Shady Valley, Tennessee is an idyllic circular mountain valley nestled between Bristol and Mountain City. Surprisingly remote for being relatively close to the Tri-Cities, Shady Valley retains a rural, agrarian charm.
Route 421, the main road through the valley, is well known across the region as a favorite for motorcyclists and ordinary cyclists because it is one of the twistiest and scenic highways in the area. Bicyclists can also ride several one-lane country roads around the valley, and the road from Damascus is the best way to access Shady Valley from Abingdon.
I tend to think of Shady Valley as Tennessee’s analog to Burkes Garden. With few houses on the hillsides and national forests on the perimeter of the valley, Shady Valley has one of the best mountain viewsheds in Northeast Tennessee.
This weekend I snuck in a few hours of afternoon fly fishing at Beaverdam Creek. This creek flows out of Shady Valley, Tennessee and through a wildlife management area within the Cherokee National Forest and into Virginia. The Virginia portion runs for just a few miles until it enters Damascus, where it crosses right through the main town park.
After catching a couple of rainbow trout, I exchanged my rod for a camera. Wearing waders, I was able to capture some interesting colors from the middle of the creek. Note the orange and yellow reflections in ripples in the center of the creek. The 2012 fall colors have been the best and brightest in years in Southwest Virginia.