Tellico Plains: Vintage mountain trail town

Tellico River
Tellico River

The 106-year-old town of Tellico Plains is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. It's surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest, and many longtime residents still live off small-scale agriculture.

The town offers many outdoor activities, including biking, world-class kayaking, camping, hunting, hiking and fishing. While the town is rural, it's not far from bigger towns - 45 minutes from Maryville, 15 minutes from Madisonville and an hour from Knoxville.



* Incorporated: July 4, 1911* Population: 913, as of 2014* Time zone: Eastern Standard Time* Claim to fame: Cherohala Skyway, a nationally recognized Scenic Byway


* Music Jam at the Castle: Tourists and locals are invited to bring their instruments and join the open jam session every Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. All types of music can be played, including bluegrass, folk, jazz, blues, country and oldies. It all depends on who shows up! (110 Scott St.)* Song Farmers of Tellico Plains: Join local musicians in bringing music back to its roots the first Friday of each month from 5:30-9 p.m. The gathering is designed to encourage community involvement in acoustic music and singing, and is open to all ages and musical abilities. Free. (Tellico Plains Community Center, 132 Bank St.)


* Tellico Kats Deli: Indulge in homemade, made-to-order food while you enjoy the sound of flowing water and the sight of fish in clear water right on the riverfront. (1829 Cherohala Skyway; 423-253-3411;* Tellico Grains Bakery: Enjoy fresh homemade sandwiches, pastries, bread and wood-fired pizzas baked in a brick oven. Be sure to check the bread schedule for your favorites and call ahead to reserve. (105 Depot St.; 423-253-6911;* Tellicafe: This 22-year-old family-run cafe has had three generations dedicated to serving casual gourmet meals. (128 Bank St.; 423-253-2880;


* Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway: Enjoy 40-plus miles of scenic views, a car- and motorcycle-enthusiast’s dream drive. There is a well-stocked stream for trout fishing which is also perfect for a day of paddle sports. (* Charles Hall Museum: The museum exists to preserve regional, Appalachian and American history, with an emphasis on the Tellico Plains area. (229 Cherohala Skyway; 423-253-6767;* Bald River Falls: Take in the sight of a beautiful 100-foot cascading waterfall that can be seen without even leaving your car — though you’ll probably want to. Parking is available for photo opportunities and a lengthier look at the view. (National Forest Service Road 210, off of Highway 165; 423 253-8400;


Tellico Plains was called by many names before it was incorporated, including Great Tellico, Teliquo, Talliquah, Tallequah, Great Terriquo, Talico and Talikwa. Archeological surveys have found Native American culture documented in the area dating back 10,000 years.In the 1880s, a standard-gauge railroad was built, with the first train arriving in Tellico Plains on Aug. 21, 1888. The railroad was a great success, and the town became a hub for the lumber industry. Passenger cars continued to run until Aug. 15, 1953.

photo Bald River Falls

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