Sunday, September 23, 2012

Cherohala Skyway & Tellico Area Hiking Trails ( Most Popular )

Type of trail: Hiking & Mountain Biking

Level of difficulty: Easy

Trailhead directions: Turn at FS 345 off Cherohala Skyway TN 165 after milepost 14

Trail Length: 3.2 miles

A smooth gravel track encircles 96 acre Indian Boundary Lake for a hike or beginner bicycle ride of 3.2 miles. Bridges cross streams, and the relatively level trail passes along the shore and through mixed forest, filled with a variety of wildflowers in spring, summer, and fall. There are picnic tables, a swimming beach, a boat launch and beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. Pets must be leashed or under physical control at all times. A $3 use fee station is located at the parking area.

Type of trail: Hiking

Level of difficulty: Easy

Trailhead directions: TN 165 (Cherohala Skyway) to Tellico River Road (FS 210) and park at Bald River Falls.

Trail Length: 5.6 miles

Hike along the Bald River to its end on FS 126. The entire trail measures 5.6 miles, but you can hike it as a one-way trail then reverse, enjoying the lush forest allow the rocky river. The trail has many walkers in its first mile, with picnic tables along the river. There are also some backpacking campsites along the river. If you plan to hike the entire trail, parking cars at each end requires a loop of roads measuring about 35 miles.

Type of trail: Hiking

Level of difficulty: Easy

Trailhead directions: TN 165 (Cherohala Skyway), about 8.5 miles beyond Indian Boundary Lake. Parking is on the left (north) side of the Skyway at the West Rattlesnake pull-off, with signs marking the trailheads for #87 and #196 at the west end of the parking lot.

Trail Length: 1.3 miles

The first mile of the Falls Branch Trail is easy; a short distance from the start, go to the left where Jeffrey Hell Trail goes to the right. The trail goes down into a gorge, and this part is not as easy. Depending on recent rainfall, it could be too wet to walk down. The trail will cross the streambed in places. Upon arriving, you will be amazed at the magnificent waterfall in the middle of an enchanted forest of ferns, moss, and "hobbit" trees.

Type of trail: Hiking

Level of difficulty: Easy

Trailhead directions: From Tellico Plains, go South on TN 68 past Coker Creek Village to Ironsburg Methodist Church, which is on your right. Take CR 628 which runs alongside the church. At the first Y stay left. At the second Y stay right and drive to the Falls parking and picnic area, about two more miles.

Trail Length: 3.5 miles

Coker Creek is a seven stair step cascade. The trail begins at the parking area, and follows Coker Creek for about 3 miles; it ends at the 19 mile John Muir Trail, marked with white blazes. Recent improvements have been made to this trail.

Type of trail: Hiking, Mountain Biking, Horseback riding, or Drive a vehicle to top (gravel road to top)
Level of difficulty: Easy

Trailhead directions: South of Coker Creek on Rt 68, turn onto CR 624 on your left. You will go over a bridge and see a small brown sign for Buck Bald on your right. The road goes off to the left.
Trail Length: 2 miles

Hike or drive 2 miles to this lovely Bald which has a picnic table (bring your own chairs or a quilt) for a spectacular 360 degree view. Great for dinner and sunset.

BUCK BALD for Horseback Riding
Level of difficulty: Easy to moderate, depending on the riders experience
Trailhead directions: From Tellico Plains drive on Hwy 68 past Coker Creek, take Joe Brown Hwy about 4+ miles to the power lines. You can park along the edge of the road. Trailhead is on the right side of road. (You will see a sign marking it but it doesn't say anything about where it will take you.)

The trail we like to ride our horses on goes up to Buck Bald. After leaving the horse trailhead you have to ride about 1/4 mile on the gravel road that leads to Buck Bald. It takes about 1-1/2 hrs to get to the top of Buck Bald. This is a beautiful slow ride on a cool spring or early fall day.
Note - don't go on a hot day as there isn't any place to water your horse.

Type of trail: Hiking, Mountain Biking, and Horseback Riding

Level of difficulty: Easy, Moderate, and Difficult

Trailhead Directions: From Hwy 39: From Tellico Plains, head north on TN 68 to Mecca Pike TN 39, and turn left to head west. After 5.5 miles, a brown and white Forest Service sign marks the access to Starr Mt. Road (FS 297) on the left.
From Hwy 315: From Tellico Plains, head north on TN 68 to Mecca Pike TN 39, and turn left to head west. Turn left in 2 miles where the road splits in Rural Vale, following Reliance Road (TN 315) south. After several miles, a brown and white Forest Service sign marks the access to Starr Mt. at Bullet Creek Road (FS 44) on the right.
Trail Length: various (see table & map below)

Starr Mountain, at 2,500 feet in elevation, provides 14 blazed trails and a scenic wooded backdrop. Four trails (nos. 151, 189, 190, 191) are designated for hiking only, and the others are for horse and hiking. Take your horse to Starr Mountain where 20 miles of trails and a number of Forest Service roads provide short day trips or long overnight rides. Featured trails in the system include Starr Mountain Horse Trail # 120, across the crest of Starr Mountain, or Chestnut Mountain Horse Trail #63 and #104 that wind along the border of Gee Creek Wilderness Area.

Type of trail: Hiking

Level of difficulty: Easy

Trailhead directions: Drive South on Rt 68 a short distance from Tellico Plains until you see a large brown Conasauga Falls sign; turn right here. Drive 2.3 miles, and look for a Forest Service post on your right with #170, the trail number. Turn right here, and drive 1/2 mile to the trailhead.
Trail Length: .8 miles

Conasauga Falls Trail is a gradual grade 3/4 mile hike and the prettiest falls. This trail has been greatly improved and has steps down to the falls now.

Type of trail: Hiking

Level of difficulty: Easy

Trailhead directions: Follow Cherohala Skyway TN 165 across the stateliness into North Carolina, to the parking area on the north side, between mile 8 & 9. (This is approximately 35 miles from Tellico Plains). There is a trailhead info kiosk and a sign "Huckleberry Trailhead" as the trail leads into the woods.

Trail Length: 1.25 miles

The hike to Huckleberry Knob is a leisurely hike along a grassy jeep path, perfect on a hot day, since the elevation brings cooler temperatures. The trail winds through woods, with wildflowers along the path, into the first wide open grassy meadow, called Oak Knob. This is a fine place for a picnic, but continue hiking for big mountain views. Continue through another wooded area, gradually gaining altitude to reach the top of Huckleberry Knob, at 5560 feet, the highest point in the Cheoah Ranger District. The top is flat with lots of places to spread a blanket, while you enjoy the 360 degree mountain panorama.

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