The Unicoi Crest above Tellico Plains

 

Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 373
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Welcome to the website for the Cherokee Hiking Club. Our club sponsors frequent hikes and occasional backpacking trips into the areas of southeast Tennessee, northern Georgia, and southwestern North Carolina -- the former homeland of the Cherokee Indian Nation. If you are an avid hiker and live in this area, consider joining us on our hikes. You may join for $15 by filling out the application and mailing it to the address above. You may want to attend a hike or two before deciding to join, but once you start coming, you almost certainly will continue and will want to join. Below is a list of upcoming hikes. We ask that you contact the person in charge of the hike by email or phone a few days in advance to allow us to appropriately plan shuttles and to give you the most up-to-date plans for the hike.  When deciding on a hike to take, please refer to our trail difficulty rating system

Direct Link to Cherokee Hiking Club events for this year
Printable Hike Schedule for 2018

 

2018 Schedule

 

On Sunday, Jan 7, our club members met and prepared the hike and event schedule for this coming year. The hike event calendar has been updated and is available from the link above or by going to the drop down menu at the top under Events>Hikes & Backpacks>2018. The latter is the best place to look for the most up to date information. Also, if you follow Meetup or Facebook, all our activities will be listed there. This coming year we also plan to have hikes covering all of the Benton MacKaye Trail in Tennessee/North Carolina from the TN/GA line to the entrance into the Smokies at Fontana Dam. The first is on Jan 19 (see calendar) and others will be scheduled. See Feb 7, May 5, May 14, and June 2. This is your chance to cover a large segment of the BMT. There are several hikes and backpacks planned on the AT as well.

We are trying to also have several history laden hikes and trips through the year. See Feb 10 and November 30. Also, consider some of our several day campouts and backpacks as well as our big summer event, which is our backpack in Colorado near Durango in the Weminuche Wilderness. Last year we backpacked for a week in the Grand Canyon.

We have monthly meetings, generally the 2nd Thursday of the month. All are welcome, including non-members. We do ask that after you have attended three events, you then join the club. The cost is minimal, $15 per year, but the benefits to your health and social well-being are immense.

Finally, our club in cooperation with other clubs and the USFS weekly perform maintenance on hiking trails as well as horse trails in the Tellico and Ocoee Ranger Districts. We usually have a crew of 10 or more folks who work on logging and brushing out trails in the Cherokee National Forest inlcuding the Benton MacKaye Trail. Ever wonder who maintains the trails? It is folks like us, all volunteers, and you could contribute as well. Our schedule of work trips are announced on Facebook, Meetup and on this website (Maintenance>2018). Come join us and give back to the forest and our beloved trails. We provide helmets, eye protection, and gloves if you don't have them. We provide tools and show you how to use them, and have a lot of fun doing it. Most everyone loves to use a crosscut saw to cut logs off our wilderness trails. The work is generally not overly strenuous; however, some work trips are and we let you know if this is the case through our announcements. These Thursday and occasional weekend work trips are a great way to improve your health, learn how it is all done, and have a great time.

Our club also maintains and manages the Warriors Passage National Recreation Trail. This is a trail near Tellico Plains originally build by Scout Troops from the Knoxville area but now under our umbrella. We have patches and t-shirts. Those who hike the trail can earn a patch. Those who help maintain the trail earn a t-shirt. See the link at the bottom of this page to information on this very historic Cherokee Indian route across the mountains originally known as the Great Indian Path.

 

Winter Hike Week in the Smokies
January 19-22, 2017, Sponsored by SEFTC 


Many of you have in past years enjoyed the winter hiking experience during Wilderness Wildlife Week in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The tradition continues. Under the auspices of the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition (SEFTC), the second annual Winter Hike Week will be held January 19-22 in Pigeon Forge, TN. 

Several hikes ranging from easy to strenuous will be held each day, beginning on Thursday, the 19th, and concluding on Sunday, the 22nd. Participants are urged to arrive on Wednesday afternoon, if possible, to take advantage of the full hike schedule. All hikes will be led by hike leaders familiar with the GSMNP trails. There is a $25 charge by SEFTC for the event, whether you are there one day or all days. This goes to fund SEFTC's hiking and foot trails program. The SEFTC will hold its annual meeting for SEFTC board members and leadership council members on Saturday. For those not participating in that meeting, a full hiking schedule is provided Saturday. 

For all the details and to register please go to the Southeastern Foot Trails Coalition website http://www.southeasternfoottrails.org then on the opening page click on the icon in the upper right for the "Winter Hiking Event" to access information and registration.

If winter hiking in the Smokies is new to you, it is actually not that strange. For some it is even the preferred season, with the smallest crowds. Ice and snow is usually not a problem, with significant snow collection mainly at the highest elevations. Usually January hikers can hike most days at lower elevations, where most of our treks occur. Should heavy snows occur, alternative low elevation flatter hikes may be substituted. 

SEFTC is planning for well over a hundred people for this event. In 2016 SEFTC held this event successfully for the first time, and plans to make it an annual January occasion.  

So make your special winter hiking plans now for the January 2017 SEFTC Winter Hike Week in America's most visited national park by going to the SEFTC website and registering and reserving your inn or hotel room as instructed there.


Warriors Passage National Recreation Trail - A Short History



This trail from Waucheesi Bald to Old Furnace Road, was build by Boy Scouts from Knoxville back in the 60s. The trail was popular for hikes and backpacks in the couple of decades afterwards as Scouts hiked and backpacked the trail and earned patches. Then wild fires destroyed much of the route of the trail and the trail fell into disuse. The trail was rehabed and reopened about 8 years ago, in part by members of our club, and now the Scouts are interested in reopening the trail to Scout Troops for hiking and backpacking. We are supporting the Scouts in this endeavor. Soon Scout Troops will be able to again hike and backback this trail and earn a patch while learning the extensive history of the region. The Scout Troops will register for their adventures through our help. We will be working with Scout Troops in repairing the tread in some areas along the trail and possibly building some much needed reroutes in the future years. Follow the link and read the history of the trail as written by Jim Wright, one of the original organizers of the trail back in the 60s. He is now in his 70s and still helping in this endeavor.

For more information on the Warriors Passage Trail or to sign up your Scout Unit or other Youth Organization to hike or backpack the trail, or to order patches, go to www.warriorspassage.org

 

Cherokee Hiking Club Continuous Loop Presentation
Warning -- huge 18 MB PowerPoint file


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