National Trails Day In Tellico Plains

As part of National Trails Day, Tellico Plains, a designated "Trail Town" is sponsoring 3 hikes and a work trip on the John Muir Trail. This year's events take place on Saturday, June 6, 2015.

Those wishing to join the group hikes (various lengths and difficulty levels will be offered) should meet at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains at 9 AM.  Breakfast will be provided by Tellico Grains.

Those wanting to spend the day working on building a reroute on the John Muir Trail along the Hiwassee River, meet at the Quinn Springs Campground shelter at 9 AM along Highway 30 between US 411 and Reliance at 9 AM. Breakfast will be provided by Tellico Grains. Hikers need to bring a lunch and water. Trail workers need to wear long pants and sturdy boots also.

Dinner after the hikes will be provided by Tellico Outpost (Tellico Plains) and the Friends of the Cherokee National Forest (Quinn Springs). All trail workers will receive a free T-shirt commemorating the day. Day hikers can buy a T-shirt for $5. Kids are welcome as well but must be attended by a responsible parent or guardian or youth group leader (church, scouts, etc).

Please join the fun!


Honoring Charles & Billie Nell Hall

Our community is mourning the loss of native son and influential community leader Charles Hall, who died at age 90 on December 31, 2014. Sadly, his wife of 71 years, Billie Nell, also just passed away, on January 5, 2015.

Charles and Billie Nell Lester Hall devoted their lives to their community. Charles served as Tellico Plains Mayor for a total of 31 years, two years as alderman-recorder, 12 years as a Justice of Peace and Commissioner. Charles and Billie owned and operated the Tellico Telephone Company from 1954 to 1985, bringing telephone service to isolated rural areas surrounding Tellico Plains. While raising their family of four girls, the couple actively participated in numerous community organizations. Charles was a member of the town's fire department for 52 years, organizing and training 11 rural fire departments throughout Monroe County. Charles was named "Monroe County's Most Outstanding Citizen" in 1969. He authored A History of Tellico Plains, TN in 2001, and, with his daughter Pamela Mathews, compiled A Pictorial History of the Tellico Plains Area 1849-1949, published in 2011, the 100th birthday of Tellico Plains.

Billie Nell was a member and leader in the Cherokee Women's Study Club, and worked tirelessly to support education, beautification and positive public relations in Tellico Plains. She was also honored as the 1986 Tennessee Mother of the Year. Billie Nell was also involved with Monroe County United Way, Monroe County Tourism Council, the board of directors for Overlook Mental Health Center, and chairperson of the Task Force for Better Schools.

Along with the numerous organizations both were involved with, Charles and Billie Nell spearheaded many projects that have developed the Tellico Plains area. Charles was involved with the Kiwanis Club during the 1958 Wagontrain. The Wagontrain was started to show the need for a road from Tellico Plains, TN, to Robinsville, NC. Charles was either the wagonmaster or chief scout for 49 years. The Cherohala Skyway opened on October 12, 1996. In 1997, the Tennessee State Legislature named the bridge over Laurel Branch on the Cherohala Skyway "The Charles Hall Bridge." Charles also played a leading role in the Tellico Dam construction.

Charles was a local historian since boyhood. Over the years, Charles and Billie Nell amassed an enormous and amazing array of local artifacts, antiques, and historic memorabilia. Showcasing their collections was a lifelong dream, and they opened the Charles Hall Museum in Tellico Plains in 2003. The couple filled two large buildings with stunning displays of guns, coins, tools, furnishings, and numerous treasures of local history. As former owners of the Tellico Telephone Company, the Halls included hundreds of telephones and related phone company hardware spanning decades, and well as a Model T phone truck and a unique life-size cross-section view of the unground cable vault. Many of the telephone company artifacts on display were donated by the East Tennessee Telephone Pioneers. Showcase after showcase unveils beautifully organized treasures from the past, many used by Tellico Plains residents long ago. Museum visitors were often treated to a tour by Charles himself, and the personal stories he shared will be cherished.

