Backbone Rock Recreation Area
Backbone Rock Recreation Area is located along Beaverdam Creek in northern Johnson County. Backbone Rock gets its name from a spur ridge on Holston Mountain that abrubtly ends at a bend in Beaverdam Creek.
A tunnel was drilled through the rock in 1901 to allow railroad access between Shady Valley and Damascus, VA. Motorists pass through what is known as "The Shortest Tunnel in the World" as they travel along TN 133. In the 1930s The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) developed the recreation area for day use, constructing two picnic shelters and hiking trails that incorporated native stonework. The campground was added in the 1960s and rehabilitated in the mid 1990s.
At a Glance
From Bristol, take US 421 south for 20 miles to Shady Valley. Turn left onto TN 133 for eight miles to Backbone Recreation Area. From Abingdon, VA, take US 58 east for 15 miles to Damascus. Turn right onto VA 716 for five miles to the recreation area (VA 716 becomes TN 133 at the stateline).
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
Backbone Rock is ideal for tents campers and RV's up to 28 foot.
|No. of Sites||9 single sites, 2 double sites.|
|Reservation Info||All campsites are on the reservation system at www.recreation.gov|
|Fire Information||There is a grill/fire ring at each campsite.|
|No. of Accessible sites||All sites are accessible.|
Backbone Rock offers group camping accommodating groups of up to 50 at 10 campsites. Maximum 5 people and 2 vehicles per campsite. All campground rules apply. The whole campground is on the reservation system.
|Reservation info:||Reservations may be made at www.recreation.gov|
River and Stream Fishing
Trout fishing opportunities are in nearby Beaverdam Creek. See the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website for permits as well as rules and regulations on fishing.
|Fish Species||Rainbow trout|
Several individual picnic tables are available. Two CCC-era pavilions are available for picnicking. If not reserved, they are first-come, first-served.
The two CCC-era pavilions are great opportunites for group picnicking, and one can be reserved online at Recreation.gov.
|Reservation Info||Pavilion can be reserved for $50 per day by visiting www.recreation.gov, or calling 877-444-6777.|
|Fee charged for some activities:|