Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

Quick Facts

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park

Tennessee

(423) 543-5808

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park has opportunities for picnicking, hiking, and learning about the historical significance of the area. A reconstruction of Fort Watauga, based on archeological and historical research, stands near the Sycamore Shoals river crossing. The original location was approximately 1,500 yards to the southwest. A scenic trail leads from the fort to the bank of the Watauga River and the historic Shoals.

Sycamore Shoals played a significant role in eighteenth century history as the setting for some of the most dramatic events that occurred in the expansion of America's western boundary, including an important settlement, the site of a large land treaty with the Cherokee, and the origins of an army of men that delivered an important defeat to the British in the Revolutionary War. The first permanent American settlement outside the original 13 colonies was established here, and the Watauga Association- the first majority-rule system of American democratic government- was formed in 1772.

Map of Sycamore Shoals (TN)

Latitude, Longitude: 36.344688, -82.250600

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Activities

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Auto/motorcycle touring available.

  • Hiking

    There is a two mile walking and fitness trail that follows the Watauga River. The trail also accesses Sycamore Shoals Hospital, which is adjacent to the park.

  • Historic Sites

    Sycamore Shoals played a significant role in eighteenth century history as the setting for some of the most dramatic events that occurred in the expansion of America's western boundary. The first permanent American settlement outside the original 13 colonies was established here, and the Watauga Association- the first majority-rule system of American democratic government- was formed in 1772.

    Sycamore Shoals became the hub of the frontier as pioneers from Virginia and North Carolina settled along the Watauga River. Trails soon connected Sycamore Shoals (Elizabethton) with Fort Robinson (1761), Fort Patrick Henry (1776), Sapling Grove (Bristol), Rocky Mount, and settlements in northwestern North Carolina and South Carolina. In May of 1772, the settlers compiled the "Articles of the Watauga Association" and elected five of their number to "govern and direct for the common good of all the people." This group, called a court, combined the legislative, judicial, and executive functions of the infant government.

    A reconstruction of Fort Watauga, based on archeological and historical research, stands near the Sycamore Shoals river crossing. The original location was approximately 1,500 yards to the southwest. A scenic trail leads from the fort to the bank of the Watauga River and the historic Shoals.

  • Picnicking

    The park has one picnic area outside the visitor center that has 16 moveable picnic tables. Grills, water, and electrical outlets are available.

Seasonality/Weather

The park is open year-round. Average summer temperatures range from 85 F to 60 F. Winter temperatures range from 25 F to 49 F.

Directions

Driving

Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area is located in Carter County on U.S. Highway 321, in Elizabethton, TN. Situated on the Watauga River, the 60-acre area is 30 miles from Interstate 81. From Exit 57 on I-81, take I-26 into Johnson City to Exit 24. Then take Highway 321/67, traveling approximately 6 miles into Elizabethton. Sycamore Shoals Historic Area is on the left.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(423) 543-5808

Links