Trail Run Project Logo

Unicoi Turnpike Trail

Intermediate
 4.0 (1)

This trail follows the route of the historic Unicoi Turnpike, and for most of the way the old roadbed is easily seen.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

2.0

Miles

3.3

KM

88%

Runnable

2,071' 631 m

High

1,672' 510 m

Low

191' 58 m

Up

559' 170 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

31%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Cave · Fall Colors · Geological Significance · Historical Significance · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Parking is available at Unicoi Gap and a small parking lot about halfway down the trail along the Forest Service road (Joe Brown Highway). The lower end of the trail is not well marked and parking is only available along the edge of the road.

Need to Know

There is no parking fee. Restrooms are available at the Coker Creek Welcome Center at the intersection of TN68 and Joe Brown Highway.

Runner Notes

This would be rated as moderate for trail runners.

Description

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.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers about and the runner may see turkey, bear, boar, deer or other wildlife and many birds as well.

Contacts

Shared By:

Richard Harris

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#3

in Etowah

#15530

Overall
  4.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
0%
4 Star
100%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#3

in Etowah

#296

in Tennessee

#15,530

Overall
11 Views Last Month
250 Since Feb 21, 2020
Intermediate

0%
0%
100%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Unicoi Turnpike Trail showing the actual groove of the old turnpike
Feb 20, 2020 near Ducktown, TN
Stone Walls at the old CCC camp along the Unicoi Turnpike Trail
Feb 20, 2020 near Ducktown, TN

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

none