Saturday June 6, 9am - 5pm
Tellico Plains, "The Little Town with the Big Back Yard", is celebrating National Trails Day with a series of hikes and a work trip on a local trail on June 6. Tellico Plains is a designated TRAIL TOWN. Join one of three guided hikes (various locations, lengths and difficulty levels - see descriptions below) or a work trip on the John Muir Trail. Those wishing to join a guided hike should meet in the parking area behind the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center, Hwy. 165, in Tellico Plains at 9 AM. Those wanting to spend the day working on building a reroute on the John Muir Trail along the Hiwassee River should meet at the Quinn Springs Campground shelter along Highway 30 between US 411 and Reliance at 9 AM.
All hikers should bring a day pack with plenty of water, and your lunch. Sturdy shoes, hiking poles or a walking stick might come in handy. Trail workers need to wear long pants and sturdy boots and to bring water and a lunch. Breakfast will be provided by Tellico Grains Bakery.
Dinner after the hikes will be provided at the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center, sponsored by Tellico Outpost. Two Dog Ranch Bluegrass Band will be playing old time mountain music, fiddle tunes, and bluegrass for the hikers at the Visitor Center. If you can, hikers please bring a chair to use for dinner and music at the Visitor Center. There is a covered pavilion with 4 picnic tables in place.
Dinner for the trail workers will be provided by Tennessee Wild at Quinn Springs. All trail workers on the work trip will receive a free T-shirt commemorating the day. Day hikers can buy these t-shirts at $5. Kids are welcome as well but must be attended by a responsible parent or guardian or youth group leader (church, scouts, etc). Leashed dogs are also welcome to join the guided hikes.
1) Bald River Falls Trail - 9 miles
Rated moderate to strenuous due to length
This beautiful trail climbs from the base of the 80' Bald River Falls and meanders riverside featuring stunning rock formations and several great views of other little falls along the way.
2) Unicoi Turnpike Trail - 3 miles
The Unicoi Turnpike Trail is recognized as part of the Trail of Tears, and in 2000 was designated as a National Millennium Trail. Walking this is like walking through history - literally. Your guide will share information about the history and heritage of the area, the Cherokee people and the site of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camp Rolling Stone.
3) Falls Branch Falls - 3 miles
Rated moderate to strenuous due to short but steep descent
This short hike has a BIG payoff at the end, the 70'+ Falls Branch Falls. The majority of the trail follows an old logging road, then turns for a steep but short descent through a medieval forest of old growth trees, large boulders and mossy rocks to the base of the falls. The hike itself is not difficult but there are slippery rocks along the creek.