Tanasi Trail in Tennessee
Journey through a beautiful lakes region and a landscape named for the Cherokees who once inhabited it.
Chug through Chattanooga for a historic steam engine trek through the mountains on the Tennessee Valley Railroad.
Set off on Highway 11 toward Cleveland. Take the Cherokee Scenic Loop auto tour with a stop at the Red Clay Historical Park and dinner at the Bald Headed Bistro. Head east on Highway 64 to Ocoee, entering the Tennessee Overhill region.
Continue to Englewood, then to the Cherokee National Forest. Backtrack to 30 toward Etowah and stop at L&N Depot and Museum, where you can purchase tickets for the Hiwassee River Rail Adventures. See more than 1,400 types of daylilies in season at Delano Daylilies and pick up a souvenir bottle at Savannah Oaks Winery.
This area offers many options for outdoor adventure, from whitewater rafting on the Ocoee River to high-elevation vistas along the Cherohala Skyway, a national scenic byway. Hike into the Rock Creek Gorge Scenic Area to see incredible waterfalls. Historic backroads will take you through former Cherokee towns, and you’ll see the original wagon ruts of the old Unicoi Turnpike Trail that the Cherokee travelled along the Trail of Tears.
Heading north on Highway 360, stop at Fort Loudon State Park. At the Sequoyah Birthplace Museum in Vonore, learn about the once-illiterate Cherokee who developed a written language for his people that’s still used today. Off trail in Philadelphia, taste fresh Tennessee cheddar at Sweetwater Valley Farm. Venture back to The Lost Sea in Sweetwater and on to the Niota Railroad Depot, the oldest still standing in Tennessee. In Athens, learn more about area history at McMinn County Living Heritage Museum.
Then head to Decatur and down to Georgetown. Before you steam back into Chattanooga, stop at Harrison Bay State Park or Chickamauga Lake at Booker T. Washington State Park for some scenic boating and fishing, or play a round of golf at The Bear Trace at Harrison Bay.