Places We Protect

Doe Mountain


Rolling green mountain ridges enclose a mist covered valley. A lake is visible on the valley floor.
Doe Mountain View overlooking the landscape at Doe Mountain, Tennessee. © Byron Jorjorian

Doe Mountain is a forested, 8,600-acre park protected by The Nature Conservancy and the state of Tennessee.



Back in 2012, The Nature Conservancy collaborated with the state of Tennessee to acquire what now comprises the Doe Mountain Recreation Area, one of the largest remaining privately owned blocks of forest in the Southern Blue Ridge region. The partners pursued this acquisition as the property was headed to auction due to bankruptcy and vulnerable to being sold for timber clear cutting. Instead, TNC and then-Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey worked to create the Doe Mountain Recreation Area board, which pursued a vision of bringing economic relief to Johnson County by balancing outdoor recreation and land conservation. Today, the 8,600-acre property is managed by the Doe Mountain Recreation Authority (DMRA) under the direction of its board, on which TNC sits.

Doe Mountain’s more than 60 miles of trails support a multi-use recreational destination that draws outdoor enthusiasts from several states for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, an archery and axe-throwing range, and low-impact ATV touring. The highest peak at Doe Mountain is approximately 3,900 feet above sea level. The property—together with surrounding Southern Appalachian forests—also supports some 40 rare plants and animals as well as plentiful deer, turkey, black bear and other species.




Trails are open daily, year-round from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm, except on major holidays. Inclement weather closures will be announced on the DMRA Facebook page.


Hiking, low-impact ATV, archery and axe-throwing


8,600 acres

Explore our work in Tennessee

An adult and a child hike through a forest.
Hikers A young hiker follows a grown up on a nature trail. © Robyn Miller

Carbon Storage

Throughout Tennessee, TNC protects and manages forestlands that harbor wildlife and generate income for private landowners and local communities. Forests also filter air while reducing carbon in the atmosphere.

Along these lines, the DMRA registered Doe Mountain as a forest carbon project in 2019. After a baseline for carbon storage levels is established, scientists will periodically measure the health and carbon capturing ability of Doe Mountain’s forests to determine the impacts of conservation and restoration strategies implemented over a 40-year period.

The DMRA will also sell carbon credits to corporations seeking to offset emissions. As markets for forest carbon have matured, managing forests to maximize value beyond timber is a growing. Revenues from these transactions will be dedicated to conserving and operating an adventure trails system at Doe Mountain, a project that serves as a model for the economic and ecological benefits of sustainable forest and recreation management.

Protecting Doe Mountain Gabby Lynch, TNC's director of protection in Tennessee, discusses the unique process of protecting Doe Mountain and creating the Doe Mountain Recreation Area.

Visit Doe Mountain Recreation Area

    • Rhododendrons create a thick layer of understory in the southern range of the Appalachian Mountains. Their branches stay low to the ground and can even propagate, or create new plants, by letting their branches arc underground. This plant’s thick, dark green leaves keep the forest floor cool and moist.
    • Black bears represent one of the most common bear species and have a wide range across North America. Although called black bears, these creatures can be found in many different color combinations, including cinnamon-brown, blonde, and even blue.
  • The Doe Mountain Recreation Area operates a multi-use recreational trail system that draws outdoor enthusiasts from several states for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, an archery and axe-throwing range, and low-impact ATV touring.

    Ideal times of the year to visit include:

    • Early June to see rhododendrons in bloom.
    • Late September and early October to witness peak colors of fall foliage.
    • User permits for drivers and passengers are required at all times on the property.
    • Obey all signs, stay on marked trails, and do not open or remove any gates or barriers. All trails are closed unless marked with a trail post.
    • No littering, camping, or fires. Please respect wildlife and nature.
    • Stay alert at all times. Consider carrying a first aid/survival kit and cell phone, as the weather and trail conditions can quickly change.
  • Check in at the Doe Mountain Recreation Area website for information about directions, trail maps, permits and local conditions.

Doe Mountain Recreation Area

Here are some of the things you will see and do at Doe Mountain.

A turkey walks across a forest floor.
A mountain biker in a blue shirt races past trees.
A black bear sits on a branch.
A mountain valley boasts trees with colorful leaves.
Pink clouds float above a green mountain valley.
A fog rolls across green mountains.
A dirt path winds through a forest.
A window frames a view of a mountain valley.
A pair of deer rest in a grassy area.
White flowers bloom on green plants lining a forest path.

Support Tennessee Nature

Help us work with landowners and ensure a future in which people and nature can thrive.