Photo by R.D. Gardner. Photo courtesy of Joe and Kristie Lindsey.
By Katina Rose
Laurel Run Park is a beautiful and easily accessible park located along the Holston River in Hawkins County. The 440-acre park was ceded to the county in 1984 after the filming of the major motion picture, "The River," starring Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek.
The park offers a variety of activities for the entire family. Amenities include a playground, tennis and basketball courts, softball fields, a one-mile paved walking path, hiking trails and a boat ramp. Dogs are also welcome, but must be leashed at all times in the park. The scenic Laurel Run Falls is a short 20-minute hike from the parking area, and an additional 20-minute hike will take you to Kiner Creek Falls. There are 37.5 miles of hiking trails in combination with Bays Mountain Park. There is a partially-completed log cabin on the park grounds. A variety of animals have been sighted within the park, such as bears, turkey, deer, otters and coyotes.
There is a small picturesque outdoor amphitheater located on the grounds, along with multiple covered picnic tables, that may be reserved for family celebrations, company picnics, or weddings. There is a small fee when reserving the picnic shelters and the reservation period is April 1 through Oct. 31.
Joe and Kristie Lindsey, caretakers, appreciate any volunteers interested in assisting at the park and have a variety of ways individuals can help. The park receives funding from the county and some funding through state grants, but relies heavily on donations. The restrooms were recently renovated and the park's caretakers would like to expand the playground facility in the future.
The park is free and open year-round, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas day, but hours will vary depending on the season. It is currently open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
If you would like additional information, have an interest in volunteering, or would like to make a donation, please contact Joe or Kristie Lindsey at 423-357-8110. Information can also be accessed on the Hawkins County website at www.hawkinscountytn.gov.