Hiking & Biking

Although Unicoi County is well known as a gateway to the Appalachian Trail, numerous other trails are awaiting your exploration.  More than 50 percent of Unicoi County has been designated part of the Cherokee National Forest, making the county an unspoiled and spectacular backdrop for adventure.

Below are hiking and bicycling trails located in the Nolichucky and Unaka Ranger Districts of the Cherokee National Forest.

Nolichucky District
  • Chimney Rocks (#154) 2.4 miles. This is a most difficult trail with an elevation change of 1400 feet. It follows the ridge uphill to an intersection with Paint Mountain Trail. Panoramic views of the French Broad River basin. Trail begins at a parking area near Weaver’s Bend.
  • Meadow Creek Mountain (#6) 15 miles. This trail starts from the trailhead in Green County and climbs to the ridgeline of Chuckey Mountain. Then follows the ridgeline of Meadow Creek Mountain until it descends the mountain to terminate at County Rd 2576 (Long Creek Rd) in Cocke County.
  • Cowbell Hollow (#24) 2 miles. Trailhead located near the Round Knob Picnic Area. Trail follows a ridge as it leaves Round Knob, then begins a steep descent to Jennings Creek, ending at the junction of Jennings Creek Trail (#2 ) and Poplar Cove trail (#22). Cowbell Hollow Trail connects Jennings Creek Trail with Little Jennings Creek Trail (#195) and together these trails form a loop between Round Knob and Old Forge.
  • Little Jennings (#195) 2 miles. Begins at a junction with Jennings Creek Trail one–tenth mile from the Old Forge Campground and ends at the junction of Cowbell Hollow Trail. This trail follows the creek with numerous creek crossings.
  • Jennings Creek (#21) 1 mile. Begins at Old Forge Campground. Intersects with Little Jennings Creek Trail (#195) and continues with little change in elevation for one mile where it forms a junction with Poplar Cove Trail and Cowbell Hollow Trail. This trail follows Jennings Creek with several creek crossings. It is an old railroad bed that was used for logging in the early 1900’s.
  • Doctor’s Ridge (#1949) 1 mile. Trail begins on FDR331.2 miles from Horse Creek Recreation Area and ends on Greystone Road. This horse trail is wide and easy, with only one creek crossing.
  • Bullen Hollow (#2) 2.7 miles. This trail is rated most difficult, having an elevation change of almost 2,000 feet. It begins on the Shelton Mission Road at Bullen Hollow Trailhead and ends at Low Gap on Little Bald Mountain.
  • Round Knob (#5094–0) 1.8 miles. Rated most difficult, this trail begins at Round Knob Recreation area and ends at a parking area near the A.T. on Bald Mountain. The elevation change is over 2,000 feet, but there are no stream crossings.
  • Green Mountain (#13) 3.75 miles. This is easy overall but has some steep sections that earn it a difficult rating. Trail begins on Green Mountain Road (FDR98), climbs to the crest.
Cherokee National Forest – Unaka Ranger District

Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower and Trailhead

The Pinnacle Mountain Fire Tower is located atop Buffalo Mountain at 3,520 feet above sea level and has served as a sentinel for the area’s forest lands for the past 75–years.  A hiking and bicycling trail has been established from this trailhead.  You can also enjoy seeing the historic tower from along I–26, as well as from other vista points in Limestone Cove, Unicoi and Erwin.

Other Developed Recreation sites
  • Rock Creek – Camping (fee) and day use
  • Limestone Cove – Camping and day use
  • Laurels – Day use
  • Chestoa – Day use and rafting take out
  • Scioto – shooting Range – pistol & rifle firing range
  • Appalachian Trail — Big Butte To County Line on Iron Mountain
  • Stone Mountain Trail — 2.0 miles — Limestone Cove to Scioto Road
  • Granny Lewis — 1.6 miles Temple Hill School
  • Stamping Ground Ridge — (Horse Trail) 3.9 miles — Unaka Mountain Road to Limestone Cove.
  • Patty Ridge — 2.7 miles — FS Road 190 to County Road
  • Rattlesnake Ridge&mdash ;5.0 —Unaka Mountain overlook to Rock Creek Recreation area.
  • Curley Maple Gap — 1.0 Miles — Martins Creek to AT
  • Buffalo Mountain — (ATV & Motorcycle Trail) 13.0 miles — Horse Cove Gap to Oregon Gap
  • Limestone Cove — 3.0 miles — Unaka Mountain Road to Limestone Recreation