Big Bear Crossing

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Welcome to Big Bear Crossing located in the mountains of East Tennessee.

"Out in the boondocks but not far away"

A Legendary Place:

I've looked at a lot of mountain land.  Some of it close to town where you felt close to town, and some far out where the nearest McDonald's was 40 miles away.  Big Bear Crossing is the perfect mix, out in the boondocks but not far away.  28 miles to Bristol and 27 miles to the nearest ski resort.  The nearest McDonald's?  Six miles.  The nearest large supermarket?  Twelve miles.

And then, there's the legend.  I drove up U.S. Highway 19 to Tiger Creek Road and turned right onto the road.  Tiger Creek Road is well maintained and paved.  I drove about two miles, passed a small country church and several country homes.  The road is country, but it is neat and clean.  The entry for Big Bear Crossing is on the left, across the road from a little pullover spot for the Whitehead cemetery.

I pulled into the pullover to visit the cemetery.  A short hike, across a bridge over Tiger Creek, and up a small hill is the Whitehead Cemetery where the graves of the legendary James "Tiger" Whitehead, his wife and other Whiteheads are located.  I had done some research on Tiger Whitehead, for whom the creek, road and valley were named.  I would like to give credit to whomever penned the following story but I haven't discovered the writer.  If you know, please contact

Click to read The Legend of Tiger Whitehead

Tiger Creek is one of those roaring mountain streams you imagine.  A natural trout stream that mostly parallels the road.  The road crosses the creek just before you get to Big Bear Crossing. Seeing and hearing it is a pleasant enough experience.

Mountains, streams and a real legend in one place.  Then I visited Big Bear Crossing, walked along the trickling brook that dissects the property, wandered the hills and viewed the vistas.   I didn't want to leave but it was time to head back to town for the night so I punched my return trip to Elizabethton into the GPS.  The trip was 12 miles; to restaurants, grocery stores and medical centers.  It was hard to believe I was in the serenity, peace and quiet of the mountains, but only 12 miles from the Tri-Cities area with all the amenities of a big city and 31 miles from the Tri-Cities Regional airport.  I was sold.  You will be too.

This winter I plan to sit on my front porch, drink coffee, listen to the brook and look out over the mountains.  Maybe I will see one of those famous Smoky Mountain black bears this place is named after.  One fellow up here claims there are 10 or so roaming this area and has given them all names.  I will have my cell phone and a high speed internet connection to let you and my friends know if I see one.  On the other hand, this place is known for its legends too. 



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This site was last updated 01/09/09