Charles also spent many years collecting old photographs from Tellico Plains, carefully documenting the people, places, and time periods. Many of these photos would have been lost forever without his foresight to save them. The museum displays over 1000 of his photos, uniquely preserving the visual history of Tellico Plains, including images such as old street scenes, logging operations from a century ago, mountain wagon trains, long forgotten town merchants, and school photos from years gone by. This museum was truly a labor of love for Mr. Hall, and the community will benefit far into the future with the history it has documented. View videos of Charles at the Museum and read more at http://tellico-plains.com/charles-hall-museum.html

The family will receive friends in honor of Billie Nell on Friday, January 9, 2015, from 5-7 with a memorial service at 7 at Myers Funeral Home. Interment Saturday 11:00 a.m. at City Cemetery.

Donations to the Charles Hall Museum, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) foundation, in memory of Charles and Billie Nell, are welcome. Museum admission is free, and donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. Donate online at http://www.charleshallmuseum.com/


The Little Town with the Big Back Yard

Tellico Plains is proud to be a TRAIL TOWN, as designated by the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition (SEFTC) and the Benton MacKaye Trail Association (BMTA) this past Saturday, August 9, 2014.

What is a Trail Town? The SEFTC/BMTA Trail Town Program is designed to promote hiking, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, bicycling, and horseback riding in communities with 100+ miles of trails in their immediate vicinity. Tellico Plains is truly "The Little Town with the Big Back Yard" - the areas surrounding Tellico Plains and nearby Coker Creek are blessed with over 200 miles of hiking, backpacking, equestrian, mountain biking and motorized trail bike trails. There are about 180 miles of trails in the Tellico Ranger District of the US Forest Service, and the adjoining districts have several hundred more miles of trails. Also, the Benton MacKaye Trail - a 300 mile long-distance wilderness trail from Springer Mountain GA to the northern end of the Smokies - traverses close to Tellico Plains, crossing the Tellico River just above Green Cove. As a "Trail Town," Tellico Plains is identified as an exceptional location to visit or use as a base to access these tremendous trail opportunities.

Information and links provided on the Trail Towns webpage are designed to help local and out-of-town visitors learn about the trail opportunities in the Tellico Plains area, and also serve as a guide to the support services available locally to trail users. We encourage you use this info as you plan your trail-based activities around Tellico Plains.

Deep gratitude goes to Richard Harris for his dedicated volunteer efforts on behalf of the SEFTC/BMTA Trail Town Program in making designation as a Trail Town a reality for Tellico Plains.


Trail Town Ceremony is Saturday Night!

Join Tennessee Wild and friends at 5:30pm, Saturday August 9th under the tent on the corner of Main Street and the Cherohala Skyway (beside the Exxon) where we'll celebrate the designation of Tellico Plains as an official "Trail Town"! We'll have a couple of speeches by the folks that made all this possible, then the ceremonial 'ribbon cutting' - except in our case, we're cutting a more forest-appropriate vine instead of a ribbon.

Bob Richards from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will share the exciting news about the Tellico Ranger District’s recent $200,000 grant award for trail improvements in the area, and the financial impacts of outdoor recreation on the economy in gateway forest towns like Tellico Plains. Following Bob, will be a fantastic and funny program by avid outdoorsman and storyteller Jim Pfitzer. Jim is best known for his nature based tales ranging from too-close-for-comfort black bear encounters to the significance of sweet tea in southern society. Throughout the evening we'll be drawing for some great prizes donated by our friends at Rock/Creek Chattanooga, Eno, Tellico Grains Bakery and others.

Representatives from the Benton MacKaye Trail Association, the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition, Tennessee Wild, Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, The Wilderness Society, US Forest Service, Monroe County, and the Town of Tellico Plains will be on hand to say hello and answer questions.

Come early for dinner at The Crab Trap and stay to enjoy the music of local musicians Faith Willin, performing inside 6pm - 9pm.

Be sure to see all the "TELLICO WILD" weekend activities, at http://www.meetup.com/Tennessee-Wild or at http://Facebook.com/TennesseeWild

Learn more about Tellico Plains as a "TRAIL TOWN".


Have a fun-filled Tellico Wild weekend!

Saturday, August 9th will start a fun-filled weekend of outdoor activities which include the ceremonial dedication of Tellico Plains as an official “Trail Town” by the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition (SEFTC) and the Benton MacKaye Trail Association (BMTA). Guest speakers, and the ribbon cutting followed by food, music and fun!  More hikes, snorkeling, and other events are scheduled for Sunday, as well.

