Near Elizabethton and surrounded by thousands of acres of the Cherokee National Forest, this beautiful and pristine land is a Christian-based campground that opens for families on certain Saturdays between June through September. Admission for Day Quest, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., is $18 per person with children ages 7 and under admitted free when accompanied by a parent. The remaining 2012 dates for Day Quest are: July 28, Aug. 4, Aug. 25, Sept. 1, Sept. 15 and Sept 22.
We arrived that morning to find friendly staff members to greet our car at the camp entrance. They welcomed us to Doe River Gorge and told us exactly where we needed to go for registration. At the registration tent, we checked in and received helpful information about the activities available, where they were located, and a map of the facility.
The train was leaving in 10 minutes so we decided to take advantage of the ride first. It was a short, but pleasant scenic ride on the historic ET&WNC railroad through the Doe River Gorge. There were several short stops for pictures and a chance to view the serene landscape.
After the train ride, my children were ready to visit the mountain lake and enjoy all of the water activities. The lake looked cold and inviting on our high temperature Saturday. There is a wonderful sandy beach area around the lake for children with sand toys to play in and a partially shaded grassy area above to place towels and belongings.
My girls quickly scanned the area and planned out which activities they wanted to conquer. There is a small slide I went down with my youngest daughter and perfect for all ages. My husband and older daughter went after "The Blob" to see what it felt like to get catapulted into the lake. They laughed the entire time as they went flying up into the air.
After waiting in line for a while, we entered the area for the "Jungle Joe" and "The Rockit" inflatables. Both are for ages 6 and up and we had a blast playing on them. We climbed up, slid down and rock n’ rolled it on the new 2012 inflatables. My family had so much fun on these we waited in line twice to play on them.
We took a mid-day break for the delicious lunch provided, with a pre-purchased meal ticket, at the Depot. After choosing from a variety of foods, we took our lunch out to the large tent where plenty of tables were set up for dining. It was cool and clean under the tent and a great place for a relaxing lunch break. Even my kids enjoyed the food and needed the re-fuel so we could finish our fun afternoon.
There was also an area for water volleyball and water basketball in the shallow area. My youngest daughter tried her balance on the "Log Roll" but fell off after a short time and decided not to attempt it again.
We had watched people come down the 700-foot water landing zipline all day and decided it looked fun. My oldest daughter and I went to get in line about an hour before closing, only to discover the line had just been roped off. We were disappointed, but decided that we now have a good excuse to return for another visit and, next time, the zipline will be the first activity on our agenda.
In addition to the train and lake activities we enjoyed that day, there are also a ton of other fun family activities. There is a disc golf course, a paintball course and horseback riding. There is an additional cost for some of them, including horseback riding, and some age restrictions apply.
Doe River Gorge is a great place to spend the day as a family in a safe, friendly, and Christian environment. It was pleasant to listen to the contemporary Christian music while relaxing and playing in the refreshing lake. My youngest daughter said, "It is awesome here!" and we completely agree. The drive home was a quiet one as a few sun-kissed faces went to sleep after a full day of exercise, fun, sun and water.
For more information on Doe River Gorge or to register for Day Quest, visit http://www.doerivergorge.com/ or call 423-725-4010.