April 18, 2014 - 04:13
Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program releases new brochure guide

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From the whitewater rapids of the Ocoee River to the rich railroad history in Chattanooga, Southeast Tennessee is rich with outdoor excursions and history spanning the Cherokee Nation, Civil War and beyond. All of these features are captured in the new self-guided driving tour brochure, Tanasi: Rapids to Railroads Trail.

From the whitewater rapids of the Ocoee River to the rich railroad history in Chattanooga, Southeast Tennessee is rich with outdoor excursions and history spanning the Cherokee Nation, Civil War and beyond. All of these features are captured in the new self-guided driving tour brochure, Tanasi: Rapids to Railroads Trail.

Released by the Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways program last week with Tennessee Tourism Commission Susan Whitaker, the brochure guides tourists through communities brimming with iconic attractions and outdoor adventure from Chattanooga to Cleveland, Benton to Decatur, and coming full circle from where the trail first begins.

The Tanasi Trail features a number of Polk County businesses and attractions. Starting first in Benton with the Newspaper Bookshop, the brochure recommends that travelers stop and get a cup of gourmet coffee while admiring local arts and crafts. It also highlights the Benton Arts and Heritage Days (Festival) in October, as well as the Polk County Fair and the Polk County Ramp Tramp (Festivals.) It also highlights the Chilhowee Farmers’ Market (Farms) and Lottie’s Diner and Kathy’s Cownty Kitchen (Food). Next, the trail travels along Highway 64 in the Ocoee region and highlights the Ocoee Dam Deli, a favorite eatery for locals and other scenic sites along the Ocoee Scenic Byway.

“This is a great brochure that reaches all across Polk County,” said County Executive Hoyt Firestone. “It’s not only an opportunity for visitors to see the beauty of this region, but also an economic driver for our communities.”

Led by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Southeast Tennessee Tourism Association, the Tanasi Trail team worked with city and county officials in Bradley, Hamilton, Loudon, McMinn, Meigs, Monroe and Polk counties. The Tanasi, with the tagline, “Rapids to Railroads Trail,” is the latest road tool for travelers to southeast Tennessee. The trail leads travelers to historic sites, preserved homes and museums among other attractions.

The trail officially begins at the Chattanooga Visitors Center where guests can pick up brochures, maps and coupons before heading out to discover Tennessee’s back roads. However, visitors can choose to begin their journey at any site along the path. Once on the trail, guests can explore rails, trails and roads, including early Native American footpaths.

“Polk County  is unique in that this brochure offers all of these experiences,” says Cindy Milligan, Southeast Tennessee Tourism Association’s Executive Director. “Not only do you have significant Native American sites, like the Nancy Ward gravesite, but also railroad excursions and an abundance of outdoor activities.”

Some of the most picturesque panoramas are on the Tanasi, including Blue Ridge Mountains and five of the state’s most scenic rivers: Ocoee, Hiwassee, Tellico, Tennessee and Little Tennessee.

The trail urges visitors to take in the 125 cultural gems along the Tanasi Trail. Visit Chattanooga’s top attraction, the Tennessee Aquarium, and explore three living forests and see creatures such as catfish, penguins and sharks; ride vintage passenger trains along the Hiwassee Scenic River at the Hiwassee River Rail Adventures in Etowah, or drive along the Cherohala National Scenic Byway.

Opportunities for outdoor adventure await trailblazers at every turn. The trail features four of Tennessee’s award-winning state parks, including Booker T. Washington State Park, Fort Loudoun State Historic Park and Red Clay State Historic Park as well as the Cherokee National Forest and Chickamauga/Chattanooga National Military Park. Camping, kayaking and family fun are available at multiple sites throughout this mecca for outdoor recreation. 

Every stop along the way helps shape the story of the land and the people who have called it home for centuries. The trail includes the stories of early European settlers, Civil War soldiers and copper miners. Trail travelers can visit exhibits and memorial sites along the Tanasi that commemorate the history and culture of the Cherokee people and hear the story of the Trail of Tears.

For more information on The Tanasi Trail, contact Cindy Milligan at cmilligan@sedev.org. or visit www.tntrailsandbyways.com.  


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