Join guided hikes into designated wilderness areas on Saturday and/or Sunday, or give a little back to our public lands by joining a trail crew for a stewardship project. Learn about the diverse flora and fauna of the forest on an interpretive hike or while snorkeling with expert USFS guides in Citico Creek. Learn to take better pictures in nature with simple tools - or - just take a deep breath and enjoy some time in the great outdoors!

A schedule of events, registration info, and more can be found at http://www.meetup.com/Tennessee-Wild or at http://Facebook.com/TennesseeWild

The event is sponsored by Tennessee Wild, and its partners: 
Wild South - www.wildsouth.org
Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards - www.trailcrews.org
Rock/Creek Chattanooga - www.rockcreek.com
Tellico Outpost Pavillion

Learn more about Tellico Plains' designation as a Trail Town.


Annual Cherohala Cycling Challenge

On June 14, 2014 for the 14th Annual Cherohala Challenge! It’s a full day of long sweeping corners, majestic views and challenging climbs as riders wind through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forest. This epic ride winds along the Tail of The Dragon where you’ll snake around 318 curves over an 11-mile span. Merging onto the Cherohala Skyway  the route continuing upward through deeply forested backcountry roads of North Carolina and Tennessee. If you are up to the challenge you’ll climb over 9,000 feet over 115 miles. Rides of 35, 62 and 115 miles will be fully SAG supported with well-stocked rest stops.

The Cherohala Challenge is held each year on the second Saturday in June. Start and finish at the Tellico Plains Visitor’s Center.  For more info: smwbikeclub.org


Memorial Day Weekend Celebration in Coker Creek

On the porch of the
Coker Creek Welcome Center and Heritage Gift Shop 
New Highway 68 at the 34 mile marker
May 24th, 25th, and 26th
from 11am to 3pm.

The Gift Shop recently reopened with all new items. Baked goods, snacks, and refreshments will be available. Proceeds benefit the continuation of the Coker Creek Post Office. Live music, artist demonstration, spinning, and book signings are part of the celebration.

Saturday – May 24th
Entertainment:  Wanda Murphy, Mark West, and John Wyatt
Artist: Judy Long
Book Signing:  Margie Carroll – Children’s books
Spinning: De Dockery
Quilts for Kids Open House

Sunday – May 25th
Entertainment:  Kenneth Gay
Artist: Peggy Gay
Book Signing:  Doc Dockery
Spinning:  De Dockery
Quilts for Kids Open House

Memorial Day – May 26th
Entertainment :  Two Dog Ranch Bluegrass Band
Artist: Kathy Crawford
Book Signings: Joe Shumock and Jack Darnell
Spinning:  De Dockery
Whittlers: Ken Dalton, Buddy Hawk, Jack Wrighter

Partial funding is provided through a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission from the John D. Grubb Fund and Louise G. Sumner Fund for Monroe County of East Tennessee Foundation.


Help Maintain Our Local Trails!

June 7th, 2014, is National Trails Day®, and events are planned across the nation to help maintain hiking and horse trails. With over 200 miles of trails in the Tellico Plains area, Tellico Plains Trails Day needs your help. Come join us!

WHO: Everyone is welcome

WHEN: Saturday June 7, 8am to 5:30pm

WHERE: Meet at picnic area next to the beach at Indian Boundary Campground, off the Cherohala Skyway at Forest Service Road 345

All are welcome for a day of “Paying it Forward” to the Tellico Ranger District of the Cherokee National Forest. Meet at the picnic area next to the beach at Indian Boundary Campground at 8 AM.  Breakfast will be provided by Tellico Grains. Wear long pants, bring a lunch and plenty of water in a day pack. We will break up into crews of 8-10 people to work on a segment of trail somewhere in the local area. Then we will all return to the picnic area for a dinner provided by the Tellico Outpost (pizza) and the Friends of the Cherokee National Forest (burgers, etc). Also upon returning at the end of the day, all participants will receive a free T-shirt commemorating the day. Kids are welcome as well but must be attended by a responsible parent or guardian.

