Tennessee - 13 Mile AT Section Hike

Updated: Apr 11

Appalachian Trail Section Hike - 13 miles

26 March to 27 March, 2021

Tennessee: Dennis Cove Rd to Wilbur Dam Rd

NoBo. Three hikers. Monsoon, Hummingbird, and Snickers (for now).

This was originally supposed to be a 29-mile section, ending at TN91 near Shady Valley.

Watauga Lake from the AT

We started Friday morning before 10:30 AM at Dennis Cove Rd, heading north. This is a very nice part of the AT, with initially a gentle climb and wide, easy path. It becomes rocky and transitions to steep downhill as you near Laurel Falls.

You can skip Laurel Falls if you remain on the high water route. I recommend you remain on the AT and head down to Laurel Falls. Well worth it. The trail then takes you literally on the edge of the rock as you hike along Laurel Creek briefly. Very neat hike.

Our goal was a total of 9 miles, to tent camp at Boots Off hostel. This included a somewhat challenging climb covering 2 miles. The reward is less than 3 miles remaining to the hostel once you crest Pond Mtn. Boots Off is located just 0.1 miles from the trail.

This is a nice hostel with plenty of room for even the busy hiker season. There are 21 marked tent sites, many beds, and nice facilities.

Fortunately we had good cell coverage here (they also have WiFi) and we were able to check the weather forecast. Saturday afternoon and into Sunday morning the forecast called for thunderstorms, many of them severe. This forecast did not improve when we woke up Saturday morning.

We decided to hike just 4 more miles. We called Black Bear Resort hostel before we departed, asking to be picked up a day early at Wilbur Dam Rd. We had parked our car at Black Bear hostel, which is just down from the trailhead at Dennis Cove Rd.

The hike Saturday morning took us around Watauga Lake, and over the dam, which was quite scenic.

This was a fun section, and as usual, provided for many laughs and shared experiences.


I hike to raise awareness. Please check out my YouTube video covering this AT section, which includes the details on the cause I supported during this hike.

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