Tellico Wild: Explore Cherokee National Forest on land and in the water

Great Smoky Mountains National Park may have wider name recognition, but at 655,598 acres, the Cherokee National Forest is Tennessee’s largest tract of public land.

The forest is split into two sections along the Tennessee-North Carolina line north and south of the Smokies. When organizers of this weekend’s Wilderness Weekend began brainstorming ways to celebrate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, they knew they wanted to showcase the various and sundry benefits that the Cherokee National Forest provides in terms of outdoor recreation and tourism.

They found the perfect platform in Tellico Plains, otherwise known as “The Little Town with the Big Back Yard.” Located in the mountains of Monroe County, Tellico Plains lies at the doorstep of some of the most celebrated natural wonders at the south end of the Cherokee National Forest. With the Cherohala Skyway Visitor Center in Tellico Plains as headquarters, this weekend’s “Tellico Wild: Explore Our Big Back Yard” has exceeded its organizers’ expectations.

Tennessee Wild, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting wilderness areas on the Cherokee National Forest, is hosting the event. Interpretive hikes will be led by various experts. On Saturday there’s going to be a 2.5-mile hike along the Unicoi Turnpike that was part of Trail of Tears and later became the first toll road in America.

Get details here…


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