Click for more information

Tellico Plains, A "TRAIL TOWN"
The Tellico Plains and Coker Creek area is blessed with over 200 miles of hiking, backpacking, equestrian, mountain biking and motorized trail bike trails. Tellico Plains is receiving designation as a Trail Town in 2014 by the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition and the Benton MacKaye Trail Association as an exceptional location to visit for these activities! Online information and resources for local and out-of-town visitors who are using our area trails is now readily available on the Guide to Tellico Plains. Watch for more events, celebrating this important designation!



Enjoy a spring day in the countryside as the Ballplay Ruritan Club presents its 4th Annual Ramp Festival on Saturday, April 26 at the Friends Meeting of Ballplay fellowship hall and grounds from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.   There will be live music, vendors, and local community organizations.  

The Ramp Dinner, served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. includes fried potatoes, pinto beans, corn bread, beverage, and dessert.  Adults are $8 and children under 12 are $4 for hotdog and chips, if desired.   Proceeds benefit community projects in the Ballplay area.  Event is “Rain or Shine” with free admission.  Activities are subject to change without notice.  Festival located at 157 Ballplay School Road, Tellico Plains, TN, 1/2 mile west of the intersection of TN Hwy. 360 and Ballplay Road about 10 miles north from the Cherohala Skyway.  Call (423) 295-2434 for festival and vendor information.  Search RAMP FESTIVAL on Facebook for map and updates.


Coker Creek Welcome Ctr Shop Reopens!


Christmas is in the Air!

Several family holiday events are coming up in and around Tellico Plains which you won't want to miss....

This Friday, Dec. 6 2013, join the fun in Coker Creek from 4-8pm. "Christmas On The Mountain" offers old time holiday spirit, with special holiday shopping, refreshments, and fellowship. Coker Creek shops, many of which are along Hwy 68, are decorated and will be serving free holiday snacks. 

Tellico Plains' annual "Candlelight Walk" takes place this Saturday, December 7 2013, from 4-9pm. Surround yourself with holiday spirit and step back in time, with flickering luminarias lining the sidewalks, strolling carolers, horse-drawn wagons, and gingerbread houses. Sponsored by the Town of Tellico Plains and organized by the Cherokee Women's Club, this festive event finds many businesses extending their hours and serving complimentary drinks and snacks. Visit Santa Claus with his elves, making his list of Christmas wishes and posing for photos with the children. You'll enjoy live Christmas music in many shops, the Grinch with 'Whoville' characters, a beautiful Live Nativity presented by one of our local churches, rides in horse-drawn wagons, and bonfires to gather 'round. Select from a huge assortment of delicious homemade Christmas cookies and candies at the popular "Cookie Caper," with confections created by the town's finest bakers, all wrapped in big red-ribboned white boxes - you won't be able to wait until you get home to try some! Also buy some treasures and do some Christmas shopping at the Silent Auction, offering gift certificates from Tellico Plains businesses, gift baskets from local merchants, and much more! Many townspeople don Victorian finery, adding to the nostalgic feel of the evening. Bring your friends and tell your neighbors about this special old-time evening of holiday cheer. Click here to view a video of Candlelight Walk fun.



Bluegrass, Old Time, & Folk Music, Saturday, October 19th

Old Time Mountain Music
Saturday, October 19, 2013, starting at 4pm

"Two Dog Ranch" is playing music at a fundraiser for the Mt. Vernon Volunteer Fire Department at the Mt. Vernon General Store, 7805 New Hwy. 68, Tellico Plains TN - (formerly Midway Market) at the corner of Hwy. 68 and Reagan Valley Road. Admission is FREE.

"Two Dog Ranch Bluegrass Band" is a group of friends who get together to pick bluegrass, old time, and folk music. The band is made up of local musicians, including Charles Morris (lead guitar & vocals), Art Roush (guitar & vocals), Judy Lavoie (fiddle, banjo & vocals), and Rick Lavoie (guitar & bouzouki).
More info at:


Cherokee National Forest is Open!

