Chattanooga Now Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

Chattanooga Now Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest

& Slickrock Wilderness Area

September 28th, 2011 by Mark Jones in Get Out - Bestmonth

120 miles northeast from Downtown Chattanooga, visit for more info.

120 miles northeast from Downtown Chattanooga, visit

Why We Love It

This ancient old-growth cove forest is a time machine taking visitors back more than 400 years. An extremely diverse section of woodland, towering trees reaching more than 100 feet tall and up to 20 feet around display a deep history of the Appalachian Mountains.

The forest honors the poet Joyce Kilmer, who was killed in action during World War I. The well-marked, east to use figure-eight Joyce Kilmer National Recreation Trail covers two miles, with the upper ¾-mile loop swinging through Poplar Cove, a grove of the largest trees.


Located in the Nantahala National Forest, the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest and Slickrock Wilderness Area have more than 60 miles of trails.


» Naked Ground Trail

» Jenkins Meadow Trail

» Stratton Bald Trail.

» Big Fat Gap Trail

» Falls Branch Falls Trail

» Hanover Lead Trail

» Slickrock Creek Trail

» Stiffknee Trail

What to Expect

If it's fall colors you want, Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest can be the perfect culmination of a great foliage road trip along the ridgeline of Tennessee and North Carolina. In the protected forest, massive tulip poplars rise above impressive hemlocks, sycamores, basswoods, dogwoods, beeches, oaks and birches.


Maple Springs Overlook

About five miles from Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, Maple Springs Overlook, offers a wooden observation deck providing an amazing view of the Slickrock Creek basin and the crystal clear water of Lake Santeetlah.

Stay and Play

Although camping is not allowed in the memorial forest, there are campsites available in the Slickrock Wilderness and many campgrounds in the area, such as Cheoha Point Recreation Area and Horse Cove Recreation Area.

Lake Santeetlah not only offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities, the glassy, clear water is also perfect for kayaks and canoes.

Cherohala Skyway

Completed and dedicated in 1996, the Cherohala Skyway connects the towns of Tellico Plains, Tenn., and Robbinsville, N.C. The scenic route crests the Unicoi Mountains for about 50-miles, with spectacular views of the Unicoi Mountains, the Tennessee River Valley and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many overlooks lead to numerous trails and natural mountaintop balds that are easily accessed from parking areas.

The Dragon » US Hwy. 129

T he Dragon, famous for its 318 curves in 11 miles, begins on the North Carolina side at Fugitive Bridge with a view of the Cheoha Dam where Harrison Ford jumped in the movie "The Fugitive." it ends 14 miles across the mountain at the Tabcat Creek Bridge in Tennessee. The winding mountain route is popular with motorcycle riders and sports car enthusiasts because of its blend of white-knuckle twists and turns and breathtaking views produced by the Great Smoky Mountains.