Carter County is located in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts throughout the year. With four distinct seasons, visitors may select the time of year that best fits their interests. Whether one enjoys boating, fishing, hiking, camping or taking a leisurely tour of winding mountain roads, Carter County is a destination worth checking out.
Fishing is a popular sport on Watauga Lake, one of the cleanest lakes in the country, where largemouth and smallmouth bass are available along with trout, bluegill and crappie. In addition, the Watauga and Doe Rivers and several mountain streams offer anglers a variety of species such as brook, brown and rainbow trout. The Tennessee Valley Authority and the U.S. Forest Service have developed public boat launching sites at Watauga and Wilbur Lakes.
For hiking enthusiasts, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail winds through Carter County, following the high ridges along the Tennessee-North Carolina border and offering scenic 360-degree views from the grassy "balds" of Roan Mountain. Through-hikers, those who have hiked the 2,180-mile trail from end to end, often remark about the beauty of the section that traverses Carter County.
Campgrounds are abundant, including Roan Mountain State Park Campground, Carden's Bluff on Watauga Lake and Watauga Tailwaters Campground on serene Wilbur Lake downstream from Watauga Dam, where canoeing and kayaking are popular pastimes. One may also pitch a tent at primitive sites along the AT and in various other locations within Carter County. Whitewater rafting is also available on the Watauga River.