!  






February 7th, 2009 - We had a really nice hike into the Doe River Gorge with our good friends, the McMurrays and the Mullins families.


We started out the Doe River Gorge Campground.  Please note:  This is private property, so if you wish to hike here you must do it in the campground's off-season, and you should also call ahead of time, or stop by their office to approve your visit and sign a release form.  Please respect the property... it's a beautiful place with historical significance. 


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Early in the Hike

  The Girls Taking a Break
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Grayson Checking Out the Steep Cliffs   Icicles Overhanging the Tracks

Our hike followed the Doe River on a narrow gauge rail line once known as "The Tweetsie", which ran from the 1880's until 1950.  The line carried iron ore from Cranberry, North Carolina to Johnson City, Tennessee.  To read more about this railroad's interesting history click here.     

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Taylor and Emily   Campbell and Jake
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Caroline   Hiking Up the Old Rail-line
We went through a couple of tunnels and hiked along sheer cliffs for much of the trek.  Once you see the area, you have a great appreciation of what an amazing engineering feat it was to carve a rail-line though this rugged area, especially in the late 1800's.  There are numerous and very large retaining walls, tunnels, man-made gaps with high rock walls, and a large old trestle.  If we would have went further, we would have seen more of the same on upstream.           
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Old Trestle, Taken From Underneath

  The Dilapidated Trestle from the Top
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Tay and Em Hanging Out on the Doe River   A Small Waterfall
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Campbell Exploring   Stopping for Lunch

After 2.5 miles of hiking up the old railroad, we came to the large trestle that has lost most of its crossties, making it unsafe to walk across.  So, we stopped for lunch and to rest.  Erick and I took a lot of photos, while the kids explored the area.  We soon returned back down the tracks to our cars.    

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Hiking Out  

More of the Huge Icicles

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Steep Gorge   Cam and Jake at One of the Tunnels
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Tunnel   The Doe River Valley
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Inside a Tunnel  

Group Photo


The total trek is estimated at 5.0 miles.  This is a great family hike with wonderful views and history.  It's not very strenuous as it follows the railroad grade the entire trip.  I didn't hear a single complaint from the kids, so it was obviously a success!     


Total Miles Hiked:  5.0


Getting There:  


Driving - See here.  


Trails - Once inside the campground, we parked at the main office on the right.  Again, this is private property so stop in the office, or better yet call ahead of time to make sure it is okay to hike.  The trail (railroad) begins at the pavilion near the office.  You'll simply follow the tracks into the gorge.  After approximately 2.5 miles you'll come to the large trestle where we turned around. 


Hike Rating -


Bill's Overall Rating:

Distance:  5.0 miles

Difficulty:  EASY

Type: OUT & BACK

Vista Rating: 

Waterfall Rating:  NONE

Water Crossings:  NONE

Scrambling/Climbing:  NONE, MODERATE to DIFFICULT if you leave the trail

Hazards:  avoidable cliffs

Significance:  historical, railroad, structures

Recommendation:  family/beginner, all-levels


Click here for hike rating reference guide.




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