9 Lakes Region - Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council

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East TN Trails

No planning necessary for these ready-made vacations. Simply follow one of the five motorcycle trails or follow one of the State's Trails and Byways.

Regional Motorcycle or Driving Trails:

Blazing a Trail: The rolling farmlands and open roads of the valley make for a geographically interesting ride as you travel the road running parallel to the mountain ridges, clearling showing the necessity for a "gap" to get to the other side of the mountain. (126 miles/3 hours drive time)

Bright Lights, Big City: Since the 1780s, Knoxville has served as a hub for East Tennessee and the nation. Consequently it is rich in both history and natural beauty. While there are many scenic routes in the Knoxville area, this route focuses on the downtown. (20 miles/1 hour drive time)


Hungry History Buff: Travel through time from a British Utopia to the atomic age. The ride is easy and the stops are plentiful. Each point along the trail depicts a moment in time where the landscape played a vital role in defining the culture of the region. (131 miles/3 hours drive time)

 Mountain Survivor: Thrill-seekers will love the white-knuckle, curve-hugging, breath-taking switchbacks of this trail. It's a challenging ride for skilled drivers that more than pays off with frequent scenic overlooks and changes in elevations from lake level to mountain top in a matter of a few minutes. (236 miles/7.5 hours drive time)

Still Water to White Water: Hugging the lake shoreline, this charming ride offers a nice balance of fairly easy to navigate mountain roads following the orginal Cherokee Warrior's Path, across the Clinch Mountain, the Dixie Highway of the Civil War period and the Thunder Road of moonshine lore. (120 miles/3.5 hours drive time)

State Trails and Byways:

Rocky Top: A journey through the majestic Smoky Mountain peaks, rivers, caverns and rapids, the sky's the limit on this trail. Explore Tuckaleechee Caverns in Townsend and enjoy a live broadcast music performance at WDVX's "Blue Plate Special," featuring bluegrass bands every weekday at noon from the Knoxville Visitor Center. Capturing the adventurous spirit that fills the peaks in this scenic region, try whitewater rafting on the Little Pigeon River.

Sunny Side: Wind through Smoky Mountain backroads, lush Appalachian countryside. Jump-start your journey by outlet shopping in Sevierville, hometown to Dolly Parton. See blacksmiths, carriage makers, potters, glassblowers at Gatlinburg's Great Smoky arts and Crafts Community. Stop at Newport/Cocke County Museum for Appalachian and Native American artifacts.

Tanasi: You’ll find some of the most picturesque panoramas America has to offer, with the Blue Ridge Mountains bordering the route on the east and the Tennessee River and its array of lakes to your west. The drive also includes five of the state’s most scenic rivers: Ocoee, Hiwassee, Tellico, Tennessee and Little Tennessee.

Top Secret: A trail of secrets hidden among the scenic wilds of the Upper Cumberland Plateau is waiting for you to discover. Immerse yourself in early Knoxville history by touring Blount Mansion, James White Fort and Bleak House, General Longstreet's 1863 Battle of Knoxville headquarters. Travel to the "Secret City" of Oak Ridge, the historic site of the Manhattan Project. While there, be sure to visit the largest exhibition of energy related exhibits in the US at the American Museum of  Science and Energy.

White Lightning: This trail is peppered with moonshine exhibits, Victorian Homes, Civil War sites, scenic overlooks, famous factories and post-production stock car speedways. There's something worth seeing at every turn of the White Lightning Trail.