Tuesday, October 15

East Tennessee trails and byways

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Pie in the Sky Trail

Begin your journey in downtown Chattanooga at the world-famous Tennessee Aquarium (stop 2). Explore the riverfront and Ross’s Landing before heading to the Northshore Historic District (8) or the Bluff View Art District (11). Enjoy lunch at any of the interesting local eateries, which includes Tennessee’s first certified Green Restaurant: 212 Market Restaurant (7). The trail leads on to many scenic overlooks as you drive through Monteagle (45), Savage Gulf State Natural Area (63) and Fall Creek Falls State Park (77). Looking for entertainment? Don’t miss bluegrass music at Cumberland Caverns (71).

Highway 70 crossing the Caney Fork River near Center Hill Lake

Highway 70 crossing the Caney Fork River near Center Hill Lake

Tanasi Trail

“Tanasi,” named for the namesake of Tennessee, winds north and east of Chattanooga to Cleveland, home of the Bald Headed Bistro (stop 30). Explore the river rapids from the Ocoee Whitewater Center (51). Find the origins of the Cherokee alphabet in Sequoyah’s Birthplace Museum (81), and see the largest underground lake at the Lost Sea in Sweetwater (87).

Cherohala Skyway Byway

Highway 365 snakes through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests from Tellico Plains to Robbinsville, N.C. Along the way you can experience a motorcycle-rider’s dream of winding curves. Bald River Falls and many overlooks provide several opportunities to stop and soak in the fresh mountain air. Inclement weather and occasional rock slides can close the skyway. We recommend planning ahead to verify road conditions.

Top Secret Trail

Beginning in Knoxville, the Top Secret Trail will lead you to more than a few interesting finds. Visit the University of Tennessee campus (stop 6) and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (106). Head west to the “secret city” of Oak Ridge (9) and the K-25 overlook (18). Check out the art deco Princess Theatre (34) in Harriman and the smallest library in the U.S., the Back Valley Public Library (38).

White Lighting Trail

Exploring downtown Knoxville, you won’t want to miss the Blount Mansion (stop 4) and James White Fort (6). Nearby Norris is home to Norris Dam (38) and the beginnings of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The Museum of Appalachia (24) near Clinton showcases Appalachian life — long before electricity.

East Tennessee Crossing Byway

Also known as the Wilderness Road and Cherokee Warriors’ Path, this byway was originally cut by bison and utilized by natives for hunting, war and commerce. Today, the 83-mile route from the Cumberland Gap to the Cherokee National Forest takes travelers through picturesque East Tennessee and its quaint Appalachian communities.

Rocky Top Trail

In the shadows of the Great Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville and Gatlinburg offer countless opportunities to shop, explore and relax. You can bet one of the most popular eats will be pancakes. Visit the original — Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg (stop 6). Check out a few of the 20,000 shakers at the Salt and Pepper Museum (14) before exploring the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community Trail (15). Look to the skies for some old warbirds at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation (42).

Sunnyside Trail

With more than 300 miles winding through Tennessee’s first frontier, this trail includes Tennessee’s oldest city, Jonesborough (stop 100), which keeps history alive with its storytelling heritage. The Chester Inn (101) on Main Street was built in 1790 and has hosted Presidents Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson.

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