There is no parking fee. Restrooms are available at the Coker Creek Welcome Center at the intersection of TN68 and Joe Brown Highway.
This would be rated as moderate for trail runners.
This fairly short trail starts near Unicoi Gap on the Joe Brown Highway, a Forest Service road to the east of Coker Creek Welcome Center. Park at the Unicoi Gap parking area and head south on the Benton MacKaye Trail
about a quarter mile to the intersection with the Unicoi Turnpike Trail, which is a right handed turn. Follow the blue triangles downhill.
The runner will cross Joe Brown Highway a couple of times. The old historical roadbed is easily visible as a deep groove in the landscape, in places over the runner's head. On the way down the trail, the runner will come to some rock walls in the area of an old CCC camp and also will find a gold mine opening along the route.
From the CCC camp, there is a side trail up to a small parking lot along Joe Brown Highway. Continuing down the trail past the CCC camp, the trail eventually comes out onto Joe Brown Highway without much parking available. Pick up a brochure at the Coker Creek Welcome Center on the trail to learn more about the significance of this trail.
It was first built by Cherokee Indians as an easy way to get over the Appalachian chain, as this is one of the lowest gaps in the mountains. Later on, the route became a turnpike used by settlers, soldiers, and folks taking their goods to market in SC. In 1838, this route was used by the Cherokee and Creek Indians on their trip to Oklahoma Territory in the infamous Trail of Tears. This route is now designated as a segment of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.
Wildflowers about and the runner may see turkey, bear, boar, deer or other wildlife and many birds as well.