DATE:
Recurring

Out & Back
~ .65 to 1 mile

ELEVATION GAIN:
~ 177 ft

LOCATION:
Johsnon City, TN

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Jacob’s Nature Park is a 28 acre wildlife habitat and level 1 certified arboretum built along Sinking Creek near downtown Johnson City, TN. This park was developed in memory of Jacob Francisco, a young boy who passed away in 2004 from an E. coli infection from an unknown source. More can be found out about Jacob’s legacy and how the park is being used to raise awareness regarding water safety at jacobfrancisco.com. The park was completed in 2018. This is a perfect spot for a quick nature outing any time, without the need to prepare for a longer hike further from town. We literally live minutes from this park, however only learned about it within the last year. Now we love to come regularly!

There are two different parking lots to access the park. The main one is off of King Springs Rd. The other is a parking lot next to the Outdoor Classroom located at a dead end on Ocala Dr. We have always parked at the main entrance where the trail begins with a 100’ wheelchair/stroller accessible ramp over the water.

I suggest an infant carrier as opposed to a stroller on the actual trails due to the terrain. We have gone in winter, spring, and summer so far. It has been so fun to see how the park has changed through the seasons. The Minga Path Loop is the trail we have always completed. The boys have walked along sections of the Turtle Ridge Trail Loop, however we have not completed it in its entirety. The Minga Path loop has blue trail blazes throughout.

Along the way, there are bridges that cross over Sinking Creek. There are signs posted along the creek to avoid playing in the creek water. Again, check out jacobfancisco.com for specific information, but the city, Boone Watershed Partnersip, Inc, and ETSU have been working towards decreasing the levels of E. coli in the stream. There are signs within the park to educate the community on reducing the risk of E. coli and about the creek water there.

There are multiple other signs throughout the park with education on various plants and wildlife. There are even signs that have a QR code to scan and learn more. Since the park is in city limits cell coverage was not a problem.

On the far side of the park there is a large outdoor classroom/pavilion adjacent to a parking lot at the end of Ocala Road. The pavilion has a living roof with signage to explain more about all its benefits.

NOTE: Currently, the address to this parking lot does not appear on GPS. If you would like to go directly to the outdoor classroom we have provided a link at the bottom of this page. It will get you to a a house nearby. Just continue down the road to the dead end and you will see the parking lot.

This park is an excellent addition to our community. There is so much education provided about the local habitat there. It is a great local place for kids to explore and learn!

To go directly to the Outdoor Classroom on Ocala Dr: