The Unicoi Crest above Tellico Plains


Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 373




Unicoi Turnpike Trail Dayhike
Sunday, November 29, 2009

Brief Description: The hike will start up at the Unicoi Gap (TN/NC border) on Joe Brown Hwy and follow the centuries old route down, ending back out on Joe Brown Hwy. Up at the start, the wagon ruts and piled stone ‘walls’ visibly define the historical turnpike. This route was used by man for hundreds of years to cross over these mountains. DeSoto is believed to have traveled it and it was also the route used to collect the Cherokees from NC and GA for the Removal who were then assembled nearby at Coker Creek in Fort Armistead and Doc Rogers Field.

Along the way, we’ll pass a general area where it is thought the Turnpike’s toll booth was located, a Civil War era grave of a bushwhacked man, the site of a CCC camp (Camp Rolling Stone), and over an old goldmine. For those wanting a warm up before or a little cool down stroll afterwards, there is a short level walking loop along Coker Creek at Doc Rogers Field, located near the beginning of Joe Brown Hwy. The entrance road is just past the Welcome Center/Post Office. 

Leader: Marc Bernatti 423 261-2573 or

        Difficulty: 3 easy miles, ‘downhill’ (with a car shuttle). Kids and pets are welcome.

        Elevation Gain: minimal, mostly downhill

        Length: about 3 miles

Directions to the TrailheadFrom Ducktown go North on Hwy 68. From Tellico Plains, travel South on Hwy 68. Meet at the Coker Creek Welcome Center/Post Office on Hwy 68 (mile marker 34) at 2 PM. Depending on number of participants we may be able to carpool from the Welcome Center. We will work out a ‘shuttle’ arrangement with some cars parked at the bottom of the trail and the rest shuttling up to the Gap. The Welcome Center is closed on Sundays so, pack a snack and something to drink.

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