Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions:

Are the trails open?
A: The trails at Doe Mountain Recreation Area are open daily, year-round from sunrise to sunset. Wear proper gear, monitor local weather and be prepared for trail conditions. In winter, we do not plow or treat trails. Our Adventure Center at Harbin Hill Trailhead may be closed to keep our staff safe in the event of inclement weather.


What are your trails like?
A: The majority of our trails are built to U.S. Forest Service Class 3 or 4 standards and are relatively easy.  Multiuse trails are marked as “easiest” (green), “more difficult” (blue) or “most difficult” (black).  Only three of our multiuse trails are rated “most difficult” (black).  Single track trails are unrated, but are all challenging and should only be attempted by experienced riders.


How tall is Doe Mountain?
A: The summit at Kettlefoot Peak is 3,889 feet above sea level.  The historic Kettlefoot Fire Lookout Tower at the peak was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936 and is 60 feet tall.


Are helmets required?
A: Yes, a DOT or SNELL approved helmet is required on vehicles, along with protective eyewear and, if applicable, factory-installed restraints.  It is crime in Tennessee for minors to ride a vehicle without an approved helmet and a crime for adults to allow a minor to ride without a helmet. Passengers are limited to the vehicle manufacturer’s specifications.


Where can I purchase permits?
A:  Permits are currently available at the Adventure Center at 1203 Harbin Hill Road, Mountain City, TN and at:

  • East Tennessee ATV: 106 Clay Little Road, Elizabethton, TN 37643
  • Johnson County Welcome Center: 716 S. Shady Street (US 421), Mountain City, TN 37683
    Mountain City Cycle: 341 S. Shady Street (US 421), Mountain City, TN 37683
  • R&D Campground: 900 Mining Town Road, Mountain City, TN 37683 (connects to Trail 17)
  • Roan Creek Campground: 205 Morefield Road, Butler, TN 37640 (connects to Trail 1)

Are 4×4 vehicles allowed on your trails?
A: No, our trails are limited to foot, bike, ATV, UTV (side by side), equestrian and/or dirt bike traffic.  In the local area, we recommend contacting Patriot Mountain Offroad Park, 3588 NC Highway 194, Sugar Grove for 4×4 riding.


When will you be adding more trails?
A: Trails are built as finances and, more importantly, personnel are available to build them and keep them properly maintained. Our volunteer Trail Ambassadors do a fantastic job helping us maintain our trail system, which requires more or less constant maintenance.


Do permits pay for trail construction/maintenance?
A:  In part. The cost of trail construction and maintenance, currently exceeds the annual total of permit sales.


Do you have cabins, campsites. RV sites, etc.?
A:  No, however, there are many local lodging options ranging from campgrounds to hotels to private cabins. We recommend contacting the Johnson County Welcome Center at (423) 727-5800 for assistance with selecting local lodging options.


Do you have ATV/UTV/bike rentals?
A: No. DMRA hopes private industry will soon make this an option for visitors.


What is the speed limit on Doe Mountain?
A: The maximum speed limit anywhere in Doe Mountain Recreation Area is 16 mph. The speed limit in parking and trailhead areas is 5 mph. All trails are two-way traffic and there are many sharp curves and places with very limited sight distance where it is impossible to safely reach the maximum speed limit of 16 mph. We strongly encourage OHV operators to obtain appropriate ATV insurance.


Can I camp on Doe Mountain?
A: No, we do not currently permit camping and/or fires on DMRA land. Two local campgrounds (R&D Campground and Roan Creek Campground) directly connect to our trail system and accommodate camping.


Where can I enter the trail system?
A: Our primary trailhead is at Harbin Hill, 1203 Harbin Hill Road, Mountain City, TN. Campers may enter Trail 17 from the R&D Campground or the far end of Trail 1 from Roan Creek Campground at Morefield Branch. The Pioneer Village Shopping Center on US 421 in Mountain City can be visited via Trail 15 but is not a trailhead and you risk being towed if you unload vehicles there.


Is the Town of Mountain City ATV/OHV friendly?
A: No. Visitors may ride to Pioneer Village Shopping Center using Trail 15. However, the rest of Mountain City is not accessible to unregistered vehicles at this time.


Why do you require permits for hiking/biking?
A: Doe Mountain is a non-profit public authority. We receive no ongoing funding from the State, County or federal governments and must, therefore, rely on user fees for the majority of our operating revenue.


Do horses have to share trails with OHV traffic?
A:  Yes. The majority of our trail system is comprised of Multiuse trails, open to equestrian traffic. Most equestrian riders choose to visit during weekdays. We have not had sufficient equestrian traffic, volunteers or funding to justify construction equestrian-only trails. If those three factors significantly change, equestrian-only trails may become possible in the future.


I plan to operate a tour company/rental company/poker run/etc. on Doe Mountain.
A: All unauthorized commercial vehicles and/or commercial ventures are prohibited. Those wanting to engage in commercial activities on Doe Mountain must develop and present a plan to the DMRA Board of Directors to obtain proper authorization.


Are TWRA OHV permits honored by Doe Mountain and/or are Doe Mountain permits honored by TWRA?
A: No. Doe Mountain is not part of TWRA, although TWRA does exercise its jurisdiction to enforce wildlife regulations on Doe Mountain and across the state.


Are there any restrictions on noise?
A: Yes. Vehicles must not exceed 96 decibels and all motorized vehicles must be equipped with mufflers/spark arrestors. One of the biggest threats to keeping Doe Mountain open to OHV traffic comes from complaints about noise from our neighbors. Please ensure your vehicle complies with the 96 decibel limit and try to keep noise to a minimum at our trailheads.


How long does an annual permit last?
A: Annual permits expire at sunset one year from date of purchase.


Are there any age limits?
A: Yes.  Vehicle operators must comply with the vehicle manufacturer’s age restrictions. All minors riding or operating a vehicle must comply with Tennessee law by wearing a DOT or SNELL approved helmet. Minors must be under the direct supervision of an adult at all times.

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Contact Information

Doe Mountain
Recreation Area
1203 Harbin Hill Road
Mountain City, Tennessee
(423) 460-1295

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Hours of Operation

Trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset. Except on major holidays. Adventure center staff is available from 8:30am-4:00pm daily