Discover a land of spectacular natural beauty, rich Native American heritage and an array of outdoor activities when you visit Tennessee Overhill, a mountainous region along the western slopes of the Appalachian Mountains, nestled in the southeast corner of Tennessee. The entire southern half of the Cherokee National Forest forms the heart of the Tennessee Overhill. With its rivers, forested mountains, green rolling hills, nine museums, two scenic byways and four rivers within 30 miles, the Tennessee Overhill is a beautiful, scenic place to visit.
This region is paradise for nature lovers, including the 400+ miles of hiking trails (and more than 100 miles of the Benton MacKaye Trail). Explore the area on foot by hiking one of the many trails in the Cherokee National Forest, the largest tract of public land in Tennessee. Here, you’ll find the John Muir Trail, a 20-mile trek that winds alongside the Hiwassee River, offering views of wildflowers, dense forests and wildlife. Stroll the first few miles for an easy hike, or backpack and camp along the way for a longer excursion. With more than 50 waterfalls in Tennessee Overhill, water features are a near certainty.
Meanwhile, horseback-riding enthusiasts will love the variety of dedicated equestrian trails, as well as multi-use trails that allow horseback riding.
Golfers can tee off at one of the many golf courses in Tennessee Overhill, where lush fairways and views of verdant, rolling hillsides provide the perfect setting for a game of golf.
While Tennessee Overhill offers ample opportunity for land adventures, it’s the water that turns the entire experience into an adventure of a lifetime. Kayak or flyfish for hours where silence is disturbed only by the swoosh of the line or the splish-splash of the paddles. Go snorkeling on the Conasauga River or Citico Creek in the Cherokee National Forest, where the clean, clear waters are ideal for seeing an array of fish species. The deep freshwater pools provide an aquarium-like experience where several thousand fish – as well as turtles and tadpoles – can be present on any given day.
Get a high-speed thrill with an expert-guided rafting trip down the roaring Ocoee River, where Class III and Class IV rapids will satisfy your craving for whitewater action. Craving something a bit more relaxed? Swim, boat or fish at the 15,560-acre Tellico Lake, or paddle along the adjacent Tellico Blueway, an 11-mile flatwater channel perfect for a leisurely trip in a canoe or kayak.
Bring the whole family for a camping adventure at Indian Boundary Lake, a 97-acre lake where swimming, boating and fishing activities beckon. Post up in one of the 87 campsites, and spend a couple days exploring miles of hiking and biking trails around the lake, picnicking along the shoreline or watching beaver and waterfowl in their natural habitat.
For an only-in-Overhill experience, go on a subterranean voyage at The Lost Sea, the largest underground lake in the nation and a U.S. Natural Landmark. After a guided walk through the massive caverns, finish your journey with a boat ride on the lake.
And for those looking to enjoy the outdoors in a much more leisurely fashion, ride a vintage train with breathtaking river and forest views on the Hiwassee River Rail Adventure in Etowah. This scenic train excursion takes passengers into the Cherokee National Forest and along the scenic Hiwassee River and Gorge. This trip also includes the historic Hiwassee Bald Mountain Loop.
Another relaxing option is to drive along the Cherohala Skyway, a National Scenic Byway boasting dramatic overlooks and picture-perfect views of Tennessee’s backcountry.
But this is just the beginning. Discover even more ways to explore the great outdoors in Tennessee Overhill.