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Northeast Tennessee’s Doe Mountain Recreation Area & ATV Trail System

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An emerging new recreational ATV riding trail system located on the northeastern tip of Tennessee, Doe Mountain Recreation Area is a new outdoor adventure area in Johnson County, Tennessee. 

The 8,600-acre multi-use wilderness area currently maintains 50 miles of trails to be used by hikers, ATV/UTV riders, dirt bikes, mountain bikes, and horses.

Doe Mountain Recreation Area
Doe Mountain Recreation Area

As a new ATV trail system in Tennessee, the DMRA continues to improve and expand the trails. 

In fact, several improvements have been underway which include the expansion of several trails, new and improved trail markers, and updated trail maps.

You can keep current on all the updates and trail openings on their Facebook page.

Doe Mountain Recreation Area Trails & Fees

Permits can be purchased online or at the new Adventure Center located adjacent to the main parking area. Also available at the Adventure Center are trail maps, DMRA information, trail books,  and DMRA merchandise.

ATV Permits

The open trails are multi-use motorized trails permitting OHV/ATV riders. The trails are marked and permits are required. Permits can be purchased online.

Permit TypeDay Permit FeeAnnual Permit Fee
OHV Operator$25.00$60.00
OHV Passenger$5.00

ATV Rentals

You can book half or full day rentals on their website. Renters must be 21+. Here’s the fee for a 2-seater and 4-seater on a half and full day.

Vehicle TypeHalf DayFull Day
2- Seater$275.00$400.00
4- Seater$350.00$500.00

To know which dates are available to book, you may refer to their booking website.

ATV Trail Markings

  • Green– Easiest trails which are wider and more level than other trails
  • Blue– More difficult narrow trails with moderately steep, uneven paths over rocks and obstacles
  • Black– Most difficult trails with extremely steep and uneven paths and large rocks and obstacles

Rest assured to never get lost as you go ATV riding at the Doe Mountain Recreation Area as they now have an interactive/georeferenced map where you can find their new trails even when offline.

Use the georeferenced map in 3 easy steps:

  1. Download the georeferenced PDF of Trails to your mobile device.
  2. Download a free georeferenced pdf viewer like Avenza Maps from your mobile phone’s app store.
  3. Open the map and click on the arrow to find your location on the map. Please note that you will need to allow your device to know your location while using this app.

Learn more about their trail rules when you visit their website.

Historic Kettlefoot Fire Look-Out Tower

Kettlefoot Fire Look-out Tower is easily the most popular stop along the trails at Doe Mountain Recreation Area with its panoramic view of the Watauga Lake, as well as Grandfather, Beech and Pond Mountains.

Doe Mountain Recreation Area
Doe Mountain Recreation Area

Be sure not to miss the Kettlefoot Fire Lookout Tower. The view from the fire tower is well worth the climb!

Lodging Near Doe Mountain Recreation Area

The nearby town of Mountain City, while small, offers some quaint lodging options. If you are willing to drive a bit longer, lodging can be found on nearby Watauga lake as well.

  • Prospect Hill B&B– Just 4 minutes from DMRA, this historic civil war era mansion is located on the outskirts of Mountain City, TN offering countryside scenery and a made from scratch breakfast
  • Iron Mountain Inn B&B Stunning romantic B&B with gorgeous 180 degree views of the surrounding Appalachian Mountains
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06/19/2024 11:04 am GMT

Camping near Doe Mountain Recreation Area

There are several options for camping near the Doe  Mountain Recreation area for both primitive tent camping and full hook up RV sites.

  • R & D Campground –  Just 14 minutes to DMRA, it is located in Mountain City with convenient access to the trails. They have both tent and RV sites with water and electric available. There is a dump station included as well as a shower house.
  • Corn Creek Campground–  Only 7 minutes to DMRA, Corn Creek Campground is located off the famous “snake” section of 421 at the base of beautiful Iron Mountain.  They have tent and full service RV sites, a small cabin, as well as amenities that include:
    • Camp Store
    • Bath House
    • Covered Pavillion
    • Creek side deck
    • Creek side access
    • Community Fire Pit
  • Roan Creek Campground– Located 19 minutes from DMRA in Butler, TN that connects to the far end of DMRA trail 1. They offer cabin rentals, luxury tent site, RV sties with dedicated water and sewer hook ups, and primitive tent sites, which amenities such as:
    • Public Bath House
    • Picnic Shelter
    • Gas Grills
    • Fire Pit
    • Hose/Wash Down Area
    • Firewood *Additional charge applies
    • Kayak Rentals *Additional charge applies  

Dining Near Doe Mountain Recreation Area

Despite being a small town, Mountain City has some great dining options in the area.  There are, of course, fast food options and grocery stores to help you stock your camp sites or cabins, but if you are looking for an evening out for dinner, we highly recommend the following options.

