Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bay's Mountain Park, Kingsport, Tennessee

Bays Mountain city park, on the southwestern edge of Kingsport, is a great place to visit and spend some time. They have trails, a planetarium, nature center, captive animals, picnic area, gift shop, an observatory, and a small lake. The lake and dam were the city's water source many years ago and were privately purchased to form the park. It is as good a cross section of southern Appalachian flora and fauna as any in the mountains. It is the hiking that really makes Bays Mountain more than just a city park with a few animals to stare and gawk at.

We hiked the Lakeshore Trail, 2.3 miles, on a hot August afternoon. That was most of the reason we didn't add any new birds. But we did get visited by a Red admiral which feasted on the salt on our fingertips. It tickled! The proboscis is about 1-1 1/2" long and it just checks out every whirl and loop on your fingertip.

There are plenty of side trails (be cautious that the park is edged with private properties). Because there are many roads around the edge of the park bike riding would probably be a lot of fun with the hills and few cars to worry about. The signage was good and with the map we never were concerned about our location.

For Kingsporters, Bays Mountain would be probably a good place to get out of the heat of the bowl that is Kingsport. And into some fresh air.

Getting there is another matter. There's one route leading from Wilcox Road exit off I-26 and one from the Meadowview exit farther up the road from Wilcox. Check google maps for "bays mountain kingsport tenn" for directions.

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