Appalachian Trail: Oliver Hollow Road to Watuga Dam

MODERATE 26 reviews
#17 of 113 trails in

Appalachian Trail: Oliver Hollow Road to Watuga Dam is a 5.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hampton, Tennessee that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, fishing, and canoeing and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

5.8 miles
892 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash




paddle sports





wild flowers


The trail starts at Oliver Hollow road with very little parking. It follows the lake edge while slowly climbing. The watuga shelter is about midway on this hike. The views from the dam are great.

2 months ago

A great place to hop on the Appalachian trail. Beautiful views of the lake from most of the trail. There is a visitors center at the end of 4 miles if you need a restroom.

3 months ago

Nice day hike

3 months ago

Great trail - not quite 6 miles...need to be in fair shape for this one - views are great and the dam is great for pictures. Parking limited and bathrooms by the beach closed in the winter.

4 months ago

Fun, easy, beautiful day hike.

6 months ago

Good place to take your dog if they love having access to water. Fairly low traffic and good beach side hangout spots w/ good views. A little too close to civilization for my taste - otherwise would have gotten a higher score.

9 months ago

Great hike not to hard beautiful lake views

11 months ago

Easy and smooth!!!!!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Nice hike along the edge of the lake, fairly easy, but enough up and down to work your legs a little. Absolutely beautiful forest that should be very appealing in the fall. We saw a bald eagle come out of the trees just above the dam and circle a bit. Nice view from the dam of the lake on one side and the gorge on the other.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Very nice hike. We did 4.2 miles and it was so nice! would definitely do it again.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Parked on 321 at welcome sign, steps down go directly to the trail. Can also patk at Shook Branch rec. area, trail starts at the loop and there is a foot bridge. Lots of bear warnings! AT site is closed because of this. Beautiful hike, access to the water, views are fantastic. 5.5 miles from shook to the dam and back. Can cross the dam and go up the road another 3/4 of a mile to the overlook area. Highly recommend!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

This is a nice, easy hike out to Watauga dam. It should be within nearly everyone's capability as there is little elevation change. Our hiking club ate lunch at the dam, which is a good vantage point for views of the lake. There is little roadside parking, but if you drive just a bit past the roadside parking, you can park closer to the picnic/beach area, which also has restroom facilities.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Nice trail with some great views of the lake, mountains and dam. There is a bear warning on this part of the Appalachian Trail and the posted sign says no stopping or eating. I didn't see any bears but almost stepped on a black snake. I also found a geocache near the dam.

1 month ago

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Sunday, May 28, 2017

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Tuesday, March 08, 2016