Tellico Plains' beautiful neighbor, the Cherokee National Forest, has been minimally impacted by the current Federal government shutdown. Unfortunately, many campers have been disappointed to learn that the large gated campgrounds, like our nearby Indian Boundary campground, are closed. However, individual campsites along the National Forest roads - often called "primitive" sites since they have no facilities - are still available to use on a first-come basis.

The scenic 43-mile Cherohala Skyway is also open, and this is a gorgeous week to take a tour to the higher elevations, where the foliage is beginning to don its fall colors. The Skyway traverses the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests which are managed by the US Forest Service, Department of Agriculture. Maintenance of resources along the Cherohala Skyway is by the highway departments of the appropriate state and/or the US Forest Service.

Our weather forecast for this week shows sunny daytime highs in the 70s and evening lows in the 50s - ideal! Trails off the Skyway are open for hiking, picnicking, and sightseeing.

The Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center, owned by Monroe County, Tennessee, and located in Tellico Plains at 225 Cherohala Skyway (Hwy 165), provides friendly information, free maps, Skyway driving conditions, and a "not for profit" gift shop. Picnic tables and spotless restrooms are available. The friendly staff will welcome you with important Skyway and area information!

The Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center is a product of a grant from the National Scenic Byway program. The visitor center was opened in September 2003 and is owned by Monroe County, Tennessee. The gift shop in the visitor center is a “not-for-profit” gift shop. Maintenance of resources along the Cherohala Skyway is by the highway departments of the appropriate state and/or the US Forest Service. The Cherokee and Nantahala National Forest through which the Cherohala Skyway traverses are managed by the US Forest Service, Department of Agriculture. Download the Online Skyway Brochure & Maps:
Cherohala Online Brochure


Veterans' Monument Needs Your Help

The Monroe County Veterans' Monument, a landmark at one corner of Tellico Plains Town Square, has been in dire need of refurbishment, to revive it as a fitting memorial to our Veterans. A major fundraising drive is underway, with a goal of $22,000 for the monument reconstruction and maintenance. Your help is needed.

A Veterans' Monument Committee, comprised of Mike Atkins, Lawrence Harris, Ray Tallent, and Helen Cochran, was created last fall. Since then, many significant renovations have been made:
- Installation of a new copper-colored standing seam roof
- Repair of the electrical system and interior lights
- Open pass-through and wheelchair accessible portal modifications
- Completion of soffits and trim

The biggest remaining project is the replacement of the existing stone nameplates with new ones sized to properly fit the existing structure. This is the most expensive item in the renovations, and funds are desperately needed. These plates will be replaced in phases, as funds permit. With additional funds some fascia trim will be added to accent the architecture, and the Town will retain any leftover funds as a perpetual monument maintenance fund.

Students at Tellico Plains High School have been enlisted to assist in creating a computer database. This will include all the existing Veterans' names on the monument, and will allow the addition of new names in the future. This database will also serve as a useful tool for family members researching their Tellico Plains relatives. An application to include the name of a Monroe County resident who is a veteran on the monument (or to correct an existing name) are available at Tellico Plains City Hall, and can also be downloaded at:


To donate to the Monroe County Veterans' Monument Refurbishment, visit any bank within the Town of Tellico Plains. You can also donate online, at
These funds will be held in an account in the name of the Town of Tellico Plains for the sole purpose of monument reconstruction.

Tellico Plains Post #240 of the American Legion created and dedicated the brick monument in May, 2001, on land donated by the Town of Tellico Plains. The Legion solicited subscriptions and donations for individual names to be included on the monument's inscribed stone plaques, and for construction and maintenance costs.

Renovations have begun, including the installation of a new copper-colored standing seam roof.

After only a few years, weather damage caused the exposed structure to deteriorate. A volunteer group, including some members of the local Legion Post, some members of the Tellico Chamber of Commerce, and other local citizens, banded together to reconstruct the monument in 2007. Members of the non-profit organization Rolling Thunder, a group dedicated to accountability and recognition of the Prisoners Of War - Missing In Action (POW/MIA) of all wars, were also involved. Additional donations of materials and money were solicited to fund the reconstruction. Unfortunately, funds ran out before the work was completed, the local American Legion Post disbanded, and the volunteer group dissolved. The monument has remained in its incomplete state since then.

Your support for this community project is appreciated!