  • Suba’s– Owned and operated by two professionally trained chefs, LuAnne and Rich Suba, Suba’s is definitely not to be missed. The small restaurant has steak, seafood, pasta and chicken dishes for every palate and Luanne’s pastries are not to be beat! We personally recommend the Carrot Cake Cheesecake if you can get a piece before it’s gone. Reservations are recommended!
Suba's Carrot cake Cheesecake
Carrot Cake Cheescake from Suba’s
  • La Cucina’s Italian Kitchen– Another amazing hidden gem in Mountain City is La Cucina’s Italian Kitchen.  Italian Owner, Matteo Torri, makes everything from scratch.  This family style homey Italian restaurant only has 24 tables so reservations are a must!  The food is authentic Italian and the ambiance is great for a romantic meal or a larger family dinner.  We have dined here on numerous occasions and have always had an amazing dinner!
La Cucina's Italian Kitchen
  • Monsoon’s Thai & Exotic Foods- In nearby Butler, TN inside of what amounts to an out building, you will find the long established and fantastic Monsoon’s Thai & Exotic Foods.  If you aren’t in a hurry and Thai food is your thing, make it a point to have dinner here one night.
  • Shirley’s Home Cooking – If home cooking is more your style, 22 minutes away on 321 located near Watauga Lake is Shirley’s Home Cooking family style restaurant.  All menu items are just like grandma made it “from scratch” and all you care to eat.  Be sure to check the website for their live music schedule.

Attractions Near Doe Mountain Recreation Area

If ATV riding isn’t enough to keep you busy, here are a few other attractions to consider while visiting the Doe Mountain Recreation Area.

  • Take a walk through downtown Mountain City – The downtown, while small, offers a few antique stores and a beautiful mural.  Stop in at the visitor center for a glimpse into the historic life of this community and stroll down the residential streets to see some beautiful historic houses including the historic Butler house built in 1871 for congressman Roderick R. Butler.
Mountain City Sign
Downtown Mountain City brick sidewalks
Historic Mountain City Home
Watauga Winery Vista
Backbone Rock Tennessee
Backbone Rock
Backbone Rock Butler, TN
  • Ride the Virginia Creeper Trail– Another great trail and different way to see the beauty of this region is on two wheels! You can mountain bike (you can also rent bikes) within the DMRA, but a very popular nearby attraction is the Virginia Creeper Trail. For more information about visiting the Virginia Creeper Trail, visit their website
Virginia Creeper Trail Whitetop Station
Stream on the Virginia Creeper Trail
  • Visit the Nearby Smoky Mountains -The town of Mountain City and surrounding northeast Tennessee region is charming in its own right, but you can’t get this close to the Smoky Mountains and not make a visit to Tennessee’s premier mountains and the nation’s most visited national park, The Great Smoky Mountains.

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Fun ATV Riding Clothes

While protective gear is essential on the trail, looking cute and sharing your wilder riding side with the world is okay. I’m a big fan of ball caps and love this adorable “ATV hair, Don’t Care” hat from Sew Vivid Design on Etsy. Be sure to check out all this cute ATV apparel.

Download Our Free ATV Pre-Ride Inspection Checklist!

Recommended ATV Riding Resources


While you’re there, it’s a must that you try these Best Things To Do In Mountain City, Tennessee.

For ATV destinations outside the US, check out this guide on off-roading ATV adventure In Sayulita, Mexico.

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Thursday 19th of July 2018

Ok, that cake definitely caught my eye! It looks so good! Some wine wouldn't hurt, either. Beautiful photos! Thanks for joining FAF! See you tomorrow! xo


Thursday 19th of July 2018

omg that food! That dessert made me drool! I love ATVs they are so much fun. I used one in Santorini of all places. This looks like a great spot. Have pinned! Thanks so much for joining Fly Away Friday! See you tomorrow :)

Comments are closed.
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