Exciting things are happening in Erwin, a Tennessee town ready to show you what it’s got. Surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest, you’ll find an adventure waiting for you around every corner.
Hop on the Nolichucky River as it winds through the mountains and town. Named one of the top ten whitewater rafting rivers in the world by the International Rafting Federation, check out the raging Class III and IV rapids that are sure to get your heart racing and sense of adventure raring to go as you paddle through pristine wilderness. Take a trip through the Nolichucky River Gorge, the deepest gorge east of Mississippi, with USA Raft for a full day of fun. Anglers will enjoy fishing for smallmouth bass and musky on this scenic river.
Locals and visitors alike are working to get the seven miles of the Nolichucky from Poplar, N.C. to Erwin designated a Wild and Scenic River by Congress. This protection would help preserve the corridor as a free-flowing river for future generations to enjoy and love for years to come.
Plan your trip for Labor Day Weekend and experience the Sol Slam Mountain Jam. Sponsored by USA Raft and Sol Driven Train, this family-friendly music festival takes place on the banks of the Nolichucky River. A portion of the proceeds will support the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and Ziggy’s Second Chance Network.
For those who prefer to sightsee on land, the Appalachian Trail runs right through Unicoi County. Hike to Big Bald, Beauty Spot, or Unaka Mountain for panoramic views and red spruce forests. Thru hikers know how special this designated Appalachian Trail Community is as locals love doing trail magic for those passing through.
Explore the wonders of Rocky Fork State Park just down the road. Mountain bike 15 miles of trails or cast a line for native brook trout in Rocky Fork Creek. Hikers of all abilities can access the Appalachian Trail directly or take another, less travelled path. For about two weeks in June, thousands of fireflies put on a nighttime show during the peak of mating season. Trails extend into the Cherokee National Forest, allowing you to expand your adventure further.
Keep an eye out for an exciting, new bike park coming to Erwin soon. Unicoi received a 2019 IMBA Trail Accelerator Grant to design a tiered, multi-loop park linking existing trails in the surrounding counties and National Forest lands. Only four blocks from downtown Erwin, beginner and experienced riders alike will be able to find a trail for them. As Erwin invests in their biking community through new trails, infrastructure projects, and bike-centered businesses, this is sure to be a must-visit destination for bikers of all abilities and styles.
Head to Erwin Outdoor Supply for all of your adventure needs. Although still fairly new to the community, opening its doors in 2018, this one-stop-shop is already a local hub for all things outdoors. From apparel and camping gear to snacks for the trail, they’ve got it all. Stop by for advice on the best trails and camping spots in the area. Check their schedule for upcoming classes, book talks, and more.
While in town, drive the scenic highways around Erwin. Stop in at one of the many antique shops, arts and craft stores, and restaurants in the area. Hike, bike, or paddle to Erwin, Tennessee for your next trip outside and discover the magic of the mountains.
Feature image by Parker Bohon.