DATE:
3/10/2021

LOOPS
~ 1.1 and 3.1 Loops

ELEVATION CHANGE
Minimal

LOCATION
Bristol, TN

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The TVA opened the Yelling and Dam Builder bike trails in 2020. They are labeled as multipurpose hiking/biking trails. They could make for a decent nature walk, however, there is no landmark destination and the dirt rollers designed for bikes would make them a little awkward for hiking.

Located directly across from the Bristol Water Reservoir, you will know you have reached your destination when you see the water tower. 

These two loop trails are rich with history. The trail head info station details how Yelling Trail is named for a Revolutionary War battalion, The Overmountain Men. The Dam Builders Trail was built on an area excavated for materials to build the South Holston Dam. 

We have visited the trails twice so far and both times we completed Yelling. The second visit included a section of the Dam Builder using the cut through to shorten it to about 1 mi (See the white section on the map above). They are definitely in the beginner/moderate range for a mountain bike trail. I would consider this a step up in difficulty from the Tweetsie or Creeper Trails. There are not any overly challenging climbs or drops but there are a good amount of rollers and berms  that more advanced riders can take advantage of. Our youngest was able to complete Yelling on a 12” bike on our first trip (he has since upgraded to a 20”). 

Yelling Trail

Both trails begin at the same trail head. To the left are the two entrances for Yelling. The map does not point to a particular right of way. We went right.

Along the way there is a skinny plank set up to to the side of the trail that is completely optional for any adventurous types. It has a fork with two small drops at the end. Having watched a few Mountain Biking videos on YouTube with the boys, they were excited to run across this feature and give it a shot.

The real excitement for the boys is the abandoned car off the trail. We have no idea how this thing got out here or how long it has been there. The boys are completely fascinated by it though. It’s the key attraction of the trail for them and refer to this trail as, “the abandoned car trail”.

Shortly past the car you will find yourself parallel to the road as the loop finishes back at the trailhead that was to the left of where you entered.

Dam Builders Trail (short section ~1 mi)

This 3.1 mile loop starts to the right of main trail. It has a fork at about 15 feet in. Again, there is no right of way marked so we chose to go right this time as well. It may be better to go left next time, (more on why in a moment).

The kids were a little weary of doing the full 3.1 after doing Yelling. Fortunately there is cut off that cuts the trail into less than one third. (See the white section of the map at the top of the post). From the path to the right of the trailhead this shortcut is not marked and easily missed. The older two were a little ahead and rode right past it.

However, when we popped out the other side there was an unlabeled marker designating the path. (This is why it may be better to take the left path from the trail head if you are intending to use the cut through). From here we went left back toward the trailhead/parking lot.

Since we did not do the entire 3.1 mi I can’t really speak to the difficulty of the whole trail. For the most part, it seemed to be on par with Yelling but it did have a few sharp turns to be aware of and a couple small rock features that are optional if you want to challenge yourself.

The Yelling and Dam Builder trails offer some great mountain biking opportunities for both novice and experienced riders. They are such a nice addition to our region. More on the Yelling and Dam Builder trails can be found at the links below.

https://www.tva.com/environment/recreation/tva-fun/tvafun/history-on-wheels

https://www.tva.com/environment/recreation/tva-trails/tva-trails-detail-page/south-holston-multi-use-trails